It’s one thing to settle on a homeschool curriculum, complete your purchases, and schedule out your year. It’s another thing entirely when it comes down to teaching your kids. If you don’t have experience teaching, you could feel intimidated.
Even with curriculum guides, how to make these lessons relatable, impressionable, fun, and interesting? How to add a unique twist? How about ideas for creative planning from experienced homeschoolers? The answers to these questions may seem just out of reach for new homeschoolers.
Because, to be completely honest, the start of homeschooling can be overwhelming.
Does this mother’s struggle sound familiar?
“I was so excited when my new curricula arrived. Once I started flipping through it, though, I felt a sense of dread. I’m at a loss. How do I make these textbook pages into a memorable learning experience for my children?” Susan, P., Houston, TX.
Many new homeschooling parents feel the same. Curricula is great, but knowing how to apply it, how to divide it into a schedule, and round it out with fun experiences, are all things you bring to the textbook as the homeschool teacher.
As experienced homeschoolers, we have lots of suggestions. After all, we’ve gone through this ourselves! In this article, you’ll find how to homeschool tips, resources, and teaching guides.
Helpful Homeschool How-To Articles
- For new homeschoolers:
- To find ideal resources:
- To plan your year:
- A quick quiz to find the best program for your family:
Homeschool Teaching Strategies
Is your student struggling? Are you lost with how to get started? Do you or your child need a motivation boost? Do you need new ideas for teaching a certain subject?
- Teaching math is not easy. We have advice:
- Science can be fun but complicated. Here are our suggestions:
- What do social studies cover? Find ideas here:
- Tips for teaching English, grammar, and literature:
How to Teach Homeschool Electives
Electives are optional courses to learn about specific topics or to bolster a transcript. Electives are often only worth half a credit, but they can, at times, be involved enough to count for full credit. Electives are commonly used to sculpt a high school transcript specifically for certain universities or programs. For example, if a student desires to work in journalism, they can take electives for journalism, formal writing, editing, create a newspaper for your local homeschool support group, participate in workshops, and so on.
Visit the pages below to learn more about teaching music lessons, art projects, and foreign languages.
- Does your child want to learn an instrument?
- Art is fun for littles and refined for older students. Learn how and why to include art lessons:
- Universities require foreign language credits on high school transcripts. Here’s how to get started:
- Do you feel the need for a homeschool P.E. class?
- Are you looking to add Bible to your subject line-up?
Tips for Common Homeschooling Issues
Any of the following scenarios are possible. You know your child is smart but they aren’t progressing? Nothing seems to be working. Positive reinforcement, providing multiple options, giving them a choice, and so on. Perhaps you’ve had countless arguments with your child, or on the other hand, perhaps it seems like they truly want to do well. So…what’s going on?
“My son is struggling with his work. He’ll sit down with only a sheet of problems to solve, and a couple of hours later, he’s only completed three. Rewards don’t work anymore. Is he lazy? Or unmotivated? What can I do?” – Jennifer S., Memphis, TN.
Maybe it’s time to make a big change.
Thankfully, there are several ideas to try. I can hear you already saying, “But I have made changes! Nothing helps.” Look through our list of “how to homeschool” teaching techniques anyway. See if you’ve tried all of them. If not, give it a go! Sometimes, the most random change can be the perfect answer! Here’s our advice for young homeschooled students and the last few tips are for any age homeschooler:
- Consider their age.
- Are they too young for that level?
- We all get excited when our children start showing interest in learning, but it’s important to not rush into levels that are too advanced.
- For young children, evaluate their fine motor skills.
- Are they strong? Precise? Controlled?
- If your children don’t have fine motor control, they could be struggling. That may be a reason behind the current problems.
- Avoid worksheets.
- Here’s the thing: worksheets are boring!
- When your child is young, use dry erase boards, drawing tablets, or chalk and blackboards. These are more engaging and also easier for young children to use.
- Switch homeschooling methods.
- There are numerous homeschooling styles. Try a different one. You may be surprised at the results!
- Change to verbal reports.
- If your child struggles with writing, take a step back.
- Build the habit of reviewing books or topics by having a discussion or verbal report. They will be writing book reports eventually.
- A verbal conversation can also provide skills for information to present in a book report later on.
- Avoid lectures.
- Adults may be accustomed to long teaching sessions, but kids are not.
- Instead, use interactive activities, videos, experiments, arts and crafts, and short teaching sessions.
- Read together.
- Let them choose the book.
- Read aloud
- Use an audiobook
- Or, just spend independent reading time together!
- Reduce the assignment quantity.
- From copying paragraphs to sentences
- From a sheet of math to a quarter of the problems
- From a chapter of reading to a page
- From a full essay to an outline
- Then, with each of these, work through the rest of the problems/pages/paragraphs one at a time.
- Make it into a challenge.
- Tell your child they only have to do every other problem, and if they get a certain percentage correct, they don’t have to do the rest!
- Make handwriting fun!
- Choose a good pen and fun stationery according to the child’s interests
- Assign quotes from your kid’s favorite movies/shows/books
- Tell them that if they have careful penmanship with a percentage of the quotes/sentences/words, they don’t have to do the rest.
- Check for busywork.
- Busywork is additional, unnecessary worksheets or activities to fill time after a concept is already mastered.
- Some curricula use busywork pages as part of their lessons. Take a moment to check.
- Work on topics until mastery is demonstrated. Then, move on. Busywork is boring!
- Schedule a field trip.
- All of us need a change of scenery and variety. Schedule a field trip to help engage their interest!
- Similarly, take your learning outside to the patio, backyard, hiking trail, stream, pool, beach, etc.
- In addition to getting fresh air and changing up your homeschool location, you can try these virtual field trips for extra fun!
As this homeschool mom says, variety is essential for homeschooling!
“We started homeschooling the kids during the pandemic. After a few weeks, they dreaded their schoolwork. We changed our curriculum and added variety to their days and they actually ‘love’ school now!” – Tracy, D., Boca Raton, FL.