Computer Programming for Homeschoolers: 5 Tips for Success
Computer programming, otherwise known as coding, is growing increasingly popular among homeschool families. Teaching coding can be challenging for homeschool parents, as there are many options to consider, and a number of important decisions to make regarding programming languages, curricula, and approach. Here are 5 tips that can help you get a high quality program started for your homeschooler today.
Tip #1: Make it fun!
Making it fun is the number one rule in teaching coding to younger students. We recommend staying away from curricula that is too rigid and academic, and to focus instead on courses that teach coding in a fun, creative context. In the beginning it is fine to use free resources such as Code.org and Scratch, but these platforms should be viewed in the same way that we view bikes with training wheels. They are designed to be outgrown. In a very short period of time, it will be time to find fun, project-based courses that match your child’s passions and interests. Some students will be interested in robotics. Others will want to build a video game. Other students might have an idea for an app. For a list of free and paid curricula as well as other advice check out CodaKid’s Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Coding.
Tip #2: Choose one language and stay with it
Many parents at CodaKid online coding academy read up on the hottest new programming languages, and want to introduce their kids to as many languages as possible in a short period of time. We believe that this approach is counterproductive. In our experience, it is more useful to study one language and to gain proficiency in it rather than developing a limited understanding of several coding languages. Once you know one language well, it is much easier easy to learn the syntax and conventions of other languages. Introducing multiple languages too quickly can confuse students and force them to concentrate more on text rather than on computer programming concepts.
Tip #3: Join or Start a Homeschool Coding Group
Use your local homeschool association to find coding clubs. If you can’t find one nearby – you might consider launching your own. Another option is to get a group of like-minded homeschoolers together to take a group class at a coding academy or with a computer science tutor. One important rule of thumb is to be careful about having too large an age range in your class. Teenagers will often be faster typers and can become bored or frustrated if placed in a class with younger, slower children. Youngsters also stand the risk of becoming intimidated when placed with older, more experienced students.
Tip #4: Find a mentor
Many engineers enjoy volunteer work and you might be surprised at how many are be willing to mentor your student either in-person or online. Interaction with an experienced computer programmer can be invaluable and many times can be performed over Skype or other free video conferencing solutions.
Tip #5: Enroll your student in local or online classes
It is widely known that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, took computer programming lessons with a private tutor in middle school. While one-on-one tutoring with a quality engineer is great if you can afford it, there are many equally effective methods of learning that you can implement for a fraction of the cost. For example, you might consider small group classes at local coding academies or community colleges in your area. You can also consider high quality online coding courses that include responsive support from live engineers. The best academies and online courses will have well crafted lesson plans that build sequentially on concepts like Conditionals, Functions, Variables, and Methods, and gradually build your child’s ability to code independently.
About the author
David Dodge is the founder of CodaKid, a kids online coding academy for ages 7 to 15. CodaKid provides kids online kids coding classes, Minecraft Modding courses, and App Development courses for thousands of students around the globe. A video game designer and software architect, David is credited in the development of over 30 video game titles for Sega and Sony, and is the founder and software architect of Tutorware, a business software application.
First image courtesy of Getty
Every year, Homeschool.com publishes our Top 100 Educational Websites. This list is an informational resource that homeschoolers look forward to each and every year. Our 2017 list published this week! Here are the companies that made the list, under the category of:
MATH, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Collisions™ (by PlayMada Games) – www.playmadagames.com
Collisions is a digital chemistry game designed to give high school students a deepened understanding of fundamental concepts while exploring the system of chemistry through play. Currently available on iPad, Android tablets, and the web. Atoms is free to play. Access to other content areas is available via subscription.
Conceptual Academy – www.conceptualacademy.com
Conceptual Academy offers complete science courses hosted by a team of accomplished college professors and textbook authors. Designed for high school students of all interest levels, these self-study courses feature a library of video lessons, reading assignments, quizzes, worksheets, and exams. You can sign-up for a FREE sample course here.
Dads Worksheets – www.dadsworksheets.com
If you’re looking for math resources for your home school curriculum, you’ll find worksheets, calculators and more at DadsWorksheets.com. Regardless of whether you’re looking for help with fractions, word problems or just basic multiplication, there are thousands of printable worksheets with answer keys ready for your student.
Dawn Publications – https://dawnpub.com
Dawn Publications is dedicated to inspiring in children a deeper understanding and appreciation for all life on Earth. Through the books they publish, and the educational materials they offer online, Dawn Publications encourage children to bond with the Earth in a relationship of respect, and intelligent cooperation.
Fascinating Education – www.fascinatingeducation.com
This site uses an audio-visual technique to teach science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) in a step-by-step manner. The “right-hemispheric” learning approach takes advantage of the brain’s ability to process images more efficiently and more effectively than reading text alone. You can find sample lessons on the site. FYI – the company is adding Fascinating Anatomy & Physiology in November of 2017.
Know Yourself Adventure Series – https://knowyourself.com
The Know Yourself Adventure Series offers a monthly subscription box. Every delivery teaches a new system of the body through games, experiments, and activities the whole family can enjoy. Kids 7+ can experience the activities through independent learning. Also great for younger kids and side by side learning.
Mainstay Math – http://mainstaymath.com
Mainstay Math, LLC helps improve math achievement through concept attainment. The company provides support for your math curriculum through products (kits, libraries, instructional guides, and individual trade books) and services (professional development, mentoring, and tutoring for students).
Math-U-See – www.mathusee.com
A complete K – 12 math curriculum focused on homeschool and small group learning environments. Math-U-See “ builds understanding” in students by using manipulative in a multi-sensory, mastery-based approach suitable for all levels and learning styles.
Robot-Lab.com – http://robotlab.com
RobotLAB uses students’ interests in robots to build core 21st century skills like programming, and computational thinking. Using advanced robots makes abstract math and computer science real, by focusing lessons around complex problems which become intuitive through interaction and manipulation of the robots. The website offers STEM kits, Cubelets, Dash And Dot, plus so much more.
Schiller Math – www.shillermath.com
Shiller Math is a Montessori-based curriculum which uses a multi-sensorial approach to teaching. Through hands-on activities and trial-and-error experimentation, students learn mathematical skills, gain problem-solving experience, and develop confidence in their own abilities. For students pre-Kindergarten – SAT/ACT prep.
Science4Us.com – www.science4us.com
Science4Us.com is the framework for your K-2nd grade homeschool science program. This digitally delivered science program includes over 350 online lessons and over 1,000 offline resources.
Techknow Training Studios – www.techknowtraining.com
Techknow Training Studios provides online technology courses for homeschoolers in Grades 6 and up. The company offers full online access, certified teachers, and high school credit. With the purchase of a student account, Techknow offers FREE courseware to all parents (you can brush up on your skills or learn alongside your kids). All for just $14.95/month.
Tech Will Save Us – www.techwillsaveus.com
Tech Will Save Us offers make-it-yourself technology kits that inspire learning through making, playing, coding and inventing. And the kits provide hours of fun for the entire family.
We sure hope you enjoy our Top 100 Educational Websites of 2017!
Every year, Homeschool.com publishes our Top 100 Educational Websites – and guess what? Our 2017 list published this week! Below, we’ve included just some of the companies that made the Top 100 list. These companies offer MULTIPLE SUBJECTS:
7 Generation Games – www.7generationgames.com
7 Generation Games creates video games that combine math, history and adventure gaming – students can play adventure games and improve test scores. The company also provides educators supplemental resources on math and Native American culture.
Beestar Educations Inc. – http://beestar.org
Beestar provides innovative online math and reading exercises for kids, as well as motivational recognitions on a weekly basis. The annual Beestar National Competition brings students nationwide together to solve challenging problems and explore interesting ideas.
Bonnie Terry Learning – www.BonnieTerryLearning.com
Provides learning tools to improve spelling, reading fluency, comprehension, grammar, writing, study skills and math. Designed by an educational therapist. Their Online Educational Therapy Programs teach parents how to improve their children’s skills. For dyslexia, ADHD, learning disabilities, executive function/working memory problems, or autism.
Brainly – www.brainly.com
Brainly is a social learning community just for students. Over 60 million students a month turn to Brainly to ask more, know more, and learn faster. It’s available on desktop, iOS, and Android. And it’s free.
Bulb Digital Portfolios – http://bullapp.com
Bulb is an easy, attractive digital portfolio tool where students can create, collect, reflect and share works for all subjects and interests. Students keep their free bulb portfolio forever. You can see example portfolios at:
Buncee – www.edu.buncee.com
Buncee is a fun, easy-to-use creation and presentation tool for students. Learners of all ages can use Buncee to visualize and demonstrate learned concepts, and communicate their knowledge acquisition creatively. Works for all subjects ~ and makes learning fun!
CK-12 Foundation – http://bit.ly/29SvZyj
CK-12 is a nonprofit organization that provides FREE, high-quality K-12 STEM education materials, all aligned to state standards. These resources include digital textbooks, videos, concept-based learning resources, simulations, adaptive practice and more. They can be ported to any device, anytime, anywhere. Again, it’s 100% FREE.
Classcraft – http://classcraft.com
Classcraft transforms any learning environment and any subject into an adventure. By using conventions typically found in video games to teach, the experience drives student engagement in a fun and creative way. Can work great in a homeschool co-op.
Classical Academic Press – www.classicalacademicpress.com
Classical Academic Press is an educational publishing and media company that supplies curricula, media, and classical education training, with a dash of delight, creativity, and flair thrown in. For information by grade, click here.
Coda Quest – www.codaquest.com
Coda Quest is an engaging 3D game that engages students with self-paced lessons, practice, and assessment. It identifies student’s academic performance and sends reports to parents. For students in grades 4-8. You can sign up here.
EverBright Media – www.EverBrightMedia.com
EverBright Media’s fun animated video lessons make it easy for kids to learn wherever they are. With topics that include American history, money management, the Bible, character building, and more, each video is supplemented with learning guides and activities that reinforce the lessons. You can try one of their lessons free today.
Home Learning Institute – http://homelearninginstitute.com
Home Learning Institute offers affordable digital learning for the 21st century student. Grades K-12 packages start at $49. Curriculum is available by the course, by the month or by the year.
Homeschool Complete – http://homeschoolcomplete.com
An all-inclusive, literature-based curriculum that integrates all subject areas within thematic units with a biblical worldview. The themes appeal to children and provide activities for all learning styles. It is truly a complete program.
HUE Animation Studio – http://huehd.com
HUE Animation Studio contains everything that your children (ages 7 and up) need to learn how to create stop motion animation videos. Homeschooled students can develop and demonstrate their understanding of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art,& Math) and the 21st century skills of collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving, all while having fun. To visit the HUE store, go to http://huehd.com/shop/.
IXL Learning – www.ixl.com
IXL Learning is an educational technology company that delivers an immersive personalized learning experience – for all students, in all grades, across all subjects – helping families and schools use adaptive technology to improve teaching and learning.
Lesson Planet – www.lessonplanet.com/search
Lesson Planet’s teacher team saves time for home-educators by helping homeschoolers find just the right online curriculum resources to inspire learning, with easy ways to search, save and organize. Watch to learn more.
Moving Beyond the Page – www.movingbeyondthepage.com
Moving Beyond the Page is a complete homeschool curriculum. Their literature-based curriculum encourages critical and creative thinking, provides challenging and engaging projects, and supports different learning styles. For curriculum samples, click here.
MyEduCrate – www.myeducrate.org
MyEduCrate is a subscription box service for kids ages 7 -12. Their monthly educational themes inspire, engage and entertain – kids enjoy the interactive hands-on activities. You can learn more here, and you can subscribe here.
NCLab, Inc. – http://nclab.com
NCLab provides a comprehensive curriculum in essential 21st-century STEM job skills – computational thinking, computer programming, and 3D modeling. Learn rigorously but with the fun of a computer game. All courses are 100% self-paced and self-graded. For ages 10+.
Power-of-Film – www.power-of-film.com
The Power of Film curriculum series uses storytelling and 3D technology to promote reading and vocabulary enrichment (with some math and science integration mixed in) while also teaching about the traditions on the Oneida Indian Nation. For kids K-Grade 3.
Power-Plus-Learning, Inc. – www.power-plus-learning.com
Fun, in-depth educational programs that incorporate music, math, science, art and other subjects:
1. “Phonics to Reading”
2. “Sing Your Way to the Classics” (Meet the world’s most famous composers like Bach)
3. “The Power of the Constitution”
Readorium – https://homeschool.readorium.com
Readorium’s web-based software teaches kids reading comprehension strategies through scientific text. Original books automatically adapt to kids’ reading levels, and complex scientific concepts are presented in fun, easy-to-grasp ways to instill a love of science.
Quest Clubs – http://questclubs.net
Written and designed by homeschoolers, Quest turns anything your child is interested in into a fun and educational scouting-style badge. Whether you choose to use Quest within your own family, as part of a homeschool co-op, or in a club setting, their badges and awards will enhance your homeschool experience and help your child develop a lifelong love of learning.
Rosen Classroom – http://www.rosenclassroom.com
Rosen Classroom products help kids develop the literacy skills and content-area knowledge they need to achieve academic success. Their content boosts background knowledge with just-right informational texts that extend learning and critical thinking and help foster a love of reading.
School Made Simple – www.schoolmadesimple.com
CalcuLadder Math drills, ReadyWriter Penmanship, and AlphaBetter were written by a homeschool dad in 1984. Now, in 2017, a million homeschoolers have used these drill books and software. All build speed and accuracy. You can get your FREE SamplePak here.
Songs for Teaching – www.songsforteaching.com
This website offers thousands of children’s songs (songs about science, mathematics, social studies, the fine arts, life skills and more), lyrics, sound clips, and teaching suggestions. You can listen to the songs online for free or purchase songs that you like.
Study.com – http://study.com
Study.com offers a simple and efficient way to learn –their animated videos bring concepts to life and provide an easy, low cost way for homeschool students to gain knowledge and earn college credit.
Time4Learning – www.time4learning.com
Affordable and engaging online curriculum for Pre-K to 12th Grade. The Time4Learning curriculum includes interactive lessons, printable worksheets, detailed reporting, and much more. Monthly membership pricing is 19.95/month for Pre-K to 8th grade and $30/month for the High School Curriculum. Members can stop, start, or pause anytime. To see lesson plans by grade and subject, click here. View a demo before purchase here.
We sure hope you enjoy our Top 100 Educational Websites of 2017!
Every year, Homeschool.com publishes our Top 100 Educational Websites – and guess what? Our 2017 list published this week! Below, we’ve included just some of the companies that made the Top 100 list. These companies offer products that help your kids conquer :
READING, READING COMPREHENSION, WRITING, SPELLING & GRAMMAR
Bethlehem Books – www.bethlehembooks.com
Bethlehem Books is a small, home grown publishing company dedicated to putting good literature into children’s hands by re-printing quality books from the earlier part of the 20th century. They publish historical fiction, adventure tales, biographies, and family stories, all of which help children and young adults expand their imagination and understand the past.
Clear Water Press/One Year Adventure Novel – http://OneYearNovel.com and www.CoverStoryWriting.com
Clear Water Press provides quality Language Arts and writing materials. Their One Year Adventure Novel curriculum guides students (grades 8–12) step by step through the process of writing a fully structured novel in one school year. Cover Story takes middle school students – 6th through 9th grade – through the process of creating the content for their own magazine. Video-based and self-directed, both are ideal for home school families and for co-ops. To get a free demo DVD, click here.
Easy Grammar Systems – www.easygrammar.com
Easy Grammar Systems offers the Easy Grammar series (Grades 2 – Plus), the Daily GRAMS series (Grades 3 – 7), and the Easy Grammar Ultimate Series (Grades 8 – 12+). Sample pages and Scope & Sequence are available.
Institute for Excellence in Writing – www.IEW.com
The Institute for Excellence in Writing offers methods of teaching listening, reading, writing, speaking, and thinking for students K-12. Providing both structure and style, IEW empowers students with the confidence to communicate without struggling.
Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes – www.lindamoodbell.com
Lindamood-Bell has pioneered programs to develop the sensory-cognitive processes that underlie reading and comprehension. In addition, they have recently started the Lindamood-Bell Academy which offers research-validated process- and content-based instruction, as well as flexibility in scheduling and course offerings.
Reading Kingdom – www.ReadingKingdom.com
Reading Kingdom is an online program that teaches children 4-10 to read and write with comprehension at a 3rd grade level in only 12-18 months. The program is based on the research of Dr. Marion Blank, one of the world’s top experts in literacy. It is the only program that uses Dr. Blank’s Six Skill Integrated Method that teaches all key six written language skills in an integrated fashion so that they complement and reinforce each other. The website offers a 30 day free trial.
Spelling You See – http://spellingyousee.com
A unique spelling program that follows stages of language development and exhibits a linguistic understanding of how students learn to spell,. while also providing meaningful context for learning spelling (no more “spelling lists”).
The Ivy Town Educators, Inc./ReadingCare.com/WritingCare.com – www.ReadingCare.com and www.WritingCare.com
Ivy Town Educators/ReadingCare helps students comprehend nonfiction writing. This is accomplished by providing students with daily nonfiction passages, detailed tutorial notes, pertinent vocabulary, a reading comprehension quiz, etc. It’s geared towards students in 6th -12th Grade. Free trials are available.
Ivy Town also offers WritingCare.com, a comprehensive online tutoring program – all ages and all needs.
Time4Writing – www.time4writing.com
Time4Writing is the low-stress answer to writing instruction in your homeschool. Their 8-week elementary, middle, and high school level writing courses are available online and include certified writing teachers who provide constructive feedback on students’ assignments.
VocabularySpellingCity – www.spellingcity.com
VocabularySpellingCity, is a game-based website and app for K-12 students which helps build vocabulary, spelling, phonics and writing skills through the use of engaging games and activities. Use spelling games for free, or upgrade to premium for vocabulary, phonics, writing, and language arts. Premium membership costs $29.99/year for up to five children.
Every year, Homeschool.com publishes our Top 100 Educational Websites -and our 2017 list published this week! Below, we’ve included just some of the companies that made the Top 100 list. These companies are
GREAT PLACES TO PURCHASE HOMESCHOOLING & EDUCATIONAL PRODUCTS
4Knowledge-4Fun – www.4knowledge-4fun.com
4knowledge-4fun.com is an online educational materials, product and toy store. They offer arts & crafts materials, books, building toys, dolls, active & outdoors activities, plush toys, science experiments, puzzles, games and much more.
Discovery Toys – www.discoverytoys.net
Discovery Toys is a learning toy company dedicated to helping children learn and grow through pure play. They specialize in premium quality products for newborns through school aged children that encourage hands-on and child-directed play/education.
Educents – www.educents.com
Educents is an online marketplace for educational products and resources which allows homeschoolers and parents to save up to 90%. They offer a wide range of brand-name homeschooling curriculum, educational products, toys and more. They also offer lots of freebies. Educents was started by a homeschooling family.
Homeschool Buyers Co-op – www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org
With over 160,000 participating families, the Homeschool Buyers Co-op is the world’s largest buyers club for homeschoolers, with savings of up to 90% on award-winning homeschool curriculum. Membership is free and includes free homeschool ID cards, free SmartPoints (a Co-op currency), and access to their popular databases of homeschool field trips and free curriculum.
Hygloss Products, Inc. – www.hyglossproducts.com
Creative products for art and education, including classroom decorations, bulletin boards, arts & crafts supplies, specialty paper, and more. High quality and great value.
Ikos Toys – www.ikotoys.com
Through open-ended play, IKOS focuses the STEAM goals of providing a cross-disciplinary, integrated focus on learning that engages, inspires, and enhances brain development in students of all ages. An extra bonus – these toys are made in the USA.
Picaboo Yearbooks – http://picabooyearbooks.com/homeschool
Picaboo Yearbooks offers high-quality printed yearbooks at an affordable price – starting at just $9.49. Their online design tools are easy to use and offer many creative options for all skill levels. Design your own pages or choose from the hundreds of predesigned layouts, backgrounds and cover designs. There is no minimum order and all yearbooks come with a free digital eYearbook that can be shared electronically with family and friends.
Stages Learning – www.stageslearning.com
Stages Learning products are specifically created to stimulate learning and provide tools and strategies for creative, effective language building at every stage. Their products are designed for use by parents of children with autism as well as teachers, therapists and learning specialists.
U.S. Toy Company – http://www.ustoy.com
U.S. Toy Company inspires learning, creativity and fun by offering a unique mix of high quality products including; teacher materials, classroom supplies, toys, and more.
Homeschool.com publishes the Top 100 Educational Websites list on an annual basis. This list is an informational resource that homeschoolers look forward to, each and every year.
Our 2017 list published today. You can see it HERE – our Top 100 Educational Websites of 2017!
We sure hope you enjoy the list!
For just $11.99 for the paperback book (or $6.99 for the e-book) – you can have a GREAT grammar curriculum. What a deal!
Paul Battles is a homeschooling parent and a Professor of English at Hanover College. He’s written a book entitled, Teach Yourself Grammar. Teach Yourself Grammar explains grammar in a way that’s easy to understand and remember. You won’t just learn a bunch of rules — you’ll understand the underlying principles, and why some rules do (and do not) work.
The book is divided into thirty short chapters that can be read in a single sitting. Each chapter contains explanations, key terms, questions, and exercises. There are 27 lessons and 3 unit reviews. The chapters include –
Words – Nouns; Adjectives and Determiners; Verbs; Pronouns, and more
Phrases – Adjective, adverb, and Propositional Phrases; Noun Phrases; Verb Phrase Structure; Infinite Phrases, and more
Clauses – Content Clauses; Relative Clauses; Punctuation; Kinds of Style, and more
FYI – you can buy the book on Amazon.com.
In addition, there is an accompanying website, teachyourselfgrammar.wordpress.com which has lots of FREE resources for homeschoolers, including answers to all of the questions in the book.
So for just $11.99 for the paperback book, or $6.99 for the e-book – you have a GREAT grammar curriculum. What a deal!
Unleashing the Power of Homeschooling
by Harriet Isecke
Homeschooling your children can be a rewarding endeavor. You get to bond with your children, and shape their growth. We also know that it can be quite the challenge! As a mom, grandmother, and former teacher, I know that sometimes, it can be difficult to keep kids motivated to learn, and to train them to become independent, self-starting learners. However, in my years of experience, I’ve picked up a few themes that are key to helping children grow into successful, educated adults.
1) Encourage your kids to read often. Honestly, at a young age, what they’re reading is largely irrelevant. Do they want to read about fairies and dragons? Perfect. Do they like stories about kids just like them? Supply them. Are they interested in reading about space, about poisonous frogs, about Ancient Egyptian mythology? Awesome. Comics? No problem! Creating a love of reading early on is essential in order to keep children always thirsting for knowledge.
2) Diversify their reading. Once they come to accept that reading can be fun, gently suggest other texts they may enjoy. Encourage explorations in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism; you can find kid-friendly examples of all of them. Encourage them to read about people, places, cultures and practices they’re not used to. Diversity is important.
3) Read with them. Immerse yourself in the stuff they’re reading, be it magnetism or magicians. Talk to them about the material they’re consuming. Ask them about their opinions. Discuss new vocabulary (and occasionally use elevated language when talking with them). Engaging in your child’s education is as simple as taking an interest in what they’re currently passionate about.
4) Teach them using the world around them. Knowledge doesn’t spontaneously arise on flattened wood pulp. Creators of knowledge observe the world around them, and then record their observations. Go on field trips and nature hikes to learn about science. Visit historical sites and talk about history and the social sciences. Eat foods from different cultures while learning languages. Remind them that the world is a fascinating place!
5) Invest in good tools. You are awesome. You are taking on a huge responsibility in educating your child. But you don’t have to work alone. Invest in high-quality tools for your kids, especially when it comes to the sciences. Games and edtech software can be very helpful. But make sure they’re the right tools, and the programs you purchase adjust to your kids’ needs.
Use these guidelines to teach your kids that independent learning is possible and fun, and instill confidence in themselves! If you’d like to check out some free resources to help you, you might be interested in Readorium’s blog, which includes both materials for parents, as well as science-themed articles for kids to read.
If you’d like to go deep into the sciences, try a free demo of our award-winning software, meant to empower children to read nonfiction and learn science on their own!
Most important of all…have a great time learning with your child!
5 Ways to Maintain an Organized Homeschooling Schedule
Many homeschooling families use the back-to-school months of August and September to create schedules and to develop lessons for the school year. By January, however, it may seem virtually impossible to maintain this aforementioned schedule. The bustle of daily life can intrude on even the best-laid plans, and the after-holiday slump often affects even the most energetic of homeschooling families. Below, we offer advice on remaining organized during the beginning of the calendar year and the second half of the homeschool year.
- Reflect on the past months
When you began the 2016-2017 school year—whether it was your first attempt at homeschooling or your 20th—you likely had a conception of how you wanted the year to look. Then reality stepped in. Perhaps your child did not master fractions as quickly as you expected, or maybe he or she mastered them much more quickly than you anticipated. Maybe the flu took your family out of commission for a week. Or maybe you simply found that daily life distracted you more than you thought it would. However your first semester went, make the time to reflect now. What went well? What could have been better? What will you avoid in the future at all costs? Some parents find reflective journals to be helpful, while others prefer to discuss the semester over a cup of coffee.
- Set goals for the new semester
Once you have reflected on where you have been, you can determine where you are going next. Set both academic and non-academic goals. These can be related to organization, time management, and the like, or they can be more personal, like clearly differentiating between homeschooling and socialization hours.
- Rediscover the joys of homeschooling
What initially drew you to homeschooling? Did you want to allow your children to learn in the ways best suited to them? Did you want to have more time as a family? Whatever your reasons for homeschooling, you likely did not decide to homeschool because you were looking forward to chaos or drudgery. So, take the time to remember why you decided to homeschool, and then look for the joy in each day. If you hoped to have a science lesson at the zoo at 10:00 in the morning on a Wednesday, leave the dirty laundry on the floor and head to the zoo!
- Implement several new practices
Using familiar materials and routines can be very helpful in making sure that you cover the content that you need to cover. Additionally, knowing what to expect from the format of a lesson can let your child focus more on the new information than on the format. At the same time, however, it is sometimes a great idea to implement a new routine, a new way of teaching a concept, or a new type of material. Doing things in a novel way can “wake up” your child’s brain (and yours!), and bring more excitement into the homeschooling classroom.
- Simply take time
Many public and private schools start their second semesters with a work day (or two) for teachers. This provides teachers with the time to gather their thoughts, reorganize their classrooms, collaborate with other teachers, and put together lesson plans. Let your children have a day off while you do the same. Consider planning your “work day” while the local schools are still on break so that you can hire a high school or college student to entertain your children while you re-group.
Many homeschool families find that the reality of daily life can derail the best-laid plans and schedules. Life can get in the way, robbing you and your children of time to learn together, time to reflect, and time to enjoy each other’s company. If, however, you make time to reflect, plan, and regroup, you can start the second semester with zeal.
Dana Elmore is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.
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The Institute for Inquiry Science offers an Anatomy & Physiology course from a holistic world view. It’s a great course for high school students, and it’s also an excellent preparation for the nursing HSEI Anatomy Exam. The course is supported by a well developed lab activity book, to be used independently. The entire course is completed in 7 weeks.
An additional power point lesson is available to study DNA Replication and Protein Synthesis. The lab activities are supported by models that include an animal cell board and manipulative pieces of the nucleic acids. This is an ideal activity for Gifted Students.
The goal of the Institute is to provide, high-quality and appropriate course content to ensure your student’s personal success.
Also, check out their new book release!
An Inquiry Approach to Anatomy and Physiology: Lab activities you can easily navigate Paperback: 5 x 7