Free Homeschooling Information
Each approach has its merits. Identifying your child's learning style, especially for new homeschoolers, is helpful. Is he or she an auditory learner, a visual learner, or a kinesthetic learner? Effective home teachers use lessons that vary the learning modalities.
Congratulations! You've made the exciting decision to explore homeschooling options. No matter if you are new to homeschooling or have years of experience, there are several important considerations to ensure a successful homeschool year.
DECIDING WHAT TO TEACH
Some experienced homeschoolers choose to assemble their own curriculum. These lessons are tailored to their children and the home teacher benefits from the strength of teaching to the child's interest.
Other homeschooling families select a packaged curriculum to lessen preparation time and maximize teaching time, and to assure no gaps in instruction. These families benefit from the integration of subjects as well as the reinforcement of concepts throughout the lessons.
CREATING A CLASSROOM
Another key that many home teachers leave to the last minute is the actual home classroom.
Establishing an environment for learning early in the homeschooling process supports your educational efforts in several key ways:
It shows the child that the parent teacher is serious about home instruction, and that he or she will be required to meet expectations.
The dedication of a space to the classroom reinforces the importance placed on the child's education.
It helps to keep materials organized and available, which in turn makes it easier to select appropriate items for each day, as well as the materials to take on field trips and other excursions.
Creating a good educational environment is especially important for new homeschoolers, and for students who need additional help in focusing on the lessons at hand. The following helpful suggestions for building the right homeschool classroom were complied from conversations with the experts -- experienced homeschooling families.
SETTING UP THE CLASSROOM
If possible, assign a specific area in your home to be your classroom. This can be a spare room, the dining room, the kitchen table, or a basement area. Ideally, this space should be employed solely for homeschooling purposes so the students associate it as an area for academic instruction. If that is not possible--as is frequently the case--then make sure when instruction begins, the area is clear of other, non-educational items, which could prove distracting. The classroom should offer storage space, such as a bookcase, and good lighting.
A comfortable chair and desk--or other workspace--is important. If homeschooling several children, study carrels are helpful. They provide private work areas for each child and limit distractions. Study carrels can be created by using large cardboard boxes to create partitions that can be folded and put away when not in use. Your child can personalize his carrel by creating artwork on the cardboard walls with markers, crayons, or stickers.
Having an easel, flip chart, or chalkboard available can enhance instruction. You will also want to have wall space available for displaying your student's work, maps, and posters. Access to a globe, a dictionary, other reference materials, and a computer are helpful additions to the academic setting.
ESTABLISHING THE RULES
In some homes, classroom rules come about naturally. In other homes, parents find they must establish rules. These rules of order might include what to wear for class or how to ask questions. If you establish rules, stick to them! For instance, if you are teaching more than one child and one of them is calling out answers all the time, you might consider having him raise his hand. You might even consider posting a list of your classroom rules.
Develop a system for compiling, evaluating, and filing the student's work. Many experienced home teachers use folders or notebooks. If you have several children, try using a color-coding system. Your students will quickly learn to look for their personal folder or notebook when an assignment is completed. Use your lesson manual to track your progress and to make notes concerning a need for review or other questions. In areas where local school officials want to see proof of your student's work, these notes and files are invaluable.
KEEPING TO TASK
Let family and friends know when school is in session. Keep interruptions to a minimum, and use the answering machine to handle unnecessary telephone calls. If possible, schedule appointments around the school day and resist the temptation to forego lessons for chores and errands. Remember that the decision to homeschool will provide you with more quality family time during, and after, the daily lessons!
Everyone can benefit from the creation of the proper "home school" environment. Most children thrive when placed in a proper environment for learning and when the guidelines for their behavior and expectations are clear. Parents benefit by not having to constantly establish order or create a space for schooling. Try including your children in setting up the classroom so that you both feel comfortable in the space.
Successful homeschooling occurs when you select appropriate lessons for your child and create a good environment for learning, and it is maintained by a parent committed to inspiring the best in a child.
Please visit www.homeschool.com for more information.
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