Monday, August 20, 2012

Homeschooling Your Way

The public school is set on No Child Left Behind. They have cut many classes and shortened others in order to teach to the test. Yes, reading and math are very important, but so are art, music, and homemaking.

Homeschoolers have the advantage of adding whatever curriculum choices and topics they want to their child’s education. What a blessing that is! You can go as fast or as slow as you need. You have the opportunity to teach to your child’s learning style. You can make the lessons as simple or as challenging as you wish, or as your child needs.

You can build responsibility and challenges in your child by adding crafts that take several stages and days to complete; more cooking and gardening and work with real tools; more complex fairy tales; and responsibility for a chore or a pet to name just a few.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Getting Started

First grade is where you find out just how ready your child is for the coming grades. It is crucial that you build a solid foundation. Without it, your child might struggle with the work that is ahead of them.
Make sure that you have everything you will need for the coming school year.

§ Curriculum and other academic resources
§ Paper (writing, drawing, construction, and scrap)
§ Pencils (regular and colored) and pencil sharpeners
§ Crayons, markers, and watercolors
§ Addition/subtraction flashcards, sight word cards, telling time cards, etc.
§ White board or chalkboard
§ Art supplies
§ Bulletin boards or charts of the ABC’s, numbers, days of the week, months of the year and so forth
§ Beginner readers and many books for story time
§ Field trips and activities planned for at the first half of the school year

You can find lots of the supplies you need at yard sales, the Dollar Store, used curriculum buys, other friends that homeschool… You can make lots of the items you need, and don’t forget to use the local library.

You definitely need to have a schedule. You do not have to have a strict schedule, but it is easier in the beginning if you have something to follow. You will want to bend sometimes to allow time for creativity, field trips, further exploration and more. Be flexible, your kids will thank you, and it will help you avoid burnout.

Do not forget to allow for breaks in your school day. The little learners need them the most. If you have an ADHD child as I do, then breaks are essential. Try not to schedule more than 30-45 minutes at a time. Then stop for a 5-10 minute break. Have the kids run around the back yard, get a drink, go to the restroom, or just stretch. Your child will actually learn more if you plan breaks into your day.