New to Homeschooling :-)
by Paula Cleary
Welcome to the wonderful world of homeschooling.
I have ten main bits of advice for those new to homeschooling :
1) Meet as many homeschoolers as you can and bombard them with questions! They won't mind a bit, because at some point, we each probably had the same questions too. Conversations with others will clarify and refine how you want to home educate.
2) Read and read and read. Every book, journal, article you can get your hands on regarding educational theory, research into how children learn etc...and especially on home education. Personally I love reading John Holt and John Taylor Gatto. I am reading ''Free Range Education' at the moment by Terry Dowty - it's a really great read and great if you're starting out too.
3) You will soon start to see your role as more of a facilitating one - rather than your child's one and only teacher (daunting!). Learning should be an adventure, not a race, and your child doesn't need a head full of facts and figures at the expense of everything else. Let them find their interests and passions and use that as your springboard. Children's learning will be optimal if they are interested in what they're doing. Go out and about as much as you can without being completely worn out, and learn by doing and being in the real world as much as possible.
4) Follow your own passions and interests too - you might be their teacher but that doesn't mean you can't do things for yourself too. When you are new to homeschooling, you often forget to look to yourself. If the children see you as an explorer and a learner too they will be inspired and motivated by your example.
5) Respect the differences between your children and reassess your approach on a regular basis. What works for one child might not work for another. Equally what worked last month might not this month. Changing tack to adapt to your child's changing needs (or yours!) is no bad thing.
6) Don't worry about being perfect - school isn't either!!!
7) Use the whole world as your classroom and recognize that the world is full of teachers of the informal kind. An afternoon baking bread with granny or gardening with an elderly neighbor are no less educational or useful than sitting in a classroom. They may be even more so!!!
8) Keep things light, enjoy life and stop worrying if the children are learning enough. You'll soon see how efficiently they learn without all the school bells and time-wasting that occurs in school because children are forced to spend so much time learning stuff they're not interested in at that moment in time.
9) If it really doesn't work out - put it down to experience and console yourself that the children needed it for that time, but now they can go back to school a little wiser and rested.
10) Ask your kids how they feel on a daily basis. Accept that some days will be good, some will be bad, some will be outstanding, some will be terrible!!!! That's life!!!! :-)
If you are new to homeschooling, I hope you find my advice useful - and wish you all the best on your homeschool adventure!
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