Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

Twelve Home School Tips for Going the Distance


DSCN8415Winter break is long past, and thinking about home school until June can seem daunting. Now is a great time to add variety to your home school routines. The freshness of a new school year may be long gone, but if you have a well-established system up and running, maybe it’s a good time to tweak things a bit.

Here are twelve tips for going the distance in home school:

1.  Become a Life-Long Learner:

Are you crazy about history or do you enjoy literature? Seek to cultivate your interests and transmit your passions to your kids. Enthusiasm is contagious. Even if your kids are older, participate actively in their education. Spend time talking with your kids about what they’re learning. If you don’t have time to read the material yourself, ask them to teach it to you.

2.  Add variety to your school days:

Visit a museum. Watch a play after you read it. It’s amazing what instructional videos you can find on Youtube; we like as well. Last year when we studied twentieth century history, we listened to musical icons like the Big Bopper and the Beatles.

3.  Use study music:

Listening to quiet instrumental music may help your kids stay focused, and it might even cheer them up while they study.

4.  Share your kids’ work:

If your child has written a paper or created a piece of art, share it with relatives or family friends.  Grandparents will love it, and your child will feel like his work is important.

5.  Make Room for Fun:

Surprise your kids by cranking up a song they love during a break and dancing to it.  Bring them a special beverage while they are studying. Go out for lunch on a regular home school day.

6.  Encourage your kids with positive feedback:

To help kids feel successful, play up their strong points. Let them know what they’re doing RIGHT. For example, when they write a composition, don’t just correct all the errors; tell them what was good about it.

7.  View mistakes as learning tools:

Tests are a great tool to evaluate learning.  Encourage your kids not to get upset when they get things wrong, but to use mistakes as a guide to know what areas they need to review.

8.   Get help:

If you’re stumped, consult fellow home schooling parents or on-line forums. Ask around to find an adult or older kid that can help if your child needs special tutoring.

9.  Get Unwired:

Keep distraction at bay by corralling cell phones and ipods to a special location during study time. If your kids are teenagers, this may require some tact.

10.  Try Hands-On:

Whenever possible, have kids DO something with what they’re learning. Learning comes to life when they prepare a poster or a power point presentation. Searching for materials and cleaning up messes can make science experiments a pain, but they give students a chance to DO science.

11.  Teach study skills:

Take an occasional break from a regular subject to focus on learning strategies. Your kids will benefit from the change, and hopefully they’ll sharpen their skills. Use a book or this Study Guides and Strategies website.  Let them read something and prepare a presentation on study skills.

12.  Stick to a Schedule:

Starting at 8:45 or so, we work our way through the day with a kitchen timer using this cycle:

  • Work 25 minutes
  • 5 minute break
  • Work 25 minutes
  • 10 minute break.

This helps my kids to finish by 4:00 most days despite our high school work load.

So how do you feel about sticking it out with home school until the end of the year? Do you have a tip to share?


Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

6 thoughts on “Twelve Home School Tips for Going the Distance

  1. It is helpful for me to remember that it is OK if everything I had hoped we’d accomplish doesn’t get done. Life will go on. I need to focus on what is important–both for today and for the long-run.

  2. Yes! That is so true, LaNette. Once in a while I even scale back on one subject a day or two to make some time for something else that’s been on the back burner and that we never have time for.

  3. Great tips, Betsy! Almost everything you wrote can also be applied to families with kids in traditional schools too. We can use them as guidelines for homework, projects and generally instilling a love of learning!

  4. i love this! i’m preparing to share with the local homeschool group next month, and several of your points are already on my agenda. 🙂 your thoughts about being an example are so important – as we model enthusiasm for learning, and being ‘unwired’ during school hours! we’ve been known to throw out a book report in favor of discussing a book at a coffee shop, and we love watching movie versions of some of the books we’ve read together! enjoy the rest of the semester!

  5. Oh I wish I could go to your talk for your home school group, Barbara. Going to a coffee shop for a book discussion is a great idea.

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