JUNE 7, 2019
How to Foster Innovation in Home Education
Guest post by Sam Bowman
As a teacher, especially one that is teaching kids from home, developing lesson plans and finding ways to be engaging can be particularly challenging. You want to be innovative and give your students every opportunity to explore and learn. Furthermore, you want them to be at the cutting edge of new technology so they have all of the necessary skills to be successful when they graduate.
Finding and applying that innovation day after day is a challenging aspect of being a teacher. Making the things you are teaching not only interesting and fun but also memorable takes real skill — but doing so can make all the difference in learning outcomes.
Fighting Innovation Fatigue
Many teachers in public schools and homeschools struggle with innovation fatigue. New ideas about getting students interested in their education and changes are constantly coming down the pipe, making it difficult to get into a pattern that works, especially for students. Getting buy-in from fellow educators and students is ultimately what is imperative to success.
When you do have creative ideas for improving the education of your students, it is essential to test and improve upon them, much like you would if you were an inventor. Introduce the idea in stages and make sure everyone else — from fellow homeschool teachers to students — is on board. Give adequate training on the changes if necessary. After the idea is implemented, be certain to do a follow-up.
Ultimately, it is important to realize that changes in the program will take some time. Innovation is naturally messy, and if we only focus on the perfect end product, we will never reach it. Take the time to try new routes if the original path doesn’t work quite the way you expected.
Bringing It to Your Home Classroom
The ways homeschool teachers are bringing their new, innovative ideas to the classroom are every bit as varied as the teachers themselves. Everyone has a different strategy for teaching their kids in a way that works best. Each puts their own unique spin on teaching in order to engage the students. Some have found better ways to bring art into science and improve learning outcomes in both realms!
Others have brought technological developments into their curriculum to teach students about things and places they may never otherwise get to learn about or see. They are often doing this using augmented reality via mobile applications, which allows them to take advantage of countless new opportunities for learning. Augmented reality allows them to “take” students to Rome to learn about the fall of a great city or to the jungle to see the threats tigers face in their natural habitats.
These innovations give students a completely different experience than one they traditionally have in the home classroom. Other things that are commonly going on in innovative classrooms include reflection periods to consider things that have been learned and find connections between subjects. Additionally, students often work together to problem-solve and find creative solutions. As a homeschool teacher, this team building can be accomplished by working with another homeschooler to collaborate on lessons.
As a teacher, you fully understand the power you have in shaping the minds of the next generation. Constantly fighting innovation fatigue and working to bring new ideas to your home classroom can make a profound difference in the ability of your students to retain new information and enjoy learning. Incorporating art and technology in new and creative ways is a great start.