If you are considering homeschooling your child or have already made the decision, how you handle the experience will go a long way in shaping your child. There are endless critics of homeschooling and some of their arguments really do have validity. Yet the potential pitfalls of homeschooling can be avoided with creative parents who do their best to teach their children in the right manner and expose them to kids of their own age. Follow these tips to create a better homeschooling experience.
Homeschooling is an extension of the parent-child dynamic. This means that you have to be a disciplinarian as both a teacher and a parent. If you aren't comfortable establishing rules and issuing punishments, homeschooling can be difficult. To provide the best homeschooling experience possible, you can't be your child's friend. You have to retain a position of authority and be comfortable with a teaching role. If necessary, re-define your notions of discipline and make it known that you won't tolerate misbehavior like you have in the past.
- Don’t Always Go By the Book
While most conventional teachers fall into the trap of structuring their lessons around the specifics of the curriculum's assigned textbooks and the ensuing tests, homeschooling parents shouldn't do the same. If you feel as though the texts and curricula are faulty, incorporate your own materials to supplement. This way, your child will get a better education and will likely develop critical thinking skills at a faster rate than his or her peers.
- Adjust to Your Child's Learning Style
Children have different learning styles. Some are visual learners, while others prefer an auditory experience. Others need to write down what they've seen or heard in order to have it “click.” Ask your child on a regular basis how he thinks he learns best. Then alter your teaching methods to match his learning style.
- Coordinate Unstructured Social Time
Sometimes kids' lives are over-structured. Instead of having your child attend homeschool and transition right into another structured activity like sports, let him hang out with kids his own age. Kids develop their creative abilities, imaginations, and spontaneity when they are allowed to spend time with others as they see fit.
- Emphasize the Development of Life Skills
While you'll spend plenty of time teaching your child academic subjects, life skills should not be put on the back burner. Traditional students take courses like home economics, physical education, and automotive maintenance, which are the key to a well-rounded life. Give equal weight to life skills like learning how to drive a car, cook a meal, balance a budget, and perform essential household chores.