Homeschooling is an important option that many families decide on as they search for the best ways to educate their children. There are many rewards associated with homeschooling and for parents who are beginning this journey, know that playing such an important role in your child’s learning is an admirable commitment. Here are some helpful do’s and don’ts for first-time homeschoolers.
#1 Do Go Slower If Needed
Teaching a child an entire curriculum will take some effort. This is especially true for parents who have never taught before. However, the good news is that you can do it! The key is to take things slow when needed. It can be quite tempting to rush through lessons all for the sake of staying on track. However, when it comes to homeschooling, keep your child’s learning needs at the forefront of everything you do. Find the best approach for your child through trial and error which will help to set the pace for lessons. This can include taking your time and working at a pace that best fits your child’s current skill level. Furthermore, do not forget to slow down and enjoy special moments with your child. Take time to build your relationship with them and remember, you are a loving parent first, and their teacher second.
#2 Do Make Learning a Fun Experience
Homeschooling does not have to be bland or boring. On the contrary, homeschooling should be a fun occasion and both parents and children should enjoy it. The beauty of homeschooling is that it gives parents a creative license to teach their children on terms that are the best fit for their family. For instance, why not teach lessons outdoors? Take your laptop with you and find a Wi-Fi connection! Let children take lessons in unexpected places like the park, or while visiting the museum. Relying on technology for homeschooling is an excellent way to make the learning experience all the more enriching. Also, do not forget to let children be hands-on as this can make for an even more enriching learning experience. Change up the teaching routine often to keep children engaged and to foster joyful educational opportunities.
#3 Do Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Just because you are homeschooling does not mean that you have to stay indoors all the time! In fact, children will benefit from a little fresh air and sunshine which can go a long way towards their well-being. Parents should encourage outdoor activities and playtime so that children can refuel and reset. Being outdoors may be just what parents need as well. In the long run, spending time outside and taking these important breaks are a great way to enhance everyone’s mood and to keep everyone on track when it’s time to sit down for a lesson.
#4 Do Connect with Other Parents
Another important thing parents should do is to connect with other families who homeschool. This may include networking, attending community events or setting up playdates. Finding a supportive group of like-minded families can help when it comes to bouncing ideas off of one another, sharing tips, or getting important feedback regarding the homeschooling process. Joining a homeschooling community can lead to long-term friendships for both parents and children alike. You can meet face-to-face or via online homeschooling platforms as a convenient alternative. What’s more is that this creates the perfect opportunity where children can interact with their peers and build upon socialization skills.
#5 Don’t Second Guess Your Abilities
Some parents may begin to feel overwhelmed or even discouraged when it comes to homeschooling. Such feelings are normal. Such feelings can be enhanced when it comes to listening to other people’s opinions, especially when they do not understand why a parent has removed their children from the formal school system. The key here is to ignore any self-defeating thoughts that arise and to be confident in your abilities as a teacher. Avoid second-guessing yourself. Once they get into the swing of things you will quickly realize that you can change directions and techniques based on what is working for you and your child.
#6 Don’t Overwhelm Yourself or Your Child
No two children learn the same way, so be mindful of when your child may be overloaded with information. This can also mean refraining from comparing your child’s abilities with other homeschoolers who may be excelling at a much faster pace. Pay attention to the little cues that your child may be giving and use your parental instincts to know when your child has had enough for the day. While it is important to challenge your child to do their best, it is just as important to recognize when they may be feeling overwhelmed and in need of a break. The same holds true for you—listen to your internal cues and recognize signs of burnout. Teaching is not an easy endeavor and parents should set aside time for self-care to avoid feeling overwhelmed. For example, parents can treat themselves to a night out, a relaxing spa day, or even an exquisite bouquet of gold dipped roses to have something nice to admire throughout the day.
#7 Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help If Needed
Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Parents do not have to feel alone when it comes to homeschooling. There are many great resources, groups, family members and friends who are available to provide both hands-on assistance, or just to lend a listening ear when you need it the most. As with any new endeavor, homeschooling is a learn-as-you-go process, so seek help when necessary and know that you are making the best decisions for your family and your child’s future success.