Homeschool best practices

Published in the PRG Summer issue 2018

By Sarah Schwartz, M.Ed.
Arete Charter Academy Director

Start simple: Do not start off week one expecting to have homeschool perfected. You will learn as you go. Know that the first two weeks might be stressful and hard. There might be tears (parents and kiddos). Feel free to start slowly and increase over a period of time. Be patient with yourself and know it will get better soon!

Set a routine: This does not need to be a strict schedule, but more of a basic guideline of what each day will look like.

Morning Meeting: Start the morning with a quick check in with your plan for the day. Connect with each child and see what they need to be successful for the day. Review activities planned and anything special that will be occurring.

Reduce distractions: Whether it’s your cell phone or theirs, TV, emails, etc. commit to focused work time for them and you. Be available to get them started and then answer questions as needed. Also, if your child has his/her own cellphone and is struggling to complete enough assignments on time, make it a policy that they do not have access to their phone until after they have completed their assignments for the day.

Collaborate: Work with your kids of all ages to decide the best time that schooling works for your family. Some families start after breakfast, some work in the evening, and others split the day up. See what works best for your family.

Select your extra activities carefully: Lots of resources and enrichment classes will pop-up for homeschool families, you do have to do all of them. Measure the cost of the time and energy expended for the activity compared to what your children will gain from the experience. Do not feel that you have to do every opportunity that you hear about or that other families do. Choose only the ones that are the very best fit for your family.

Be consistent: Set up expectations for your children and stick to them. Homeschool takes discipline. It takes follow through. Mean what you say. This will prevent future battles.

Say yes: You have that general schedule or routine, but your kiddo says, “Mom, I just read a book about different kinds of rocks. Can we go outside and find some examples?” Say yes and embrace that teachable moment. Then if they want to paint one of the rocks, go for it. Part of why you chose to homeschool was to follow your children’s passions and to be flexible about what and when they learn.

Enjoy: You chose homeschool because you think it is the best option to fit your child’s needs. Appreciate the extra time with your children and revel in the process of watching them learn.

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