Retail stores are now flooded with back to school supplies and families preparing for the new school year. Things may be a little different for the homeschooling family, but whether you homeschool your children over the summer or not, it is always important to reset your teaching rhythm and prepare for the next step in your child’s education. The transition from summer to fall is the perfect time for this transition.
1. Schedule Your Curriculum
Before you figure out your current homeschool curriculum, ask the important questions ahead of time:
- Are you unsure about homeschooling?
- Are you starting out for the first time?
- Do you have multiple children with a gap between their ages?
- Are you homeschooling an additional child this year?
- What are your state requirements?
- What kind of flexibility do you need from your curriculum?
- What are your homeschooling goals?
Questions like these will affect how you schedule your curriculum ahead. These may be questions you’ve already thought about but haven’t revisited in a while, so it is always good to ask these questions. I am sure you are like me: you need to manage your time wisely, and you don’t want to repeat work you’ve already done. Changing or removing things that might not have been as effective for your curriculum in the past is a good idea. You can also look into several different homeschool schedule options and see what works best for you and your family!
If you are having trouble making these decisions, pray to God for guidance to make the most out of your children’s home education.
2. Teach to Your Child’s Strengths
Every child learns differently and has strengths and weaknesses in how they retain the information that is being taught to them. While there are a lot of broader concepts and teaching styles that can be helpful to a teacher in a classroom of students, one of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can dramatically alter your curriculum to play to a child’s strengths and not be bound to a rigid curriculum. There are different learning styles. No child is solely one of these types, so you can find the right mix of focus points in your teaching method. Determining your child’s learning style can be tricky, but there are many resources you can utilize.
If you child is a visual learner, incorporate diagrams, charts, or flashcards into the curriculum as well as chalkboards or whiteboards. Let them take notes and even use a highlighter as this helps them retain the information since they are marking their notes with their own visual highlights. Incorporating homeschooling video content is easier for the visual learner to retain as well, and is a way to make learning more fun. PureFlix.com has a variety of resources for homeschool curriculum across many subjects.
Getting more specific with your homeschool curriculum around your child’s strengths is a great way to efficiently build your curriculum, prevent boredom, and keep them motivated to learn.
3. Make Learning Fun
Children learn best when they are actively engaged in the subjects they are learning about and having that active engagement can be a lot of fun! Here are some ideas to make your lessons a little more stimulating for your kids:
- Incorporate Technology- Supplement their learning with tablets and phones have a variety of educational apps and games that are built specifically to make learning more fun. They can earn their screen time after they have completed appropriate work.This also is a great way to teach children about mindful screen time rather than simply taking away screens in our technology-laden culture.
- Field Trips- A great way to make any lesson fun is to end the study with a trip. Learning about animals or nature? Visit a local zoo or park to see flora and fauna out in the world and review what you learned about those subjects. Art and history museums make great trips that are educational, and even a trip to the local library is a fun excursion for kids and lets them have a bit of agency in selecting what they want to check out for a given subject being learned.
- Review Studies in Game Form- When it comes time to review lessons learned, instead of simply quizzing and testing your children, put review questions in the form of a trivia game, or even an educational game of Jeopardy or Family Feud!
4. Utilize the Homeschool Community
- This is something I wish I had done sooner in our journey. Homeschooling was all new to me. I had been public schooled. I didn’t know anyone who was homeschooling their children or that had been homeschooled themselves. I wasn’t aware of all of the resources available to me. I simply researched the laws of my state, and made the leap of faith to which God was calling me. Complying with our state law, I registered with a homeschool accountability association. They referred us to a local homeschool support group in our area. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I just chose the first one and went full speed ahead. For some reason, I was stubborn about asking questions of our accountability association, and unfortunately the homeschool support group we chose was not a good fit. It was actually contrary to the Biblical beliefs and values of our home. I was completely overwhelmed and discouraged by the end of our first year. I should have asked more questions and relied on more on the expertise of our homeschool accountability association. The entire homeschool community is very willing and able to help you on the journey.
- Joining the right support group was the best thing that has ever happened to our family. It’s no coincidence that The Lord placed us at the right place at the right time to allow me to bump into another homeschooling mom, who belonged to a homeschool support group which held the same values of our family. We visited a parent event and joined immediately. We have made so very many lifelong friendships through the support group. Supporting and encouraging each other, the families get together regularly to allow parents to discuss their homeschooling trials and triumphs, receive wisdom and advice, and to allow the children to practice the social skills they learn at home by interacting with other children. Many support groups provide field trips, testing, educational classes, and hobby clubs. All of these activities can supplement your homeschool curriculum.
- Research, research, research. Be your own advocate. We have free resources for your journey. Utilize our blog and other blogs and information on the internet, keeping in mind that there are different laws within each state. You can obtain our step-by-step guide here.
5. Rely on God for balance.
- Seek balance. Homeschooling is not a compartmentalized part of life; it weaves into every aspect of life. It affects your decisions and your schedule, and it should because it is one of the most vital aspects of your child’s development. Because it is so vital, it can become overwhelming and stressful. Many resources offer helpful tips and ways to find balance in the busyness of homeschooling. If you need help with the activities of daily living like time management, cooking, homemaking, working from home, take time to reach out to bloggers, life coaches, and others who can help you on the journey.
- I’ve saved the best tip for last. Just like everything else in this life, we can’t do anything without God. Take one day at a time, dedicating each day to Him. Make a commitment to live by the principle of honoring and glorifying Him in every thing you say, think, and do. When you mess up, be sure to let your children know. make it a teachable moment. They need to see God weaved and bringing balance to life, even when it comes to homeschooling. Seek His directions in your chose of curriculum and activities for the homeschool year. As long as you seek Him first, He promises He will take care of the rest.
It’s always a good idea to review your homeschool curriculum and make changes where necessary to make your journey successful. No matter how many years of homeschooling you have under your belt, children learn differently and circumstances can alter our journey. Just as the summer comes to a close and the leaves start to change color, the next stage in your child’s academic experience begins. I’m praying this new year of homeschooling brings you success and blessings!