Advice for parents starting home schooling

May 3rd, 2007

What is the best advice you ever received about hs or what is the best advice you would give someone starting out?

1. Help your kids learn to love learning.

Before PS or formal HSing, every kid was an inquisitive, question-asking, examiner of bugs, clouds, people, rocks, and all other things. Sometimes, especially if coming out of school, kids need a lot of time and a little bit of help to regain their love of learning. Give former PSers plenty of time to deschool- yes, a month per year of formal school is a pretty good estimate. Encourage all children to learn by allowing them to direct their own interests and learn from them. Reading can be learned just as well (and much more enjoyably) from a treasured comic book as from a dry textbook.

2. Kids learn in different ways and at their own pace.

So figure out their learning style and rejoice in their learning. Stop comparing them to a preconceived notion of having to learn XYZ by a certain grade or age. You are going to be with them a lot and you will know what they know and what they don’t know right away. No need to worry that they will graduate missing something essential.

3. Learning is a lifetime journey that does not end at age 18.

The real challenge is to help your children learn how to teach themselves. What they don’t know, they will take the initiative to teach themselves as the need arises. We naturally have to do this as adults, so let your children do this also.

4. If a child can learn it, so can you.

If a child can learn to read, you can teach them. If a teen can learn algebra, so can you. If you choose not to or are unable to learn together, then you can outsource a subject- hire a tutor, have them take a class, have a sibling teach them, even let them teach themselves.

5. The most important things children ever learn are NOT found in a textbook.

Yes, being a good reader, having basic math skills, and an understanding of the world around us are essential to “graduate” from homeschooling. BUT- just are important are things that are not found in the average textbook: honesty and integrity, a good work ethic, kindness and empathy, a curiosity about their community and world around them, a love of learning.

6. Socialization is knowing how to act appropriately in various situations and is best taught by adults who care about the child.

Socialization is not the same as having a social life. Remember this when you hear the dreaded “S” word from others. Your homeschooled kids will have as many friends and activities as they want and you allow (and likely more time than their PS peers to enjoy them).

They will be socialized by their parents and other caring people who will help them learn appropriate behavior in different situations- at home, in public, in informal and formal activities. They will have many opportunities to learn and practice social skills as they will be interacting with the real world on a regular basis.

7. There is no perfect curriculum.

Once you let go of that notion, you will save a lot of money and have peace of mind knowing that whatever you use, your child will learn from it because you can change and adapt any book, course, or activity to suit your child’s learning style and interests.

:-) Mrs. D.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.