Homeschooling help offer...post questions here
Whether you either deciding to start homeschooling, or now having to school your kids at home (public school at home), or do video/virtual school (the last two aren't actually homeschooling by definition), I would like to offer help to make things flow a bit easier. It is never an easy transition, especially if one is thrust into it with no choice.
My credentials: I was homeschooled and we have been homeschooling as a family for over 20 years. We have many kids from early elementary to graduated & holding down a good job. I have one 14 year old who has been done with her Trig since before Christmas...so I am sure that she could troubleshoot a few math problems too.
I am welcoming specific questions on lifestyle, scheduling, physical movement, disabilities, boredom, activities, curriculum, and whatever else might come up.
I do realize that there are other experienced homeschoolers here & I certainly welcome them to chime in. We can all help.
I am considering making this a "group" to not fill up these main forum topics, but need to ask those in charge of TGN if this is acceptable. It also depends on interest if this idea would be viable.
In the meantime, I would like this to be a safe place to ask questions about anything homeschooling/schooling at home. Help is only a post away. 😉
@LaurieLovesLearning So very good of you to make this offer of assistance! I'm sure as time goes on there will be many people seeking advice on how to cope with continuing the educational curve.
By the way, congratulations on your new position as moderator/administrator! You are very diplomatic and I'm sure you will do an excellent job.
Thanks. I have helped moderate before, and have actually been a moderator here since just before the switch in systems. I just didn't feel that I could do a whole lot until the role was visible. Moderating can be difficult, but also rewarding. It is certainly an exercise in people observation, which I enjoy doing in person. It is a totally different experience online.
I am going to pm you.
My first advice for anyone now schooling at home is to keep it simple...and have some fun breaks. Don't set it up like public school with 45 minute classes or whatever. That is just way too stressful. We have math mornings with writing practice. Afternoons are one subject/day, two if desired by my kids. Reward play/activities are best left until work is done for the day. Fridays are catch up days & fun! It makes life a lot easier!
Kids will be just as stressed as the adults right now, so simple is best.
For new homeschoolers, it is often recommended to and work on relationships first the keep to the basics for a couple months. Do something fun together. It is also recommended to give one week off per year of previous public school because it is a different environment & lifestyle. I am not sure that this will be allowed by govt. for public schoolers at home. Their requirements may be more strict. Just don't be hard on yourself & keep things as simple as possible. If you need help, ask someone.
Early years schoolers should be able to get book work done in a couple of hours or less & read/bake/craft/do music for the rest of the day.
Don't be overwhelmed with all the online helps. There is a lot in the homeschooling world and unless you have guidance, it can be extremely overwhelming. Pick one extra thing that appeals to your child if you wish...that makes things much easier than picking according to your tastes. If you have more than one child, try something that appeals to all.
Kitchen tables and even couches are good learning spaces. ;)
I was going through some special offers I got today and thought this night be worthwhile: https://curiositystream.com/ they have a special right now for 11.99 per year. I am planning on signing up for it I think for a homeschooling family this would be great. When I home-schooled my kids there was no internet! What a change.
@VickiP We have that! It is great.
I found something very good while looking for word searches for our kids' language arts. This site has a lot of subjects & activities to offer. I am linking directly to the science videos, but there is so much more.
This is a very good resource that has answers to frequently asked questions at this time of suddenly teaching kids at home, and has some, but not overwhelming resources:
This is not a free resource but Learning Herbs is offering a discount right now for its Herb Fairies program. It is an awesome resource for teaching kids about herbs and their natural environment. For those that might want something more entertaining they have a WildCraft board game that is educational in itself. It is available through Learning Herbs or Amazon or Mountain Rose Herbs.
The Herbal Academy is offering a free Introduction to Herbs for Kids series. The following link takes you to a page of lessons with links to each lesson. Teaches kids about herbs, teas, gardening, cooking, etc. Something else to keep them occupied and interested.
https://theherbalacademy.com/introduction-herbs-kids/?awt_a=5cXw&awt_l=HVg7c&awt_m=3YLLoQUbCcG43Xw3 · Share on Twitter
Wow! There are so many free resources right now that it is getting almost overwhelming. We may just interrupt our regular scheduling to take in some of these things!
Our daughter just signed up for free photography lessons at Coles Classroom online. She is very excited! So am I... 😁 It us free to sign up there until April 8.
You can find his current offer here:
Another resource available for schooling at home parents. This looks as though it is a growing list & covers many subjects.
Kami McBride just set up a Herbal Crafting Corner that might assist with some homeschooling projects.3 · Share on Twitter
This looks like a really great resource. Thanks for sharing.
@sarah121 It is amazing what is out there if you look. I am finding even more great resources lately. I just wish we had time to do them all.
This site gives many editable printables so that you can create fun lapbooks for any subject of learning.
I will post a few pictures of part of a project that my kids made while studying Canadian history. It was a series of lapbooks. These are not necessarily in order. It will give an idea what a lapbook can look like. You can add your own ideas as well, as you can see. Just try to keep it somewhat flat. 😄
Another idea that could be interesting for kids to do is making a newspaper, either about current events (it is history in the making) or another subject. I loved doing this with my sister when I was younger. It takes observation, thought, creativity, and encourages good spelling, grammar and organization skills.
I will include one my oldest helped make for our above lapbook. Thinking back, it really should have been done in black & white.
When I was young, I also narrated stories (on a tape recorder...yes on that) with my siblings, and used different voices for different characters & added creative sound effects.
This could either enhance their studies and make them memorable, or be an activity for after studies are done for the day.
I just came across this free webinar from the American Herbalist Guild. "Weekly Herbal Parenting Hangout", with Registered Herbalist Kristine Brown. https://www.americanherbalistsguild.com/webinar/virtual-hangout-parents
We started homeschooling November 2021. We are still learning the ropes! We have twins going into 8th grade next year. Please add any helpful tips to guide us along. Thank you
@Nancy Carter Personalized tips are hard to give without hearing the questions first. Lol Homeschooling is a big subject. I'll try anyway.
I always hear to work on the relationship first. Keep communication open.
Make sure you keep the desire to learn intact... don't damage the desire to learn on their own.
Don't feel that you have to fill in the gaps. Nobody's education will fill in all the gaps... there is always more to learn & discover.
Give yourself (and your kids) permission to enjoy life.
Books are a guide, not your master.
Don't "do school." You don't need to have subject times & a bell. Structure can take on other forms. I can discuss this further if you'd like.
Be involved with different activities that interest the family or your kids outside of book work, but don't overdo it and be a slave to being busy. Keep it in check.
Being involved in other things encourages the good type of socialization.
You don't have to explain your choices to others who are hostile... let your record & your properly socialized kids speech & learning speak for themselves. Short answers to these folks and boundaries are wise. Some subjects and inquiries, especially directed at your kids, are not often appropriate.
Know why you are homeschooling.
Keep records of what you do (not something I'm good at, but I know it's important).
Homeschooling... know the definition. It is not private or group school. It is not online learning.
I could add more, but it's late & I can add more at another time.
I'm happy to help if you need any!
Socialization is a big deal to the naysayers, but good socialization can be done everywhere...in home, visiting elsewhere, going to the store, sports club, volunteer organization, with neighbors, church. Basically, it can be done wherever there are people, and in the real world, socialization is all ages, not just their own age.
I should ask, what curriculum are you using? Is it a specific full curriculum, or eclectic (mixed)?
Something I find is misunderstood by a lot of "unschoolers" is that they tend to think "homeschooling" is curriculum only and you don't take time to learn hands on things. You will most likely come across this opinion. True homeschooling trains the whole person, and sometimes there is a lot done that has nothing to do with curriculum! There is reading, writing, science, history/geography, and math, but it doesn't have to be confined to books only. That would not be far off public school methods and is not the ideal homeschooling. Homeschooling takes in... gardening, exploration, building, sports, herbalism, animal husbandry, culinary skills, entrepreneurship, volunteering, mechanics, art, music, field trips, etc. The sky is the limit!
Parent introduced & led is also not bad as some unschoolers are led to believe. I think guidance is actually best. You are older, more experienced, and hopefully, wiser. Good mentors are important when thinking in a business model. They are also important within the family and it is one role of a parent.
You can choose what you think best suits your child. It doesn't mean that they can't explore other things. Being parent led also means you can help introduce them to other interests that they might not have even considered.
You can also learn alongside them, or them alongside you.
As for the change of scheduling, doing many subjects a day can interfere with optimal learning. We plan on math in the morning. Math is often a more difficult subject for many kids. This gives some of the most alert time to tackle these things. In the afternoon, we do other subjects. The major subjects get one afternoon each and we do multiple lessons. If breaks are needed, we do that. We fit anything else into the rest of the afternoon time.
If something is difficult and draining (to parent/child), take a break and cone back to it later.
If you get stressed, it is okay to take a day off.
It is very hard to keep kids focused. They would rather play. Some is good, of course, but to much can interfere with what needs to be done. To be honest, we do struggle with this as do many others.
That's all I've got for now. Let me know if there might be anything else you might want to know.
@LaurieLovesLearning do you have any experience with homeschool co-ops?
@Michelle D I have very little experience with them, but do have some from years ago & (one currently) and have observed a few. Jenny would know more, but she us busy dealing with her health issues at the moment and I'd not want to bother her.
They need to be either very casual (hey, come meet up with us today for...) or very organized. Any group needs to have guidelines talked out & written and a way to keep certain members from being overbearing, manipulative and controlling of others. You should have this in place before they can get a foot in the door.
Listening skills are a must have. Flexibility is important. Understanding of different familes' philosophies/reasons why they are homeschooling, and work schedules, allergies, family book education schedules, etc. need to be respected.
Some things to consider...
Are you fundraising at all & how? Is it pooled or not? Homeschoolers can fundraise creatively and hopefully represent homeschooling in a positive light.
Are you trading skills or paying those who instruct?
Are you getting together to learn from any curriculum or is it fun activities or a mix? Is it casual & occasional or does it have set days & times?
My pet peeve is that often these mimic public school. Homeschooling is about families, not division. Activities should not have to stay within school hours. Plan whole family activities. Dads are important.
Keep in mind segregating by age group is often not possible. Families have a vast range of ages. Plan mainly for whole families, not only ages 9 & 10, for instance. You can alternatively plan activities for many separate age groups at one time. It can be very difficult for those with older & younger kids if dividing by age.
Those are my thoughts on homeschool co-ops.
Homeschooling is a huge blessing😍
@LaurieLovesLearning thank you for your insights. I had thought about most of that. It had not occurred to me that if we do daytime only working family members (dads) might be left out. I will have to work on some ides there. I also had not thought about fundraising. That could be a great option for some of the family that want to participate and are not financially able to contribute as much. I will look into that also. We are still in planning stages now but hoping to be running by the start of the new school year.
@Michelle D If at all possible, it is good to get the older kids out together into the community.
What ours did one day this past winter was get up early (reasonably so anyway) and knocked on doors in our small community, and said they'd like to shovel the walk/driveway. It was pay if you can & what the homeowner tthought would be reasonable.
It was a very cold, windy day, but they made a good amount & their willingness to do physical work (possibly even for free) was noticed and looked upon very favorably from those in the community.
Nobody was disappointed and the kids learned about giving of themselves, selfless work, positive interaction with the public & lessons that are beneficial for entrepreneurship.
@LaurieLovesLearning thank you for all of the great ideas and insights! We use/have tried several different resources for lessons. Campfire curriculum, The Good and the Beautiful, Gather round, Supercharged math with Aurora, as well as made up some of our own. Our twins are going into 8th grade and we have an adult child with a disability. Our neighbor volunteered to teach sewing! We are using trial and error for most things til we find what works for us.
I forgot to add...the shoveling was to raise money for a ski trip, and the kids presented that at the door.
@Nancy Carter That's what we did.
Having someone volunteer to teach sewing is awesome. We had that opportunity and now our oldest at home sews beautiful, simple (inexpensive) Mennonite dresses & more.
Recently, we found someone local who is fluent in 3 languages. Our oldest asked if she might be willing to teach families within our group.
We took a vote in our small homeschool community to see which would be the most desired to learn. It's funny, all agreed to learn Low German, which is sadly, a slowly dying language amongst the Mennonite people. It was not a written language until more recent times. In church and formal settings, High German was what was used. Low German was used otherwise in certain Mennonite circles.
This lady is (honored, excited &) getting some books together from her teaching sister in Germany. It will be very fun getting together as families to learn our ethnic language.
Right now, we go to a church where many are fluent in Low German (and English & some know Spanish), so it will be interesting trying to converse with them in something other than English.
We've got the sounds in our heads & the accent already, & my husband knows some words, so this will put all that to good use. 😄 I only know a few words and they are mainly food words (so important! 😋).
I have often said that parents should keep their language alive. Often the language gets lost, then everything else follows. We still have the ethnic dishes (I'm glad we have that at least), but don't have the language.
It is important to know where you come from & keep that history alive for next generations. All families should make a point in knowing their history.
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