Friday, July 29, 2016

Homeschool Tips: You can do this!

Having talked about not expecting too much of your young student(s), today I have another bit of wisdom to share with first-time homeschoolers: relax, you can do this!

You are already homeschooling

In fact, not only can you do this, but you ARE already home educating your child(ren). Presumably, long before you were getting serious about teaching your child his ABCs, you taught him how to say his first words, eat off a spoon, use rudimentary manners, and so on. There is a common and sad misconception that learning primarily takes place in school between the ages of 6 and 18. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. The foundation of academic learning is laid during that time, true. But a foundation is just a foundation, leaving much room to grow in knowledge and understanding over the course of a lifetime. And academic learning is not the only type of learning there is. 

The examples above are just some of the ways in which parents teach their child physical skills, character, and the like. If you are capable of doing that, you are capable of teaching book knowledge. Just as you knew when your child was ready to go from rolling over to sitting up to crawling to walking to running to jumping, you will know when your child is ready to to from learning his letters, to sounding out words, to reading and writing, to literature and book reports. Each child is a little different, and YOU as the parent will know best when he is ready for the next step, will know how to best motivate him, will know when to back off and when to expect more. 

I know there are many people who received a poor academic education themselves. This does not disqualify them from teaching their own children. To the contrary, by educating them at home, these people will fill in gaps in their learning. Anyone can teach a preschooler, and from there, as the parent teaches, she also learns herself, and gets smarter and better educated over time. 

Even for those who did well in school, homeschooling has much to offer in the way of helping us grow in character. Every parent knows that children bring out the best and worst in each of us. Being home with your children every day is a sink-or-swim way of developing godly character. If you don't like being around your children, there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Homeschooling teaches and grows the parents as much as it does the children.

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  1. I think most of all it is teaching me to become more patient. Thanks for the advice

  2. What's the best way to teach Chemistry and Calculus? I realize your kids aren't quite there yet, but what is your plan for those courses?

    1. My oldest actually is there. He is doing chemistry this year, and completed pre-calculus last year but has no interest in going on to calculus because it does not tie in with the field of work he is wanting to go into. Calculus is actually college level math. High School curriculum only runs through pre-calc, and few students even get that far unless they are very advanced in math.

      It depends on the student, as well as the teacher. By the time children are doing such advanced High School courses, they ideally should have learned how to teach themselves from their textbooks, all of which explain new concepts step-by-step, give examples, etc.

      Many of the higher level courses also come with instructional videos (DVDs or online lessons). Solomon used the DVDs taught by Art Reed for all his higher level math. There are often also local resources available through homeschool co-ops that teach classes on advanced coursework for those who are still struggling with learning on their own from a book.

      Unless the parent is a whiz in any particular advanced subject and enjoys teaching it, and also has the time to teach the student who could get the same information by reading the textbook rather than it being conferred to him by the parent, most parents will pass the torch of learning to their child sometime during the earlier High School years. In fact, that is one of the main goals of High School - to transition to life after school, where you have to learn on your own, motivate yourself, and take responsibility.

  3. Hi Zsuzsanna,
    Could you please please please include in your homeschooling series how you schedule other things into your day? Like cooking and cleaning? What are your priorities? How do actually do all this? What kind of meals do you make or when in the day do you cook?
    I am pregnant with my fifth and will have five under five next year. I have started homeschooling and am overwhelmed.
    Right now I have two children in nappies that need changing, one has spilled milk on their church clothes, breakfast plates are everywhere (they are eating as I type this), crumbs are everywhere, the dishwasher is unstacked, lunch hasn't been organised (God knows what we're eating after morning service, that's if I even get there since their church clothes need changing again), laundry hasn't been put away. My floors are grimy, the toilet needs cleaning etc.
    My kindy student is getting an education alright, but at the expense of other things...e.g. meals made from scratch, porridge for dinner etc
    The only reason why I'm online right now is so I can type this comment, and see if anyone else out there is struggling too.
    If you have addressed this could you please provide a link?
    Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Emmy,

      Thank you for your comment. I really feel for you as you go through this difficult season. When my oldest was five, I only had three kids, and that was plenty hard.

      I will answer your question in a separate blog post, as others might be having a similar struggle.


  4. I have been homeschooling my special needs son who is 7 for 3 years now but every year I seem to struggle with the same thing. How do you fight, if you get them at all, what I call the homeschooling blues (doubts)? Every year I feel extremely lost at what I am doing and that he might benefit more from being in special ed. The thought of putting him there though with s total stranger does scare me especially because he is a runner and runs off and can't defend himself or tell me if something were to happen to him. Thank you for your time and sharing your ideas with us I know I speak for several when I say we appreciate it. God bless you and your beautiful family.


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