There certainly is an abundance of homeschooling information available and this is a good thing… for the most part… as long as you don’t get bogged down in overload and suffer paralysis by analysis. There are a lot of wonderful articles and tips to help you insure your homeschool success.
So, through the experiences of my own and reading about those experiences and advice of others, here are some of, not only the best, but most universal home school success tips.
First of all have fun. Make learning fun. It should be for kids. And by the way, enjoy learning new things with your kids. There is some much in this world that we cannot control, so let’s let control what we can… our attitude and how we approach each and every day. Children will absorb your attitude and mood like a sponge, so stay upbeat and enthusiastic and your successes will reflect it.
Next, limit (or eliminate) your interruptions. This was my nemesis.
In this communication age in which we live, interruptions come at you from every direction, so you’ll need to stay focused. If don’t have an answering device, get one. Turn the ringers off.
Educate your family and friends as to your homeschool schedule. And it’s not just the phones (cell included); it’s the drop by visitors as well. Keep your time you spend homeschooling your kids very sacred.
And while I’m on this subject, this means that you can’t be a distraction to your kids. By this I mean you can’t be running around doing other things while your kids are trying to study and complete their assignments and projects. Stay focused on your children’s education during this time.
I mentioned paralysis by analysis earlier and this one dovetails off of that. Keep your teaching and homeschooling simple. With so much information and programs readily available to you, it’s easy to find yourself using an educational buffet of plans, curriculums, and approaches. Ultimately your kids and you won’t like nor benefit from this.
Be flexible, be pragmatic if something isn’t working, but don’t be mercurial. And when it comes to being a homeschooling parent, you must take steps to organize and simplify your life. During your homeschooling year limit your commitments and outside activities… keep your life simple and you’ll be happier; and with happiness comes success.
Don’t beat yourself up! Have confidence. Know that you can do it. Your faith is your beacon. Reward is directly related to effort. If you are doing all that you can, your children will learn and be successful. Children learn throughout the world in all kinds of environments. Be enthusiastic with each new day, get help when you need it, stay on a path continual improvement, and your children’s educational success will follow.
If you get stuck… read. Without reading skills your children will never reach their full potential. If your day becomes shot full of holes with life’s unplanned and uncontrollable events… then take some time and read to and read with the kids. There is no better life preserver for a day that has spun out of control than to cuddle up and read with your children.
There are so many wonderful people involved in homeschooling, and with today’s technology it is so easy to get in touch with these invaluable resources, you should not go wanting for advice, answers, or just some rejuvenating conversation and reassurance.
Online there are forums and support groups. Offline there is your church or library. Get in touch and be a part. As a homeschooler, you are in a sense a professional educator. Find yourself a couple of good publications and subscribe, or opt in to a few of your favorite newsletters. The message here is that you need not tackle everything solo.
When it comes to resources there is one out there that is often shadowed by the prevalence of the internet… and that is your local library. Your library is a wonderful resource. Libraries are a tremendous resource for videos, audio tapes, learning materials for all subject matter… (And of course books!). If you could only pick one resource and one resource only… choose a library.
Take breaks. For me, taking shorter more frequent day breaks as opposed to less frequent longer breaks always worked better for my family and kids. Of course, the dynamics of every family is different, but if you’ve haven’t tried this approach you should. I think you and your kids will like it. Of course, I’m not talking about a day off every other day… but shorter more often day breaks give you a chance to re-energize and catch up.
I mentioned family dynamics; and since you will be homeschooling you will naturally be introducing a very different and time consuming aspect into your family dynamics.
There will times when there just aren’t enough hours in the day. This is why it is very important to stay focused and plan as best you can. Avoid those activities that steal your day away. Remember, you are homeschooling. Try to organize outside activities all into a day or two instead of spreading them out across your week and having constant ‘little’ interruptions on a daily basis. I would much rather have longer days of outside activities, if it meant I could keep my homeschooling days uninterrupted. I found that my kids and my family appreciated this approach.
Unless you are an incredibly organized and efficient person that operates like a well oiled machine, you’ll find that all of the above won’t come together for you over night. Don’t feel disheartened… it doesn’t for anyone that I know of! No schedule is perfect all the time and no two schedules and organizational skills are the same. Work to sand, buff, and polish what works for you and over time you will find your stride.