As with any new project there is lots of excitement on the part of the parent and student who are looking forward to being at home instead of a public school and the parent taking on the role of teacher. However, there is a lot of planning that needs to be done before any books are opened or computer is turned on and the school year actually begins. Taking time to prep in advance is one of the best ways to avoid headaches and stress that are often come as life tends to do…that is alright because homeschool allows you to adjust easily to a day’s unplanned events. Online programs provide lesson planners integrated with each class so the student can see what they should be doing each day and for younger grades with a book curriculum a planner should be included which clearly marks out the days lessons. Take advantage of these tools so that you don’t have to re-invent the process and adjust easily when things come up.
Organization and structure are healthy characteristics for homeschoolers as they provide guidelines for behavior and how to proceed throughout the day to meet the objectives. However, remember that you chose to teach your student at home for specific reasons so the atmosphere, schedule and where it gets done do not have to mimic a traditional classroom. Assignments can be done at the kitchen table or on the couch depending on the work and whether there is an electronic device or actual book being used. The goal is to maximize the student’s leaning abilities so they can do their best job on the work.
If you are homeschooling several children in different grades, it is important to understand that the same approach may not work on each student. Some kids require hands-on involvement especially in the younger grades while others are more comfortable with self-study and self-discipline to follow the online program. To avoid burnout and getting overwhelmed, start with a check-in system where you can see how each child is doing on their own for each subject and see where you need to step in as the teacher with more instruction. After this evaluation, you can put together a daily plan to balance the needs of each student and ensure that you are staying organized and in control of the information flow. Curriculum is another area where parents can quickly get overwhelmed and frustrated since books are expensive and the easiest purchase is to buy a ‘boxed set’. There are two ways to handle this: research and select 1st grade homeschool curriculum from a variety of resources so you can customize to the child or take time to review several online programs that support your objectives and have an organized curriculum in place for each grade. The latter option is easier because parents don’t have to do anything but enroll their student in the portal and the school takes care of the rest of the details.
The top benefit of homeschooling is that it can be done in a way that works best for you and your family. It may take a few weeks to find out exactly what that looks like so keep expectations manageable and communicate often with your kids to find the right balance. Flexibility with organization is exactly what the online homeschool programs provide with parents and students using the system in their unique ways.
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