Amid a pandemic that has turned parents into de facto teachers, more parents are considering homeschooling as an option for their children. While this can be a viable an fulfilling option, there are many things to consider. Below are a few tips, from experienced homeschool teachers, on how to maximize the experience:
Know what you’re getting yourself into. Parents need to be fully informed of the subjects they’re required to teach, and of attendance and record-keeping requirements. Because home school is not regulated by the state of Colorado, parents are responsible for obtaining books, supplies, tests, and any other incidental costs related to schooling. “It’s a lot to take on,” Cheryl Thayer said.
Tailor your lesson to fit your child. Children have different learning styles. To maximize your child’s learning experience, it is vital to know what teaching style fits your child. “I know my kids,” Thayer said. “If I want to get the most out of their learning, I need to make (the lessons) fit the way they learn.
Tackle the most difficult subjects first thing in the morning. “I try to do the harder lessons early in the day, when they’re more alert and focused,” Thayer said.
Homeschool teacher Candace Hillier agrees: “My kids are better rested in the morning,” she said. “So we tend to hit the weaker spots first.”
Make time for playtime. Scheduling plenty of breaks helps kids stay focused. “The state requires four hours of instruction per day, but it shouldn’t be four straight hours,” Thayer said. “You need to break things up.”
Make the most of local resources. Pikes Peak Library District has the Homeschool Hub, with tools and learning sources for first-time and veteran homeschool teachers. Some school districts have a curriculum lending library. Check with your school district to find out what resources are at your disposal.
Be patient – with your child and with yourself. Your children aren’t perfect, and neither are you. Allow yourself to make mistakes, and learn from them when they happen. “If we were born into this life knowing everything, it wouldn’t be worth living,” Candace Hillier said. “The adventure comes in learning and discovering our gifts.”
You don’t have to go it alone. Colorado has a growing homeschooling population, and there are many support groups available. There are also groups that offer field trips and sporting events specifically for homeschooled students. Check Facebook, or even Google, for support options in Colorado.