These days I’m the wicked witch of the west around here. Because I keep mentioning a start-up date for homeschool, and my kids are happy to continue summer vacation, thank you very much. Where we live, local schools don’t open until after September 15th, which makes me extremely unpopular when I suggest starting in August. I’m trying to justify my dictatorial position by letting them know that in other parts of the world, kids are already starting school.
Home schooling was one thing I said I’d never do. Amazingly we are now in our 11th year, which is one more proof that you should never say “never.” Now I’m grateful for the opportunity to foster a unique relationship with our kids while tailoring their education to meet their needs and interests.
Eleven years makes for lots of school days and many opportunities to learn alongside your kids.
So here are four things I’ve learned:
Home school’s not for everyone
I respect for those who choose a different educational option for their family because homeschooling is not for everyone. It’s demanding. You need a special vision to carry on. Not everyone has that. Some of my closest friends feel like homeschooling is re-inventing the wheel. Why homeschool when the public schools are doing a fairly decent job? I respect their choice.
Don’t Push Your Kids too Much in the Early Years
Teaching reading and mathematics to young children can be extremely trying. You need the patience of Job sometimes when they just don’t get something that’s so easy for you. If your younger child has trouble paying attention, keep lessons short (10 minutes). If he gets frustrated, he might not be ready, and it might be best to lighten up or back off a bit.
We started my daughter in kindergarden right when she turned 5, but she just wasn’t ready to learn to read. It got to a point where school wasn’t fun for her anymore, so we had to slow down. It took almost 2 years for her to learn. I now realize that if I’d simply waited another year, she could have learned to read in less time with less pressure on everyone.
Every young person wants to feel successful, so remember to give your child lots of positive feedback. Teaching writing is my forte, but I have to remember to note what is good about every composition, not just to underline what’s wrong in red!
If your child struggles in one area, find other things he’s good at. When my son hit high school, math became more difficult, so I remind him that no one can be perfect in everything. He excels in verbal skills and writing.
Breathe Deep and Slow Down
Some homeschooling days, everything works like clockwork, and other days are messy. One kid isn’t getting the Pythagorean theorem, the other one needs help outlining a composition, and the third one can’t find her pencil. Then the repairman arrives. It’s easy to lose your cool. Just take a deep breath and proceed calmly to the next task. You can solve issues one by one, and a calmer mother makes for a better home school day.
Join me on Thursday for four more things I’ve learned about homeschool.
Anyone out there care to chime in about what they’ve learned?