5 Keys to Homeschooling Success in Our Home

Today I'm sharing five key ideas that keep this homeschooling lifestyle working for us. As usual with posts like this, my purpose is both to share suggestions others might find useful as well as to remind myself to take my own advice. {Because I need to be prompted often.}

Emphasize exposure over mastery

Especially in the younger grades we learn about things for fun, not recall. We read lots of books because they are interesting. We take field trips and visit places because it's exciting and we like to travel. We do science experiments and watch history documentaries because they are cool. I don't expect them to remember everything or to be able to spit facts back at me. Of course, we will likely transition to more formal evaluation when they are older, but for now begin able to give "correct" answers is not something we stress.

{I should probably clarify here that I'm talking about science, history, geography, etc. not math and language arts. There I do expect some level of mastery before we move on to new topics.}

Embrace the philosophy of less is more

We quickly realized more time does not (necessarily) equal more learning. I think one of the biggest misconceptions folks have about homeschooling is thinking it must take over your entire day. {Spoiler: It doesn't.} When you work one-on-one with your own child, it takes surprisingly little time to keep him/her on "grade level." We can cover the basics in a fraction of the time they would spend in the classroom. This leaves tremendous amounts of free time for the Agents to explore interests on their own or simply play and, you know, be kids.

Focus subjects with spine books

While we still aren't interested in following a full, preplanned curriculum, we do need some structure in our learning. Choosing one or two main texts to follow along with for the year is something "new" we intend to try going forward. (We've done a little this year, but did not plan out the whole year that way.) As an example, we will be using this book as a spine (basic starting point and timeline) for our world history studies next year. We will investigate a page or two each week and supplement with additional reading/writing/discussing.

Balance structured and independent time

We are not huge Schedule People, but we do need a bit of a routine to keep us sane. When it comes to homeschooling, it helps to have a set time each day when we focus on more formal work (usually involving math and language arts). So, we've started doing our "sit down" work at about the same time each day. For independent reading and other study where I don't need to be Right There, the Agents are free to complete work at their leisure.

Incorporate advanced planning

This one is all on Momma. I've expressed before how when it comes to keeping things chugging along around here, it all starts with me. As much as we love the interest-led approach to homeschooling, we aren't willing or able to go full-on unschooling, and so that means someone (me) needs to keep our studies on track. This means I need to regularly carve out time to write down ideas, find resources, and develop an agenda we can (at least loosely) follow.

No comments:

Post a Comment