More and more parents are making a bold move to homeschool instead of sending their kids to physical schools. Aside from the protection from the virus, homeschooling allows parents to save costs, spend quality time with their children, and monitor their kids’ learning. However, there are a couple of mistakes associated with educating your children at home.
Planning to homeschool your child? To ensure a stress-free session, here are 7 common mistakes you may want to avoid.
1. Over-scheduling / under-scheduling
So you’ve signed them up for piano lessons, sports and workouts, and art hours. However, they also need occasional TV and game times, and of course, a blank space for rest and other feel-good activities that are outside of the schedule. Trying to fit every day into one day can burn you and your children out quickly.
Don’t overschedule. While extra-curricular activities are fine, limit yourself to one or two activities at a time. Make schooling a priority and let go of other side activities that are time and energy-consuming.
Don’t under-schedule either. Kids need to enjoy a life outside of homeschooling. Make sure they’re doing fun activities and lessons they’re passionate about.
2. Not considering online tutoring as an option
Don’t want to send your child to school to prevent catching COVID-19 but worried that your child might not get the right education they need? Online tutoring lies in the middle of these two. Here, your kid will have individualized, one-on-one attention by a professional tutor without having to interact with them physically.
Tutoring also helps build important learning skills, enhance subject comprehension, and boost confidence.If your child is struggling with Math, for instance, you can work with specialized online maths tutors who will try to teach complex concepts based on your child’s unique learning style.
3. Setting unrealistic expectations
From comparing your child to your neighbor’s to cramming a year of world history into two quarters, there are a lot of unrealistic expectations you can fall into. Setting unrealistic standards will have you and your child burned out and struggling.
Make sure you know your child well and tailor the curriculum plan according to their abilities, learning style, strengths, weaknesses, and passions. You can seek the help of a licensed teacher or tutor to help identify your child’s unique abilities and design a realistic learning plan.
4. Stressing over curriculum packages
A curriculum is vital in the traditional classroom setting since teachers need pre-determined blocks of information each day to 20-40 students. However, it’s not that necessary at home.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying an entire curriculum package when you’re a newbie to homeschooling. The problem is, you tend to feel pressured to complete the suggested activities for all the subjects each day. You’re also worried that you and your kid will be left behind.
Don’t rely on expensive curriculum packages. Instead of being by-the-book, put more attention to how your child learns best. Allow some flexibility and be open to all learning styles. It’s also recommended to recognize the methods that might not be right for your child and address them immediately. You can incorporate educational games into your lecture too to keep things fun and engaging.
5. Keeping the study area disorganized and all over the place
Begin to accept the fact that your home won’t look like those celebrity homes in magazines. It will be filled with books, worksheets, writing pads, pens, charts, and other study materials. Just organize them the best way you can and designate a study area where all the school-related activities take place.
Avoid studying in the living room today, then the dining room tomorrow, then the bedroom the day after that. Designate one study area — a place where you can associate with nothing but schoolwork. Creating a single, organized study environment helps your child focus and absorb information well.
6. Skipping breaks to shorten the day
Homeschooling can be tedious. While seeing your children’s academic progress as something rewarding, it’s tempting to just rush things to get the session done earlier, even if that means skipping break times. You and your kid need fuel from food and rest to keep it going.
Schedule regular breaks and make sure you spend one break enjoying your kids. It’s better to spend a longer yet relaxed day than have a stress-filled short day.
7. Sticking to schedules that are NOT conducive to learning
Scheduling your homeschooling session until 10 PM, when you and your child are both exhausted, is a recipe for disaster. Your little one won’t be able to pick up the lessons, and the stress will make you extra cranky.
Forget your “army type” schedule, keeping things on a minute-by-minute plan. Instead, provide a little flexibility.
Determine when your child is most alert and energized. You can also empower them by encouraging them to create their own schedule.