Homeschooling your child is a difficult choice. The opportunity to bond with your child, give your child choice in their learning, and watch them grow may not be enough to quell your anxieties. But hopefully these three tips will open up a new perspective.
- You will not be good at everything
One of the big concerns I hear parents express when they are considering homeschooling is that they will not be good enough or will not know how to teach something. One thing I want you to take away from reading this post is…that’s ok! You have a lot to offer your child in terms of learning. You may not even realize your own strengths and talents. However, it’s important not to compare yourself to other parents or teachers. Even teachers who are trained professionals are not great at everything. It’s also important to recognize that just because you’re not good at something does not mean your child will not be good at it. If there is an area you particularly struggle with and prefer not to teach, reach out to your local homeschool community and see if there are co-ops that offer instruction in your weak areas. You could also hire a tutor. The important thing is that you recognize the areas that are hard for you and find an alternative for your child.
2. Focus on skills
Branching off of the idea that you’re not going to know everything, is the idea that content is not as important as skills. So what if you don’t remember all the events leading up to the American Revolution. Your child can read a book about that or watch a documentary. Focus on the skill you are teaching. You want your child to be able to read a nonfiction text and extract important information. You also want them to find meaningful ways to connect with any text so they can remember what they learn. Don’t worry about what your child is learning, but rather how. Choose a skill to focus on and let your child pick the subject matter.
3. Don’t compare yourself to school
The structure and environment of school is very different from that of home learning. Being at home affords you flexibility, choice, and the opportunity to build your own structure and routine that works for you and your family. I emphasize to parents that routine and structure are important, but don’t model it after that of school. Children crave predictability and organization. That’s not to say spontaneity is bad or you can’t cancel plans once in a while. But for a child to develop good executive functioning skills and maintain a low stress level, they need to have some idea of what to expect. The structure of school is very rigid and can be anxiety producing for children. Don’t try to mimic it. Also recognize that schools spend a lot of time organizing large groups of students, doing behavior management, moving from place to place, and making sure everyone is on the same page. At home, you don’t need to do all of that. The six hours your child would spend in school is not all learning time. So at home, adjust the amount of academic time based on your child’s stamina, ability, and schedule. Keep it simple and stick to a basic routine.