Homeschooling essentially means schooling at home. It’s becoming increasingly popular and today, there are over 2.3 million homeschooled children in the USA alone.
There are multiple reasons why homeschooling is gaining popularity in the 21st century. Primarily it’s because aware parents want to be deeply involved in their children’s learning curve as well as protect then from bullying at school.
“Is homeschooling eventually going to become a boring, repetitive and incompetent exercise?” – This one question pounds most minds who ever consider homeschooling as a real option.
So, let’s allay your fears about the competence of homeschooled children first.
Well, it’s a myth that homeschooled children can lag behind their schooled counterparts. In fact, typically, homeschooled kids score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic tests. Similar results are very common with SATs and ACTs for college admissions.
While the reasons to homeschool your child may be plenty, making it fun for your child can be a daunting task. You are no longer just the parent or just the teacher. You are constantly juggling both roles when you homeschool your ward.
We have put together 5 easy ways to make homeschooling a fun experience for your child (and you, of course!).
Here are the 5 S’s to keep boredom away and make homeschooling a no-less-fun-than-school experience:
1. Smart scheduling – the key to keep boredom at bay, every day
While designing a daily timetable for your child, keep in mind their average concentration span. After an initial few days, you’ll be able to decode your child’s concentration patterns. Essentially, most parents with a 5 or 6-year-old homeschool for 2 hours a day. But you can always alter this to suit your child’s learning needs.
Here are some quick tips to smartly schedule daily learning sessions to keep boredom away:
- Pick only about a third of the total subjects every day. For example, instead of teaching all the subjects each day, choose only 3 of 8 subjects for each day
- Club diverse subjects together. For example, Maths+ English is usually a more interesting overall schedule than Maths + Chemistry
- Give your child enough break (at least 10-15 minutes) after each session, it helps in refreshing the mind
- Take periodic feedback from your child and change the timetable every two to three months to best suit their preferences
- Be regular about starting at a certain time in the day but don’t put a hard stop on the time devoted to a subject
- Do not overstretch the number of hours spent in studying, keep the goal real (about 3-5 hours per day)
2. Social activity planning – give them the right exposure
Homeschooling is almost synonymous with social awkwardness for some weird reason! Well, let’s debunk this myth. No, homeschooling doesn’t create recluses. It just protects children from unnecessary bullying and other mental hazards.
Here are some ways to give your child the benefits of social interactivity while homeschooling them:
- Schedule routine play hours in a nearby park where there are plenty of other children
- Make your child participate in community events, charity shows, etc. where they can sing, dance and engage in public speaking
- Organize get-togethers for parents who have children of the same age group as your child
- Attend children-parents’ workshops in your city, your child will there meet many children of their age group
- Getting private tutors to help with specific subjects can also help your child experience more social interaction
- Be your child’s best friend but let go off the control once they are in a group
3. Syllabus design and pedagogy – go creative
There is a bounty of resources today available to help you design curriculum for your homeschooling program. The internet has a list of books, there are dedicated blogs and counsellors that can help you wade through the enormous syllabus for each grade.
But what’s is important is that you keep the faff away and focus on teaching core concepts to your child. The reason why homeschooled children score better on standardized tests is that they are more used to deep diving. Spend enough time analyzing books before purchasing them. Speak to fellow parents before purchasing a hoard of books on your own.
Keep your child interested in studies by making it fun for them. Here are some simple ways:
- Take your child to planetariums, science parks, educational trips – mix learning with fun
- Use interactive videos, animations (plenty available on YouTube) for teaching
- Expose your child to quiz competitions, olympiads, etc.
- Help them relate studies to day-to-day situations. For example, show them that thunder follows lightning because light travels faster than sound!
4. Surprises and deviations from the routine – be unpredictable
Boredom kicks in only when there is predictability. Well, you don’t always have to take your child for a Star Wars movie to cure their boredom. It’s all about thinking on the feet when it comes to being unpredictable while homeschooling your child. Get the delight factor in your routine by throwing in surprises every now and then!
Here are some examples to get you thinking about simple ways to break the monotony:
- Reward your child unexpectedly (chocolate, a pizza or even a bowl of popcorn while studying can do the trick!)
- Declare surprise holidays, there is nothing more refreshing than having a day off unexpectedly
- Pair teaching a subject with your child’s favorite hobbies. For example, if your child loves painting, take a note. How about painting the periodic table in one chemistry session?
- If you see your child yawning away at a book, ask them to go flower picking. Ask them to bring back certain flowers and pebbles!
Use these cues and start surprising right away and boredom will never dare to knock at the door again!
5. Simple schemes of intermittent instruction and tests
A worksheet, a dictation, a 5-minute puzzle, etc. are some easy ways to interject tests in daily study schedules. Examinations can bog your child down but you can keep the learning interspersed with small tests. Do this and boredom will seldom kick in!
The human brain is tantalized when challenged. Keep your little one interested in studies by presenting small tests every now and then.
Here are some ways to make tests more fun and homeschooling less boring:
- Take colored printouts of worksheets for younger kids
- Put in their favorite cartoons, sports equipment, food, etc. as a printed doodle on the question paper
- Keep weekly tests objective and other periodic tests subjective – alternate between the formats
- Giving oral tests is also a good way to keep boredom at bay and encourage communication
- Use puzzles, color coding, gaming, etc. to evaluate your child’s progress on a regular basis
All of this will help you make homeschooling a rememberable and fun experience for both you and your child. The possibilities are limitless, and you can get only more creative with time.
All you need is to believe that you CAN make homeschooling as fun (if not more) as traditional schooling!
If you are contemplating homeschooling as an option for your child, Talentnook can help you find the best resources. You can now find the best tutors in your vicinity to help you homeschool your child. Talentnook brings together parents and tutors in the most efficient way.
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