Many parents may be worried about their teaching skills, especially when most of us forgot almost everything that we learnt in school. However, nowadays there are plenty of fantastic, creative and interactive resources that can help you to prepare some simple and effective lessons for your child. You may be surprise how beneficial homeschooling can be. Hopefully, these statistics will make you feel better:
- “Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income”
- “Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.”
- “Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.”
- “Research facts on homeschooling show that the home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development.”
- “Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members. They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work.” https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/
HOURS AND BREAKS
Homeschooling doesn’t mean that your child needs to spend 4 or 6 hours a day studying at their desk. Most days 1 to 2 hours would be just perfect. I’ve read interviews with mothers who homeschooled for years and I even managed to speak to some of them; and they say that the best parts of learning take place not during ‘school hours’ at a desk but actually while visiting places such as a forest, staying in the garden, using a trampoline, reading a book, or discussing things during a car trip.
Some of the mothers said that the freedom they have regarding scheduling learning time is precious and that homeschooling does not mean, as many people think, making sure that your child is at the desk between 9a.m. and 3pm. doing reading, maths and science. One mum said that she does 2-3 hours of school time a day four times a week and that her child learns a great deal because a lot of this time the child gets 1:1 attention in the form of teaching, feedback and discussions.
The standard school hours don’t apply for homeschooling at all and can make things frustrating! And actually homeschooling can be a great opportunity for bonding and building a better relationship with your child.
It’s a simple piece of advice but we may forget about regular breaks for our child if we are busy with our own work or with other children. If your child seems tired or not in the mood, maybe it’s better to take a longer break or to give them a day off so they can recharge their batteries or have a bit more fun. Be flexible and allow your child to study in places they like sometimes, like the sofa, kitchen or garden, rather than only at their desk. It can be very difficult for a child to sit for longer periods of time like that, with no friends around, and not have enough outdoor time and activities.
LET YOUR CHILD DECIDE!
Let your child feel important and ask them sometimes what they would prefer to learn on a particular day; or if you print materials out from the Internet ask them which ones they would like to do. It’s good to involve your child in these decisions as much as possible. They will surely learn more and enjoy the experience.
I also found it interesting being led by my child in terms of choosing some topics for learning. So she was not making plans but out of the blue she asked me or her dad why dinosaurs died, what slavery means, what the brain looks like or what’s inside the Earth, and I tried to use this interest in the topic she came up with to provoke some discussions and I showed her short videos to explain things even better. We have some great books about the Earth, nature and animals and sometimes I’d randomly pick one and tell her: Wow, did you know that… xyz? And most of the time she would jump up next to me excitedly and ask questions, and ask if I can tell her more about tornados, the penguins that visit Brazil every year, or the first toys that were found by archaeologists.