On a homeschooling list I’m on we were asked to contribute our top 3 tips for new homeschooling families. These are mine. I’ve added a bit more info here than what I put in the email.
1. Keep a diary. This works for any style of homeschooling. You can use an exercise book. Jot down a few notes about each day or for older children write a list of work to be covered on that day or get them to fill it out themselves at the end of each day.
This is great for reviewing what work has been done and progress made and also for filling out government Education Department forms, it can be your ‘attendance book’ and you can show it to concerned relatives who ask, ‘what are the children actually doing/learning’? It can also be reassuring for you, the parents, to see that you are doing a good job.
2. Get to know your child. This may seem a bit weird because of course you know your child but what I mean is getting to know their strengths and weaknesses, their learning styles, how to judge their moods, sleep patterns and for the older girls their monthly cycles. This information is invaluable!! Sometimes you can gauge their mood over breakfast and can tell whether you should be tackling new Maths problems today or not. Children are much more receptive to learning in a relaxed and happy environment. If your children have had bad experiences at school and you’ve recently taken them out don’t push academics, especially subjects they’ve had trouble with, too soon. There’s plenty you can do to simply, almost sneakily introduce more learning at home – you read aloud, do easy art or craft projects, visit a library & toy library, play computer games, play board games, listen & talk to each other, use the Internet, send emails, go for walks, play outdoor games and do crosswords, dot to dots or find-a-word puzzles.
3. Set the example. If you want your children to be readers then be a reader yourself. If you want them to be life long learners then be a learner yourself. This applies in all areas not just learning – being tidy, polite, respectful etc etc.
I hope this is helpful to someone!!