If you are considering homeschooling your child, you are likely bombarded with advice. As recently as the 90s, homeschoolers were largely on their own, left to invent the wheel anew. Today, however, homeschooling advice is everywhere. Much of it is helpful, some seems very doubtful, and a good deal of it is contradictory. Here are some tried-and-true tips to improve your homeschooling experience.
Don't think "homeschooling" has to mean "school at home"
Some people prefer to have a miniature school in their home. But if this doesn't appeal to you, keep in mind that, while you may have certain things you want or are legally required to teach your child, how you go about doing that is up to you.
Do tailor your teaching style to your own personality and your child's learning style
If you decide to teach science through field trips and experiments supplemented with reading assignments or discussions on the sofa, you are free to do that. If you want to teach fractions by having your budding baker divide recipes, you can do that, as well. Different people learn differently, and the way you were taught the alphabet may not be the best way for your child to learn it.
Don't expect your child to be perfect or get it the first time
Learning is a process. Otherwise, we could buy a comprehensive DVD of necessary knowledge and dispense with schooling. Your child will need the same material presented in various ways, will have to practice, practice, practice it, and will have to learn basically the same material again next year with a few embellishments.
Do have patience and try different things
It takes a while to get the hang of anything new, and learning is hard work for children. Try explaining the subject in different ways. Color-code the information. Try a hands-on activity that demonstrates the material. For example, glue yarn to large letters, then have your child feel the yarn while naming the letters.
Don't get your priorities mixed up
Even if you go the "unschooling" route and omit formal lessons altogether, you must still closely monitor your child's progress and make sure they are meeting the goals you have set. It's very easy to allow other obligations to encroach upon school time, and you will be astonished at how readily even well-intentioned friends and relatives will thwart your homeschooling schedule.
Do maintain a routine and keep records
Establishing a routine and keeping to a schedule are crucial to homeschool success. Records-keeping materials can be downloaded for free, and some states provide examples you can copy. Record attendance as well as learning plans and goals met and keep a portfolio of your child's best work.
Joann Carlisle is a writer who enjoys sharing her thoughts and advice with a number of different readers over various different subjects. For more information about homeschooling, Totally Temberton offers readers advice for finding free resources for homeschooling.