Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Making the Most of Homeschooling: A Guest Post

Making the Most of the Homeschool Experience: 
Four Time and Lesson Management Tips

For about three years, my two siblings and I were schooled at home by my mother. I'm convinced that the experience was a positive one, as we received nurturing attention from the one woman who was best equipped to teach us lessons in both academics, life, and love--our mother.

It was not, however, always easy. When you homeschool your kids, it's easy to let other things get in the way of daily lessons, since there isn't the rigid structure of a traditional school with attendance policies, class periods, etc. Here are a few tips so that you can make the most of your homeschooling experience.

1. Prepare your lesson plans well in advance.

Although you may have a lesson plan manual with everything you need, you still need to go through every lesson yourself and prepare. Read through each lesson at least a day in advance and make notes. Consider what you can do to make lessons come alive. Whatever you do, don't read through the teacher's manual when teaching. Children need as much stimulation and engagement as possible, and this can be accomplished only by modifying and adding to lesson plans that are fairly static in their manual form.

2. Set a routine, and stick to it.

While this is easier said than done, make sure that you begin and end at the same time each and every day. Always remember that tasks take longer than you think they will, so allow for extra time when planning a school schedule. Set up regular break periods, including a morning break, a lunch break, and a short afternoon break, too.

3. When teaching multiple children of different grade levels, be sure to set aside time for each child.

If you are homeschooling several children, chances are they are of different ages and different grade levels. In this situation, it's more important to dedicate private teaching time for each child. While you are working with one child, make sure the others are occupied with a task that doesn't need your individual attention.

4. Make "after school" activities correspond with lessons learned in school.

This was my favorite part of being home schooled. Unlike traditional schools, learning doesn't stop once the school days end. My mother made it a point to take us on outings that complemented our lessons. For example, when we were studying astronomy concepts, she took us to the local science museum that had a planetarium. When we were studying Greek civilization, she read us Greek myths at night before bed. In this way, we my mother made our lessons come alive, which sparked a love of learning when I began attending regular school, at a time when most of my peers were bored and unmotivated.

These are just a few ways to make the most of the inimitable experience that is home schooling. It's always a challenge placing your children's education in your own hands, but in the end it's a rewarding one. I wouldn't have traded my home school experience for the world.

This guest post is contributed by Alisa Gilbert, who writes on the topics of bachelors degree.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: 1.
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