I am not new to teaching, but I am new to homeschooling. My oldest child is four years old and we are working through a kindergarten curriculum together. Now that we have been homeschooling for a few months, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks for homeschooling. These are concepts that I try to keep in mind so that we are both successful and happy throughout our lessons! Here are five things to remember when you homeschool your child.
You Need to Repeat Things. A lot.
Chances are, if you’re not annoyed by how many times you’ve had to repeat a phrase or a concept, then you haven’t said it enough! The younger the child is, the more times they need to hear/do/say something in order to “get it.” The real trick is three times in a row, but that’s just for one session.
Also remember that homeschooling isn’t a super formal thing: learning can happen anywhere at any time. You can recite letters in the bathtub; practice number drills while walking through the grocery store; and repeat the seasons while driving in the car.
The good news here is that if you have a little sibling listening in, they’ll learn all kinds of things just from hearing them. My two year old knows the days of the week and the months of the year, her address, and how to count to 30, just by listening to her big brother!
And think of fun, original, creative ways to practice things: think of rhymes or raps; come up with a phrase that uses alliteration (where all the words start with the same letter); change the lyrics to a song like “Twinkle Twinkle” and make it into something you and your child will remember!
This is one of the concepts I talk about in my article about how to start dialogues with your kids. Everyone needs to feel comfortable speaking to their children about anything, from the birds and the bees, to safety, to a balanced diet. Don’t be silent!
Don’t Be Afraid to Adapt, Combine, Change, Borrow, and Eliminate from Your Curriculum
No one curriculum is perfect, and that’s okay. There are tons of free resources out there to help you with everything from worksheets to science projects, if you only look. You know your kid better than those content creators, so pick and choose what works for you.
I bought the Kindergarten Complete curriculum for my son and I’m honestly less than thrilled with it, so I supplement a lot. We also do field trips like to the Doseum and the zoo, and we have lessons in the kitchen and on the fly all the time. You can homeschool your child in many different ways.
If you’d like to browse some fun, varied sources, check out my Pinterest board on Homeschooling. Most of the content is not mine so I love to share other people’s genius!
You Need to Repeat Things. A lot.
Just kidding. But seriously, yes you do.
Follow Your Child’s Interests, Cues, and Learning Style
Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, you probably want homeschooling to be as smooth and natural as possible. No one wakes up excited to battle their kid through a lesson. But a big part of that is you, Teacher.
Does your kid absolutely love art? Then make a way for them to illustrate books about what you’re learning about, make puppets like this with paper and popsicle sticks, and have free time with art supplies when they complete a lesson.
If your kid adores the outdoors, try to teach while having a picnic snack, take a walk for some informal biology observations, and practice drills while kicking a ball back and forth.
You know your kid. And you have such an advantage by getting to be their caregiver and their teacher! Use what you know about your child – the beautiful, quirky things that make them who they are – and weave it in with what you teach.
Following your child’s cue means that you are observant and responsive when they get hangry. You can tell when the energy in the air changes and they either need to switch things up, or be done for a bit. Again, this is such a great advantage of homeschooling, so cater to your kid and be aware of their cues!
And of course, know your child’s learning style. Are they great at hearing something and recalling it? Do they like to see things written or drawn out? Are they a “doer”? Try to personalize what you do with your child – you’ll both be happier, and you’ll be more efficient too!
Try to Be Encouraging Even When You Correct
When you homeschool your child, you will inevitably have to tell them that they have said or done something wrong. And let’s face it: constructive criticism is a bit tricky when you’re speaking to a little one. You want school to be fun, and something they look forward to. Making them feel like they’re stupid, worthless, or not good enough will only make schooling them even harder. (Plus isn’t that heartbreaking to think about?)
Again, you know your child’s personality. Some kids I’ve taught in public school can be yelled at every day and not flinch. Others would have a total meltdown and be a useless puddle for the rest of the day. One child can take a comment and run with it, while another needs a compliment sandwich. And not one of these ways is superior to another.
If your child is sensitive, think of a positive way to correct them so that they don’t become deflated and shut down. If your child is more easily distractible, be succinct. My son is super analytical so we break down critiques into the “why”s of it all, and he does fine. But a harsh word and his little face just drops. So homeschool your child, taking into account who they are as a unique human being.
It Will All Work Out.
While there are so many bonuses when you homeschool your child, there can also be a lot of added stress!
You’re not going to ruin your kid because you didn’t pick the “right” curriculum, because you take a day (or a week) off, because things didn’t go as planned. Chances are you’re here reading this – and possibly freaking out a little bit – because you’re worried. You’re not sure that you’re doing the right thing for your kid. But hey, you know what this tells me? You love your kid, and you want to do the right thing. That’ll never lead you astray. So don’t worry – it’ll all work out.
I’m so glad that you found me here at RSM! Let me know what type of learner your child is, what what things you would tell someone who is new to homeschooling (or struggling through it). And of course, thank you for pinning this and sharing it! I hope that I can help you homeschool your child.