Do you wonder how a long-time parent educator often looks like such a homeschool expert? Well, a lot can be said for experience and time spent committing to the lifestyle. And yes, homeschooling is lifestyle not just an educational choice.
With that being said, homeschooling is widely different for different families but the benefits are more or less similar in nature, whereby the parents not only get a chance to set their own curriculum according to the need of the child but also helps in modelling a strong bond between them. There are countless benefits including the liberty that homeschooling allows for sick leaves, flexible timings, travel, and more.
But be warned, there is no right or wrong forward down this path. Homeschooling is an endless journey and one that is often ever evolving for the families that chose to blaze this trail. My hope though, is after reading this blog post, that you will feel well-equipped on this journey and feel more like a homeschool expert instead of a homeschool noob.
Here are a few tips and tricks to make homeschooling fun and non-exhaustive:
- Make a plan or go with the flow: I know, this is the weirdest suggestion. However, what I am really say is to consider your personality and your children’s personalities. Are you the type of parent that needs a daily plan? Do your children like to-do lists? Or are you more go with the flow and enjoy going down rabbit holes? This tip may take the most time to figure out but it is why I wrote about it first. Personally, I am somewhere in between. On any given day, I know what my children are up too and generally what they need to cover. For example, my son hasn’t touched science in a week? Okay, no problem, then we will have a science heavy week. I know last week we were subtracting fractions, now it is time to move on to multiplying them. A lot of this is in my head. My high-schoolers on the other hand, they really like having it all laid out. In order to satisfy that need for them, we use Homeschool Planet, and I plug in all their lessons and assignments a month at time. It really makes it easy for tracking and grading purposes.
- Contest of the day: It’s always fun to have a competitive environment to make sure your child does not get bored with the daily routine. If you have multiple children, this is easy to implement. In our house, we do a math problem of the day and compare answers. We keep track of points over a semester and we assigned dollar amounts to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Of course, you could this with multiple different subjects. For example, you could do a costume party (art & design) that is tied to a novel study and have everyone vote for the best costume.
- Dress up as a Character: This character can be from a book, an educational movie, a historical figure, or a comic action hero. Dressing up is a fun activity for younger children however, it can easily be tied to activities for older children too. If you have older children, they can use this activity to design and create their own character which involves a lot of skills across the curriculum.
- Reverse the Roles: Let your child be your teacher for a day where he/she tries to teach you a lesson from the curriculum. A wise person said: “If you want to learn something, start teaching it”. I often let my older children “teach” me things in order to allow them to dig into something. We call this project learning. They pick a topic, a big question and then dig in deep. They then choose a project to complete in order to answer the question and explain it to someone else.
- Be Digital about it: We are living in a digital world and as much as we want to we cannot escape this reality, sometimes we can use it to our advantage. It’s fine to let your play a few educational games online which not only helps them to learn things but that too in a pretty creative and fun manner. All of my children use Youtube or things like Nessy to help enhance their learning. So many times we encounter subjects in textbooks and we want to go “deeper”. The easiest way to accomplish this is by turning on Youtube or The Great Courses and finding something that aligns with what we are learning about.
- Projects: Make sure you and your child regularly get involved in different projects as children would do in regular school. An example of this is volunteering as a family or spending time on art projects.
- Stay connected: Homeschooling groups are a way to stay connected to other parents and children who are in the same boat as yours. These groups are a great source of socializing for both parents and children. During the pandemic, many communities and neighbors have formed learning pods in order to help their children stay socialized. If you have the ability to form a pod, this could be a great option for you. For us, we have a small pod with another family that all has children around similar ages.
- Extracurricular Activities: Plan extracurricular activities and classes for your child, including music, and sports according to your child’s interest and learning pace. During the pandemic, extracurricular activities have been quite limited in our area. We have stuck to going on hikes once or twice a month. We also enroll our children in Outschool classes very frequently.
Beyond this list, there are so many other ways that you can keep your homeschool fresh and running smoothly. Being a homeschool expert doesn’t mean you have to do it all or that you need the best curriculum. For me, being a homeschool expert means I know how to pivot and get my children excited about learning.
Are you interested in finding out what curriculum we are using this year? You can check that out here.