It’s never too early to start reading to your child. Some people start reading to their babies before they are born. At first, babies are soothed by the sound of your voice. As they get older, they become interested in the stories and learn enunciation. By observing you, they understand how to navigate a page and discern the difference between words and images.
Even after children can read independently, they still enjoy this close family time. Children are comforted by ritual. When you make reading time a regular part of your schedule, children develop a positive association with reading — it is an enjoyable experience, not a chore.
Introduce the joy of reading in Kindergarten. Children are introduced to poetry and learn to identify the authors and parts of a book.
“Knowledge is not rooted in facts; it is rooted in curiosity.”
Deepak Chopra, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Super Brain
Encourage your child to explore. Whether rocks and insects on a neighborhood walk have captured your child’s interest, or a new topic (volcanoes? dinosaurs? geothermal energy?), curiosity is the greatest motivator for learning.
A homeschool education opens up a world of exploration. You get more time with your child and a more flexible schedule – a schedule that allows for the pursuit of captivating ideas that can be worked into daily lessons.
Let the lessons spark your child’s imagination, and take it beyond the page.
Running a lemonade stand. Making bracelets. Mowing lawns. Children are full of business ideas. Encourage them to hone their economic skills by starting their own business. After all, Warren Buffet was selling newspapers and horseracing tips at the age of 13.
From devising ways to earn an allowance (sweeping the floors, making the bed) to pursuing their entrepreneurial spirit outside of the home (babysitting), children of all ages can learn from planning and organizing their own enterprise.
When you enroll in Calvert, your child learns useful skills for daily life and future careers. In Grade 4 Composition, students create their own advertisements. In Grade 7, students are introduced to the economies of the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and other countries.
Model responsible consumer behavior for your children:
- Have them help search for useful coupons.
- Take your child to the store and explain some of your purchasing decisions. Reason aloud why the yogurt sale of 10 for $10 is not a better deal than the yogurt priced at 89¢ each.
- Suggest that children save a portion of their allowance or gift money for larger purchases. Budgeting in this way gives experience with delayed gratification – a recognized indicator of future financial success. Sometimes, by the time a child saves enough money for the purchase, he may no longer want the item.
Students in Grade 6 explore how the economy is changing and why people trade. Many local newspapers and commerce websites feature a section for bartering.
Scan the listings with your child and discuss the monetary value of a few of the items found there.To further discuss the idea of value, explain why you occasionally decide to buy a more expensive item. For instance, a higher quality product may last longer or come with a replacement warranty. Some items serve more than one purpose. This exercise introduces children to first-cost vs. life cycle cost benefit analysis.
“…parents also need to let children fail, so they can learn
to manage failure and learn from their mistakes.”
Kenneth Barish, Ph.D., “Helping Children Succeed”
Penicillin was discovered when Sir Alexander Fleming examined a contaminated Petri dish that had been thrown into the trash.
Patsy Sherman was attempting to create a rubber material that could stand up to jet fuel deterioration. When she accidentally spilled the mixture on her shoe, she observed that the area under the spill had become dirt resistant and Scotchgard was born.
John Grisham, author of 23 bestsellers, keeps a file with roughly 30 rejection letters for his first novel.
Starting in the first grade curriculum, students learn investigation skills and model the steps of scientific method. Even if you see that your child is making an error, it can be constructive to let her figure it out.
Encourage your child’s interest in extracurricular activities: field trips, team sports, Future Farmers of America, music, dance, or art lessons. The foundations of leadership are born here. Roy Rogers, Alan Shepard, and Al Gore were all members of 4-H. Katie Couric, Gloria Steinem, and Madeleine Albright were all Girl Scouts.
Many parents choose homeschooling to accommodate sports or other extracurricular schedules. Being involved in structured activities teaches a child the importance of responsibility and teamwork. A network of peers keeps children involved. Organized activities outside of the home can provide children with a sense of self-worth and the opportunity to learn new skills, build confidence, and get exercise.
Encourage volunteering. Your child can volunteer individually, or you can volunteer as a family. It can be structured, such as joining Habitat for Humanity, or it can be informal – helping an elderly neighbor carry groceries.
Volunteering literally makes people feel good. Endorphins are released; there’s a rush, a calm and a general sense of well-being. It is a way for your child to meet people with similar interests and values. It is also a way to put newly acquired skills to use and learn new ones along the way.
“Mothers and fathers who consistently tell their children they can succeed
are likely to produce offspring who are productive adults.”
Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D.,The Millionaire Mind
Positive reinforcement is key. When you homeschool, you are given more opportunities to interact with your child during the day. You have greater involvement with their schoolwork. Each of their accomplishments is an opportunity to give positive reinforcement to your child.
Remember, though, to give praise only when it has been earned. Otherwise, children will come to expect recognition when it is not deserved and are no longer motivated by a job well done.
You deserve praise too! You are your child’s first and best teacher. Parent involvement is key to a child–s academic and emotional success.
Additional Reading Resources:
Fun, Easy Activities for Struggling Readers