Guest post sponsored by Time4Learning.com.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been homeschooling, switching things up for your students keeps them curious and motivated. On the flip side, following the same old routine only makes for a stale educational environment. Lucky for you, homeschooling gives you the flexibility to implement new life into your day so take advantage.
Now is the time to start thinking about new ideas. Before you know it, the first day will be here and if you don’t have a plan, you and your children could be facing a chaotic first few weeks — which isn’t conducive to learning. Kathleen, a mother of two homeschooled children remembers when she got caught blinking and the homeschool year arrived.
“I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I knew the homeschooling year was approaching but I was busy doing other things and put off planning ahead. Then the first day arrived and my children were like, ‘Oh no, not the same old activities and lessons.’ I felt terrible. I also promised myself to never get caught like that again.
Don’t get caught like Kathleen. Start planning now!
The Clean Up Committee
Gather your students and make a plan to clean up your homeschooling area. You’ll probably have old curriculum, paperwork, and other things you can either throw out, sell, or file away for the future. A clean, organized room makes homeschooling much easier on you and your children.
You may even change the room around or decorate it differently. As your children grow older they start becoming more interested in new things. And as your lessons evolve, you may want to incorporate different charts and visual aides, depending on what they’re learning during the new school year.
How Can You Improve?
Take some alone time and think about the past year. Where did you struggle? How can you become a better teacher? Join an online homeschool forum and ask for advice. If you’re part of a homeschool group, discuss these matters with other homeschoolers. The homeschool community is more than willing to help.
Darlene, a 10-year homeschooling veteran found that she was in a rut and turned to her local homeschooling group. “The other homeschooling moms were so helpful. Their new ideas helped spark my imagination. I discovered new ways to impart knowledge to my children. I was very hands on for a while. Once I let my children start learning on their own, they grew more confident and I felt such relief.”
Hold a Team Meeting
As your children grow older, they become naturally more independent. As this process advances, give them the opportunity to make some choices about their homeschooling. Children are all different, some love making decisions and others may not really care. It all depends on their personality and disposition. But giving them this opportunity helps them mature and it instills confidence.
Ask them what they enjoyed about the past homeschool year and what they didn’t like. You may not agree with their choices, and you may not make every change, but at least you have a better idea of where they’re coming from and what they’re thinking. They may not like the curriculum you’re using, who knows? Call a meeting, you may be surprised.
Change Up the Curriculum and Schedule
Some parents and children don’t like change, but once you discover new curriculum ideas and shake up the schedule a bit, you may find that your days have become more productive. Many parents are discovering online curriculum products. The best choices offer:
- 24/7 access with an internet connection allows students to complete their work on their schedule, anytime, anywhere.
- Student-paced learning so you can tailor the curriculum to your child’s needs
- Multimedia lessons that are presented like games making it perfect for teaching new concepts.
- Printable lesson plans, homeschool teaching tools, and detailed reporting.
- Automated grading system that tracks progress and keeps reports for homeschool portfolio usage.
- Parent forums where homeschoolers interact with each other.
Online tools are used as a comprehensive curriculum, an after-school or summer school skill builder, or you can blend them with other curriculum choices.
Adjusting your schedule or just tweaking it a bit could help both you and your student become more efficient. Some parents find that doing school work in the morning is most productive. Others change it up because their children prefer working and studying in the afternoon. You could even make a simple change like moving math lessons to the afternoon and reading in the morning.
Planning ahead for the new year will only make your upcoming homeschooling adventure more fruitful. When you hit the ground running everything falls into place. Your children become acclimated quicker, and you are much more relaxed. This educational environment encourages learning and makes everyone involved much happier.