How to make your homeschool day harder?
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Across America, many parents have begun pulling a double shift. They have added homeschool teacher to their resumes. Are you among their number?
If you are, you might discover to your dismay that there’s more to teaching than fingerpainting. However, if you find yourself continually gritting your teeth around your kids, maybe you are making homeschooling too hard on your children — and yourself. Learning about the following nine common errors can help you make the academic day smoother.
Unrealistic expectations take several forms. Maybe you expect your second-grader to read Shakespeare or pen a 500-word essay. Perhaps you think your kiddos need to put in eight hours of seat time every day and ignore the siren song of spring weather outside.
While it’s beneficial to set goals, making them too lofty will only end in hard feelings between you and your children. If you’re not sure if you’re pushing your little ones too hard, reflect on the effects of your expectations. How has your child reacted to the pressure? If they recently went from looking forward to their lessons to apathy, that’s a sign that you need to communicate. Are they bored with the material, or is it so challenging that they’ve become discouraged?
Ignoring your child’s learning style
Teachers receive training on how to tailor their lessons to suit a variety of children’s needs. As a parent, you should identify how your child learns and adapt your approach accordingly. There are three basic types of learning styles, although some pedagogical circles list as many as eight:
- Visual learners: These students gravitate toward charts, graphs, and pictures. Also known as spatial learners, they rely on what they can see to draw inferences and form hypotheses. They generally do well with taking notes and may use drawing as a way to cement their ideas.
- Auditory learners: These students learn best from what they hear. While a visual learner may tune out during a lecture, these kiddos are all ears. They also enjoy activities like discussions and reading out loud.
- Kinesthetic learners: This learning style can seem unruly, but that’s because these children learn best by doing. They’re the type who enjoys taking apart small machines to see how they work or acting out a historical moment. Parents can keep them engaged by allowing them to move while they work.
Basing reading on “shoulds”
Remember getting that list of books everyone should read before entering college? Be honest — how many titles did you really check off your agenda? Most likely, you picked up many of the novels at least once, but you might not have read beyond the first few pages — or the SparkNotes.
Your children feel the same way about books they know they “should” read — but have no desire to do so. Instead of insisting that second semester is Hemingway time, let your children choose between two or three different titles. They’ll balk much less about diving in when they played a role in selecting the material.
Writing detailed lesson plans
Were you expecting your old elementary school principal to pop by your homeschool for an in-classroom observation? If not, why are you spending hours writing complicated lesson plans? Classroom teachers must do so because they’re balancing the needs of approximately 30 pupils, all with different learning styles and ability levels.
Unless you’re on a reality TV show featuring huge families, you probably only have a few lambs to lead. Focus on their individual needs instead of writing detailed plans.
Choosing the wrong curriculum
Does your little angel finish all their work in no time flat, or do they labor for hours over a one-paragraph assignment? Before you diagnose them with ADD or another learning disability, ask yourself if you’re using the right curriculum. Tons of educational software and homeschool resources exist, but not all are tailored to your child’s unique needs. Everyone complains occasionally, but if your child opines that “it’s too hard” at the beginning of every assignment, you may need to change your approach.
Doing everything from scratch
There are hundreds of free online learning resources, so why are you reinventing the wheel via PowerPoint? You could hop on the internet for a ready-made presentation on the human skeletal system or photosynthesis process. Psst — all teachers borrow ideas from others. How else do you think they come up with at least 180 days’ worth of engaging activities for one of the world’s toughest audiences? You can do the same, so use the tools at your disposal.
As a parent, you have valid concerns about your child’s safety on the internet. But don’t let that keep you from using this valuable educational resource. Sit down with your children and discuss proper use of the web, including social media. Monitor your children when they go online and impose some basic, common-sense site blocking.
Inform them that under no circumstances should they share personal information like their address or even their best friend’s name with strangers.
Don’t make homeschooling harder on yourself
Homeschooling is a challenging job. However, you’ll find the waters smoother sailing if you avoid these seven mistakes while working with your children.