I taught in the public school system for the first five years of my teaching career, then in our home school for ten years. I then returned to public schools and taught in a special education classroom for nine years.
I have seen so many people having to “homeschool” for the first time, and not by choice necessarily.
Life is chaotic right now, and we are all dealing with times in which we are not familiar. But we know that the Lord is our peace, our hope and our salvation.
So, I offer some tips from my experience only. Maybe these tips will help you in the days to come. You may not need them or disagree and that is okay. They are from my perspective as a certified teacher, coming into my home as my sons’ teacher.
1.) Do not worry about making your home just like a public school. I tried bringing what I knew to be “school” into our home. It did not work. I was their mom and did not do things like “Mrs. Norris” did… It took a while, but they adjusted. And I did.
2.) As a teacher in the public schools, I had to do a lot of “crowd control” and had to have many levels going at one time. My colleagues had 25-30 children in their classroom on different levels as well. This caused them to have to use worksheets and review work to keep others busy while they worked “one on one” with those students. With homeschooling, that is unnecessary. It can free time up to learn in different ways.
3.) I felt like I had to make them complete every. single. question. If your child is grasping what you are teaching and you see that….make sure you repeat, review and go on. If frustration sets it, set it aside and come back to it later, even tomorrow.
4.) My boys used to hate to write because I made them write so much. So write, write and write some more! When they were in college, they thanked me. They were constantly being complemented on their work. It is a skill that will serve them well.
5.) We started each morning with Bible study, prayer, or just discussions and talking. Some of the best conversations took place on our back porch. And there is plenty to talk about right now. They always had questions about things going on in the world and now is no exception. It was a time of bonding that I appreciate so much.
6.) Most of the time we accomplished all school work and subject matter in about 2-4 hours, depending on their grade level. I could reward them with an afternoon of their favorite subject or project. And now, as adults, those “favorites” are a part of their careers.
7.) Teach them household living skills. My boys learned how to cook, clean, wash clothes and could take care of themselves quite well. They did not like it all the time, but they learned. It certainly helped in college and later on as they married.
8.) We always had our downtime. Sometimes it was in the middle of the morning, sometimes as a reward for completing some work. I had to learn how to be flexible.
9.) We did a lot of “study units” in which it allowed them to pick something that they were interested in and wanted to learn a lot about. One unit was apples, one was castles, etc. We used those subjects and did our math, reading, writing, grammar, and projects. They never realized that they were learning, and I enjoyed it as much as they did.
10.) I had to remind myself that learning was often times “caught” by what we did. We used the computer some time, but not all the time. As the years passed by, I realized that I got to teach in a manner in which I loved. And I could literally “individualize” for each child. As a special education teacher, this was my job anyway. Funny how God equips you!
So this is a longer post than usual, but I thought this might be some encouragement to some at this point. There were days that it frustrated me, but mostly it was a precious time for us.
My prayer is that it is the same for you.
If you have any comments or questions, please ask!
~Be Encouraged Today~