There is a lot to do when homeschooling, but some of the most important things might be those that you often overlook.
If you’re just getting started on your homeschool adventure or have been homeschooling for a while, how many of the things below are you doing when you teach?
1. Plan Your Homeschooling Activities in Advance
Planning is a crucial aspect of successful homeschooling.
By carefully organizing your activities in advance, you can ensure a well-rounded and effective learning experience for your child.
Take the time to map out the curriculum, set goals, and determine the resources needed.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t sneak in learning when the opportunity arises, it just means that the majority of your activities should be planned in advance.
2. Establish a Consistent Schedule for Structure
Consistency is key when it comes to homeschooling.
Establishing a regular schedule helps create a sense of structure and routine, which can enhance your child’s learning experience.
Designate specific times for different subjects and activities to maintain a productive learning environment.
3. Allow for Regular Breaks to Prevent Burnout
To prevent burnout and maintain focus, it’s important to incorporate regular breaks into your homeschooling routine.
Breaks provide an opportunity for relaxation, physical activity, and mental rejuvenation.
Encourage your child to engage in activities they enjoy during these breaks.
You may find that outside activities during these times work best; they definitely did for my energetic boys when they were young!
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4. Recognize and Adapt to Your Child’s Learning Style
Every child has a unique learning style.
Some may be visual learners, while others may prefer auditory or kinesthetic methods.
Recognizing and adapting to your child’s learning style can greatly enhance their understanding and retention of information.
5. Keep Assignments Reasonable to Avoid Overwhelming Your Child
Assignments should be tailored to your child’s abilities and should not overwhelm them.
By setting reasonable expectations, you can foster a positive attitude toward learning and prevent unnecessary stress.
Consider your child’s age, interests, and abilities when assigning tasks.
6. Encourage Social Interaction with Other Homeschoolers or Community Activities
While homeschooling provides flexibility, it’s important to ensure that your child has ample opportunities for social interaction.
Encourage participation in homeschooling groups, community activities, or playdates with other homeschoolers.
This allows for the development of social skills and the opportunity to learn from peers.
For example, our community library has a Valentine’s Day event for homeschooled kids every year and it was always something we enjoyed doing!
7. Every Child Learns at Their Own Pace; Avoid Comparisons
Each child has their own unique learning journey.
It is essential to avoid comparing your child’s progress with others. Embrace the fact that every child learns at their own pace and focus on their individual growth and achievements.
8. Include Physical Activities to Balance Learning and Movement
Physical activities are crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and promoting cognitive development.
Incorporate regular physical exercises or activities into your homeschooling routine to balance learning with movement.
This can include outdoor games, yoga sessions, or even short walks.
9. Incorporate Your Child’s Interests Into the Curriculum
Engaging your child’s interests can greatly enhance their enthusiasm for learning.
Incorporate topics or activities that align with their passions into the curriculum.
This personalization or delight directed learning not only makes learning enjoyable but also helps foster a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
10. Focus On One Subject or Task at a Time to Maximize Concentration
To optimize concentration and comprehension, it is beneficial to focus on one subject or task at a time.
By minimizing distractions and dedicating focused attention to each topic, your child can achieve better understanding and retention of the material.
Remember, your homeschool language arts lesson or class will not look the same as a language arts class in the classroom, and that’s okay!
11. Regularly Assess Your Child’s Progress and Adjust Accordingly
Continuous evaluation of your child’s progress is essential for effective homeschooling.
Regularly assess their understanding of topics and adjust your teaching methods accordingly.
This allows you to tailor the curriculum to meet their specific needs and ensure optimal learning outcomes.
12. Be Flexible with Your Schedule to Accommodate Unexpected Events
Flexibility is one of the advantages of homeschooling.
Unexpected events may disrupt your planned schedule, so it is important to be adaptable.
Embrace the opportunity to turn these events into valuable learning experiences or adjust the schedule as needed.
While homeschool planning is essential, so too is the need to be flexible.
13. Integrate Subjects for a More Holistic Approach to Learning
Integrating different subjects can provide a more comprehensive and holistic approach to education.
Explore ways to incorporate cross-curricular activities that connect various subjects together.
For example, combining history with literature or science with math can deepen understanding and make learning more meaningful.
Adapting curriculum to make it work for you and your family’s rhythm is what’s most important!
14. Listen to Your Child’s Feedback and Adapt Your Approach Accordingly
Open communication with your child is crucial in understanding their needs and preferences.
Actively listen to their feedback about the curriculum, teaching methods, or any concerns they may have.
This allows you to adapt your approach accordingly, creating a more effective and enjoyable learning environment.
You may think you have found and are using the best homeschool spelling curriculum, but if your child despises it, it’s really not the best one for your family.
15. Set Realistic Goals for Both You and Your Child
Setting realistic homeschool goals is important for maintaining motivation and measuring progress.
Collaborate with your child to set achievable objectives that align with their abilities and aspirations.
Additionally, set personal goals for yourself as the educator to continuously improve and provide the best learning experience.
16. Maintain Open Communication with Your Child About Their Learning
Regularly communicate with your child about their learning experiences.
Create a supportive environment where they feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, challenges, and achievements.
This open communication fosters a deeper connection and helps you address any concerns or areas for improvement.
17. Model a Love for Learning By Continuing Your Education
As an educator, it’s important to model a love for learning by continuing your own education.
Engage in professional development opportunities, pursue personal interests, and share your enthusiasm for knowledge with your child.
This sets an example that emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning.
18. Foster Social Connections Through Playdates or Group Activities
Social connections play a vital role in a child’s overall development.
Organize playdates or group activities to foster friendships and allow for social interaction outside of formal academic settings.
These interactions provide opportunities for teamwork, collaboration, and the development of social skills.
19. Address and Accommodate Any Special Learning Needs
Every child has unique learning needs, including those with special requirements.
Identify any special learning needs your child may have and take appropriate measures to accommodate them.
This may involve utilizing specialized resources, adapting teaching strategies, or seeking professional guidance.
20. Utilize Libraries, Online Resources, and Educational Materials
Take advantage of libraries, online resources, and educational materials available to support homeschooling.
These resources offer a wealth of information, books, videos, interactive tools, and educational platforms that can enrich your curriculum and provide diverse learning opportunities.
21. Prioritize Self-care to Maintain Your Well-being
Homeschooling can be demanding, so it’s important to prioritize self-care.
Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally by finding time for relaxation, pursuing hobbies, seeking support, or practicing mindfulness techniques.
By prioritizing self-care, you can better support your child’s education.
22. Acknowledge and Celebrate Your Child’s Accomplishments
Recognizing your child’s accomplishments is crucial for building their confidence and motivation.
Celebrate their achievements, whether big or small, to reinforce their sense of accomplishment and encourage continued growth and progress.
23. Embrace Teachable Moments in Everyday Life
Learning doesn’t have to be confined to textbooks or structured lessons.
Embrace teachable moments in everyday life by encouraging curiosity and critical thinking.
Whether it’s discussing current events or exploring natural phenomena during a walk, seize opportunities to make learning a part of daily life.
24. Foster a Growth Mindset and Resilience in the Face of Challenges
Encourage a growth mindset in your child by emphasizing the importance of effort, perseverance, and resilience in the face of challenges.
Teach them that mistakes are opportunities for growth and that setbacks are part of the learning process.
This mindset fosters a positive attitude towards learning and personal development.
25. Engage with Local Homeschooling Communities for Support
Connect with local homeschooling communities for support, advice, and shared experiences.
Engaging with other homeschooling families provides opportunities for networking, exchanging resources, organizing group activities, and finding emotional support throughout your homeschooling journey.
26. Include Discussions About Health and Well-being
Promote discussions about health and well-being as part of your homeschooling curriculum.
Teach your child about nutrition, physical fitness, mental health, hygiene practices, and stress management techniques.
By prioritizing their well-being, you contribute to their overall growth and success.
27. Teach Practical Life Skills Like Cooking, Budgeting, and Time Management
Incorporate practical life skills into your curriculum to prepare your child for independent living.
Teach them essential skills such as cooking, budgeting, time management, basic household chores, or even simple home repairs.
These skills empower them with practical knowledge that will benefit them throughout their lives.
28. Integrate Diverse Perspectives Into Your Lessons
Promote diversity and inclusivity by integrating diverse perspectives into your lessons.
Explore different cultures, traditions, historical events from various regions of the world, and encourage critical thinking about social issues.
This fosters cultural literacy, empathy, understanding, and appreciation for diversity.
29. Discuss Various Career Options and Interests
Engage in conversations about various career options with your child. Encourage them to explore their interests and passions while discussing potential future paths.
Exposing them to different career possibilities broadens their horizons and helps them make informed decisions about their future.
30. Allow Your Child to Learn at Their Own Pace
Homeschooling allows the flexibility for children to learn at their own pace.
Embrace this advantage by tailoring teaching methods to suit their individual needs.
Provide opportunities for self-paced learning while offering guidance and support as necessary.
31. Take Advantage of Outdoor Spaces for Learning Activities
Nature provides an excellent backdrop for experiential learning.
Take advantage of outdoor spaces such as parks or gardens for hands-on activities related to science, nature exploration, art projects inspired by landscapes, or physical education exercises.
These experiences connect children with their environment while enhancing their understanding of various subjects.
32. Ensure Your Child Gets Adequate Sleep for Optimal Learning
Adequate sleep plays a vital role in optimal brain function and overall well-being.
Establish healthy sleep routines that allow your child to get enough restful sleep each night.
Sufficient sleep contributes to better concentration, memory retention, mood regulation, and overall academic performance.
33. Keep “Homework” Manageable and Purposeful
Homework should serve a purpose in reinforcing concepts learned during homeschooling sessions.
Keep assignments manageable in duration and complexity while ensuring they align with the learning objectives.
Purposeful homework encourages independent thinking, problem-solving skills, and reinforces classroom concepts.
34. Include Educational Games for a Fun Learning Experience
Learning through play is both engaging and effective. Incorporate educational games into your homeschooling routine to make learning enjoyable while reinforcing important concepts.
Educational games can be digital applications or physical board games designed specifically for educational purposes.
35. Incorporate Field Trips and Real-World Experiences Into the Curriculum
Field trips provide valuable real-world experiences that enhance classroom learning.
Plan visits to museums, historical sites, science centers, farms, or local businesses relevant to the curriculum topics being studied.
These hands-on experiences deepen understanding by connecting theoretical knowledge with practical application.
36. Include Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in Your Curriculum
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects are crucial in preparing children for future careers in a technology-driven world.
Incorporate STEM-focused activities into your curriculum to develop problem-solving skills and foster an interest in these fields from an early age.
37. Allow Your Child to Explore Creativity in Various Subjects
Nurture creativity by allowing your child to explore artistic expression across various subjects.
Encourage them to write stories, create visual presentations for history lessons, or conduct science experiments with innovative approaches.
Fostering creativity enhances critical thinking skills while making learning more enjoyable.
38. Regularly Assess and Discuss Your Child’s Progress
Regular assessment is an essential part of homeschooling to ensure that educational goals are being met effectively.
Assess your child’s progress using various methods such as quizzes, projects, portfolios, or discussions.
Regularly discuss their achievements and areas for improvement to foster ongoing growth.
39. Foster Emotional Intelligence Alongside Academic Learning
Emotional intelligence plays a vital role in personal development.
Alongside academic subjects, focus on emotional intelligence by teaching empathy, self-awareness, emotional regulation techniques, conflict resolution skills, and fostering healthy relationships.
These skills contribute to overall well-being as well as academic success.
40. Network with Educational Professionals for Guidance
Networking with educational professionals can provide valuable guidance throughout your homeschooling journey.
Seek advice from experienced educators or consultant services specializing in homeschooling support when needed.
Their expertise can help you navigate challenges or provide insights into effective teaching practices.
Remember, it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help!
41. Adapt Your Teaching Style to Your Child’s Learning Preferences
Flexibility in teaching style is key when homeschooling as it allows you to cater to your child’s individual needs.
Adapt instructional methods based on their preferred learning style—visual aids for visual learners or hands-on experiments for kinesthetic learners—to create an optimal learning environment.
42. Encourage Collaborative Learning Experiences
Collaborative learning experiences foster teamwork skills while enhancing understanding of subjects through peer interaction.
Organize group projects or discussions where children can work together towards common goals while developing interpersonal skills such as communication and cooperation.
43. Foster Creativity Through Individual Projects and Presentations
Encourage individual projects and presentations that allow children to demonstrate creativity while developing research skills independently.
These projects could involve writing reports or essays on topics they are passionate about or creating artwork inspired by specific themes within the curriculum.
44. Maintain Open Communication with Other Homeschooling Parents
Connecting with other homeschooling parents creates a network of support where you can share experiences, resources, and tips or seek advice when needed.
Engage in online forums or local homeschooling communities where you can exchange ideas or organize joint activities for children.
45. Include Discussions on Ethics and Moral Values
Education should go beyond academic subjects; it should also address ethical considerations and moral values.
Engage in conversations about ethical dilemmas or societal issues relevant to their age group while encouraging critical thinking skills necessary for responsible decision-making.
46. Integrate Global Perspectives Into Lessons
Foster global awareness by incorporating global perspectives into lessons across different subjects such as geography, history or literature.
Explore diverse cultures through literature readings or virtual field trips while emphasizing respect for cultural differences and promoting global citizenship.
47. Sleep, Drink, and Eat
We’ve mentioned getting enough sleep above, but making sure your kids (and you!) are hydrated and fed goes a long way to creating a successful homeschool environment.
No one can learn when they’re dehydrated and angry!
48. Read for Fun
One of the most important things you can do in your homeschool is read for fun.
Read your own books for fun and let your children see you reading.
Read picture or chapter books together as a family or one-on-one with your children to show them how reading can be engaging and thought provoking.
Just keep reading!
49. Show Yourself Grace
You are going to mess up when you’re homeschooling.
There will be lessons that flop, kids who are cranky, and days when all you want to do is snuggle with your children on the sofa and read books.
Show yourself grace and handle those days gently and with kindness.
Homeschooling is not a race; there’s no such thing as perfect.
50. Let Your Children Lead…Sometimes
I am all for interest-led homeschooling and believe it has a place in every homeschool family.
Give your children the opportunity to explore their passions and learn about the things that interest them.
But also have a plan for the basics (reading, writing, and math) so that they can build those foundational skills that they’ll need in order to move ahead with their learning – whether it’s self-directed or not.
51. Have Fun
If you do nothing else in your homeschool, have fun.
Some days will not be fun and you’ll want to pull your hair out, but try to have moments or pockets of fun in every day.
It could be a walk around the block, an indoor snowball fight, or coloring inspirational pages that the kids can then hang around their rooms – whatever takes the stress away for a few minutes and allows you to have fun together is what you should do.
What to Do When Homeschooling
By following these guidelines in your homeschooling journey, you can create an engaging and effective educational experience tailored specifically to meet your child’s needs.
And, you might find that when you meet their needs, you’re meeting some of your own as well.