If you’re a planner, detailed type, this post is especially for you. Follow these steps and you’ll feel accomplished and ready to begin.
Becoming your child’s teacher can be intimidating. Whether you are starting out with Kindergarten or 6th grade, it is tough. Not unlike the first time I went rock climbing. My legs and arms were shaking and I was insecure that the rope and harness would hold me. I was scared to death.
We feel so much pressure as parents to do what is best for our children and make sure they turn out well.
That is a great reason to school your own children, you are their most powerful advocate and know them best. Why not give them your own one-on-one tutoring and allow them to learn in the way that suits their individual personality and needs best?
Here are 4 steps to get you started:
Step 1 – Write out why you are homeschooling
This will become your plumb-line. What you refer back to on tough days. What you will use to remind your children that homeschooling is a good thing and you are doing it for a reason. Think about it. Talk about it.
Come up with 1 or 2 short sentences that say why you are homeschooling and then hang it up somewhere so you can see it every day.
Here is an example: “We are educating our children at home so that learning can remain enjoyable and tailored to each child. We are instilling in them our personal principles, morals and values. A love of God, country, and freedom.”
Step 2 – Write out 1 very specific goal for the year.
Starting off with one specific goal for your first year of homeschool allows you to visualize your end result and narrow your focus.
The more focused and intentional you are as the teacher, the more you will be able to focus and pursue a common goal with your child.
For example, let’s say my child is in 1st grade and is learning to read. My one goal for first grade is going to be that he/she is able to read one book that I select (i.e. Dr. Suess’ 1 Fish 2 Fish Red Fish Blue Fish), comfortably and smoothly by the end of the year.
I discuss the goal with my child, write it out and post it somewhere that we can see it every school day. This gives us something fun to shoot for and if we get it done sooner we all get kudos!
Step 3 – Pick out a curriculum
Before picking out a curriculum, try to think about your child’s learning style.
Ask yourself a few questions like this:
How does my child seem to learn best? Do they enjoy doing things that are more visual or more auditory? Are they crafty and hands-on? or do they prefer to listen to you read aloud? Are they extremely active or musical?
Also, think about your own learning style. I personally love building legos but in trying to do that with my daughters, I often find myself alone. So, I’ve had to ditch the legos and learn to enjoy complex coloring and jewelry making in order to keep their interest.
Next, go to a website like CathyDuffyReviews.com and browse through her Grade Level Packages and her All-In-One programs.
Don’t feel like you need to pick any particular curriculum just yet. Do a little browsing around; learn what you can about what is available. Then select a few books that you like and run them through the criteria list you made for yourself and your child’s learning styles. Once you find a program that fits most of your criteria, go with it.
Nothing is going to fit perfectly, and you will find that you can adjust and change things as you go along. Your child doesn’t like the reading books you picked? Ditch them and go to the library instead. It’s going to be okay. You are not tied to the curriculum.
The reason that I encourage you to select an All-In-One package is that it allows you to get started now and it covers all your bases. This type of program will give you confidence that you are covering all of the required subjects at that grade level and will give you and your child confidence to get started.
You should also consider free curriculum. There are LOTS of them available. Free curriculum are great, especially when you are just starting out.
Step 4 – Create a learning space
You don’t need a whole separate “school” room to teach your child at home.
However, it is important to have a dedicated space that is clean, comfortable and organized. This way when you sit down to school each day you can assure that you are prepared and focused without being distracted by the tyranny of the urgent.
Know what you expect to do each day and have it prepared. Have your books out, sharpened pencils at the ready and a clean space to work in; whether it’s at the kitchen table, a dedicated school desk, or the grass at the park, pick the place that fits your student best.
Ready, set, school!