Saturday, May 25, 2013

Homeschooling 101





More and more, people are considering taking their kids out of school and teaching them at home. The reasons vary, some don't like the school environment, others see their kids dwindling academically due to large class sizes, or they see that their child's learning needs are not being met the way they should.
Whatever the reason, I see that look a lot--the one I used to have about 6 years ago--when I realized that I was going to pull my son out of school. It's a deer-caught-in-the-headlights/ lost-in-the-woods/ frantic look that I know so well.
Some of the questions that those parents have asked me, are: How? What? When?
First: let me begin by saying that no matter what you do, if you do anything at all, you'll do better than public school. :-)
Studies show that the average active learning time in public school/child is about 1 hour per day. That's it! Out of the 6 or 7 hours that they are there, only one is spent in active learning.
So yeah, you can do better.

Second: Breathe.

Third: Start slow.


Be the tortoise. Adopt Aesop's slogan "Slow and steady wins the race." When you take the plunge and pull your kids out of school, DO NOT by any means start trying to replicate school at home!

This is what I recomend:

1) For the first month or so--especially if you pull them out at the end of the year and have the summer ahead--start with a short devotional (memorizing a scripture, singing a song, saying a prayer, sharing a thought). Then move on to story time.

Story time will trick them into reading later. How? Easy. Weather you read to them out loud or you listen to a CD from the library or from librivox.org, they will learn to enjoy reading because they will want the story. Reading can be addicting (an addiction that we all want our kids to have) because it transports the mind to places and situations outside our world. Reading out loud or listening together to an unabridged book will hook them.
Start with something short, funny, and a few years above their reading level. Example: If your kids are just starting to read short chapter books, then listen to The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz or Stewart Little or Black Beauty. 

Do story time for one moth or a few weeks, then add 30 min. of personal reading time "Quiet time" at my house. As you move closer to the school year months add 15 min. incrementally, until you reach a whole hour or more!

2) The second month of summer, add 5 math problems or multiplication songs to be memorized or an educational math game. (I love mathseeds from the makers for readingeggs.com. Jumpstart is another good site). The important thing is to start slow and easy. Do 5 math problems then go read! Add more work incrementally as the summer progresses, so that by the fall they are doing 10 problems and some learning games, and from there you can move into an actual curriculum book.

3)The third month add writing. Journaling, or copy work, or keyboarding, or summarizing. Keep it short and sweet, well below their skill level at first, so that they associate easy with homeschool.

Again, add incrementally more work until by mid fall, say November they are doing 3 hours of school in half hour increments.
So 30 min. of Math, 30 min. of Writing, 30 min. of Science, 30 min. of History, 30 of reading out loud or listening and 30 or more of personal reading!

We can talk about scheduling and curriculum later, but for now, let all this information digest and start making your evil plans for the gradual implementation of school work at home.

Good luck and live providently and prosper!

S.B.



2 comments :

  1. Thank you! This advice will definitely help me keep from being overwhelmed if we start homeschooling. I'll definitely be starting the devotional and reading over the summer even if we decide to keep the kids in public school. I hope we start homeschooling, though.

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  2. Good luck! You'll see that if you are constant and keep a steady routine, the kids will start to look forward to these little habits and will demand them!

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