10 Tips for Making the Most of Your Homeschool Year
1. Set goals for your school year.
- Tip: While you’re scheduling your school year, encourage your children to set their own goals for their education. What are some things they’ve been particularly curious about or have wanted to know? Look for ways to incorporate those things into the overall academic goals, and your child will feel like an active participant in his or her education.
2. Get organized. Stay organized.
- Tip: Keep manipulatives in manila files or envelopes organized by month for easy access.
3. Make balance a priority.
- Tip: Focus on developing a homeschool routine that is structured enough to accomplish your goals without losing sight of your students’ (and your!) need for occasional changes of scene and pace.
4. Maintain “administrator” unity in your homeschool decisions.
- Tip: Dad and Mom need to be in this decision together so that the kids don’t get the idea that they can pit one parent against the other. “Teacher” supports the “principal,” vice versa, and the family as a whole contributes to the whole need of the family.
5. Don’t measure the effectiveness of your schedule by other homeschoolers’ schedules—do the best you can with the time you have.
- Tip: Focus on tangible measurements of success—like your children’s ability to apply textbook knowledge to real-life situations—and spend whatever time is necessary to encourage their growth.
6. Institute and maintain regular homework deadlines.
- Tip: Don’t let the convenience of a more fluid schedule distract you from an integral part of your child’s preparation for college and the workforce.
7. Organize a “school basket” for younger children to use during school hours.
- Tip: Each younger child should have his or her own basket but have access to it only during the older children’s work hours. Fill the basket with fun activities, educational toys, interesting picture books, and puzzles that the child can do on his or her own.
8. Don’t let your curriculum completely determine how and what you teach. Curriculum is a tool—a wonderful tool—but only you can decide how best to use for your children.
- Tip: Capitalize on your students’ learning strengths while alternating with other learning styles to help them grow. For example, consider reading tests and homework assignments aloud to aural learners while having them follow along on the printed pages.
9. Keep detailed academic records.
- Tip: You’ll need a selection broad enough to show your child’s curve of improvement throughout the school year. Remember, you can always throw out unneeded papers later, but you can’t bring them back once they’re gone.
10. Enjoy homeschooling! Life is short and you have only so much time with your children.
- Tip: The more prepared you are for the school year, the more time you will have to enjoy it.