Whether by choice or by circumstance, it’s important to approach your homeschooling responsibilities the right way. However, while regular school uses curriculums and has years worth of foundations to build upon, you can’t say the same of your homeschooling duties. Many parents are forced to start with a clean slate, and while this gives you the chance to decide what you teach your kids (and when), it can also be an intimidating task to surmount.
Because of this, many parents homeschooling for the first time, and even those with years of experience, will worry whether they are covering enough of each subject to ensure their children have a thorough and well-rounded education alongside a comfortable and inspiring homeschooling environment. If this sounds familiar, here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you’re on track or if you need to make some adjustments, whether minor or significant.
Are you consistent?
One major issue that parents encounter when homeschooling is the number of distractions and delays that can occur. There might be a power outage, or your child may struggle to get out of bed, thinking it’s no big deal that they aren’t at their desk on time.
Such occurrences can throw you off your game, and it can make you rush through the material because you feel you need to catch up. However, this is not necessarily the case, and rushing through lessons can impact your child’s learning. They won’t get as much chance to absorb the information, meaning they will have half-ideas about different subjects.
You can overcome this issue by planning your lessons out. Doing so will give you an idea of how much time you have to go over different subjects and, as there will be some topics your children will grasp more comfortably. This will leave time for you to go back to anything they struggle with while still staying consistent.
Are you balancing learning styles?
Every child learns differently. Even if they are most successful in engaging with the content directly, something known as active learning, you still need to balance the learning styles to ensure they do not become too excited or exhausted with a specific activity.
While in-lesson activities and proactive learning are more fun, you also need to dedicate time to the standard approach that involves the traditional classroom environment. This will give your child time to calm down and recharge.
What’s more, some topics are impossible to make ‘fun.’ You can’t just ignore them, so embrace different teaching styles to ensure you can include as much as possible in your homeschooling lessons.
Are you merging subjects?
If you find yourself struggling to cover as much as you’re expected to, merging subjects could be the answer. This will give you the chance to keep your child engaged throughout a long school day while also ensuring they learn other topics under the guise of learning something else.
Merging subjects such as History and English, via historical storytelling, or Science and Gym by considering how exercise can positively affect the body will help them continue to learn even if you don’t feel you have the time to squeeze everything into a single school day.
If there are any subjects you feel considerably behind on, look at ways to blend these topics into other lessons, especially those you cover every day.
Are you covering age-appropriate subjects and modules?
It can be tricky to determine which subjects and modules are appropriate for your child’s age, so take the time to consider whether you have selected something too easy or too difficult for your kids to understand.
Covering the right modules is vital for meeting the quotas outlined by homeschooling regulations. Because of this, you must find which topics are most appropriate for your child’s age. For Kindergarten, you will need to research what is phonics while also covering addition. Reading aloud is also beneficial.
As they get older, you can branch out towards more complicated subjects and topics. Handwriting and grammar are a must, whereas Geography is something that should come around seven or eight years old.
Are you ready to be flexible?
Even if you have outlined a homeschool plan, you can’t always stick to it. This is where you need to be flexible. If you have a new baby or someone in your household is struck down with an illness, you should still cover the basics and leave more social subjects for when things calm down.
Math and English are the primary subjects you should focus on, as Science and History are slightly easier to catch up on. Your children will need to know how to read and spell and add, subtract, multiply, and divide. With this in mind, you must allow yourself some flexibility in your curriculum, even if you’re worried about covering everything.
Are you worried about standardized testing?
Standardized testing is something that all homeschooling parents worry about. However, your worries do not need to be as severe as they are right now.
While you will need to apply to be approved as someone who can test homeschoolers, this shouldn’t put you off. You can also look at any areas your kid’s struggle with the most and adapt your curriculum to focus on these issues. This will ensure they are prepared when they encounter such questions in the tests.
As you’re only teaching a few kids (at most), you can also dedicate more time to overcome specific problems. You won’t have to deal with a class of 30 or more, and you also have the benefit of being able to teach your kid all the time instead of merely six hours at school.
Are you making the most of support?
Many homeschooling parents feel that they need to do everything alone, but this is not the case. Homeschooling is so popular that a range of helpful groups can share resources and advice to ensure your kids have the best homeschooling experience possible.
These support groups can pick you up when you’re feeling you’re not managing to transfer the knowledge to your kids adequately. They can also offer solutions to typical problems with the material. Likely, you don’t have much, if any, experience teaching different subjects, so these groups are invaluable for helping you learn everything you need to know and then pass it on successfully.
Are you aware you can’t cover everything?
The simple fact is that you cannot cover everything, and the sooner you accept this, the easier your homeschooling process will become. There will always be a subject here or a topic where you need to brush over or skip altogether.
However, this shouldn’t make you feel like you have failed as a homeschooler, far from it. In actuality, recognizing the most pertinent subjects and topics will give your children a more well-rounded education. If you look back on your own schooling, you’re unlikely to remember specific dates or locations from lessons, so don’t worry about cramming everything in, as this will lead to an information overload that could impact your child’s knowledge retention.
You will never be able to cover everything you want to when homeschooling your children. Even full-time teachers working in schools will need to carefully select which topics are most beneficial for their students. This means you shouldn’t worry too much about covering enough material. Instead, make sure that you cover as much as possible in a well-rounded way to help your children learn as much as possible, preparing them for when they are older.
About the Author
This article is written by a contributing author.
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