Maybe somewhere in the back of your mind you've considered homeschooling your kids, but have never taken the time to give much effort and research to the idea. Well, many schools in the U.S. have closed their doors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and this is the perfect opportunity to try it out!
According to a census done in 2012, approximately 3 percent of U.S. students were being homeschooled. That is roughly 1.5 million students. This number has increased significantly since homeschooling platforms and options have diversified. There are co-ops and multiple curriculums to fit a variety of lifestyles and beliefs.
A new survey found that 11 percent of military families have chosen to homeschool for different reasons. One of the reasons is to give their child stability because they don't like having to uproot them from learning facilities with every PCS move. It also allows them to have more control over their kids educational process and learning environment.
If you are a newbie and have been pushed into the role of "teacher" because of this pandemic, don't fret. Here are some PRO tips from actual homeschooling moms that have been in the game for a while.
- Keep it simple – Don't try and print out every curriculum you can find and then stress yourself and your kids out. Let them read to you or practice writing their letters with their finger in a plate of salt (age appropriate of course).
- Make a schedule but be flexible – Yes, schedules help with focusing and staying on course, but life happens.
- Use what you have – Don't make it complex. Go through household items to cover a lesson. For example, if you're covering shapes, have your kids go through the house and find all the spheres that they can. This could include balls, fruit or even toys.
- Make it practical – If you're doing a science lesson, put the book down and go on a nature walk to find things outside that reflect what the lesson is about.
- Start early - Everyone has a fresh mind in the morning. Afternoons are a hard time for kids to focus.
- Don't make lessons long - Learning should only be 1-3 hours max per day.
- Take multiple breaks – You can stretch out your learning throughout the hours. Don't try to do it all in one clump of time.
- Be patient - Remember you are a parent first and you all need grace while you're figuring it out
- Make it engaging and FUN – This isn't a classroom. You are in control of the fun meter. Turn it up!
- Do what fits your family's vibe – You have the freedom to tailor your lessons to the way you know your kid learns. Try different approaches until you find one that makes sense for all of you.
There are many homeschooling resources available online. There's always youtube where you can pull up subject and age-specific videos for activities and lessons.
Whether or not you are a fan of the idea of homeschooling your kids, it is upon us! Hopefully, these tips bring clarity and ease to this new journey.Here is a link to find Military Homeschool Support Groups.