It used to be that homeschool was for those “other families.” You know what I am talking about right? It was for those weirdly religious families that may or may not be missing front teeth, live in the way back woods of nowhere, and love to show off their matching handmade clothing creations.
Now, more families than ever, are schooling at home for various reasons. You may have even found yourself in that very boat right this very minute. It can be a bit daunting, can’t it? You may even be asking yourself, “how do I homeschool when I am not a teacher?” We have a few tips to get you started…
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Learning is literally everywhere
Young children know one simple secret. They know that learning is everywhere. If fact, this is why I absolutely love the terrible two’s. Although they find themselves in all sorts of trouble, the learning that happens at this age is immeasurable. As adults, we sort of lose this idea that everything is learning, and tend to only see the possible injuries and threats that await our precious youngsters.
We forget just how much we actually know and take for granted that we know. If we take a step back for a minute, we will realize that we have a lot more to teach our children than we might think. Let’s face it! We didn’t learn half of the things we need to know as adults in a classroom. If we sit down and think about all of the life skills that our children will need, we will find enough material to keep our kids learning for the foreseeable future.
You don’t need calculus to be a successful adult
One of the best t-shirts I have ever seen says, “Well, another day has passed, and I didn’t use algebra once!” Sorry math teachers, but unless you are in a specialized field, nothing past basic math is really needed to be a successful adult. If fact, most of the things that are taught within a classroom are not essential to adulthood. Now, of course it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t provide these learning experiences to our children. It does mean that we should make sure that our children also learn good quality life skills.
And, do you know what? You probably have all the skills necessary to teach your child life skills. Do you make healthy meals? Teach your child how you do that. Do you know how to change a tire or check the oil in your car? Your child needs to know that too! If you need a little inspiration you can check out our printable list of necessary life skills below. And, if you are looking for some incredible resources to teach everything else, I encourage you to check out our homeschool product reviews.
Unit studies make homeschool much easier
Are you constantly picking up Legos around the house? Is your child obsessed with the latest YouTube video? Use these interests to build your child’s learning. Take for instance Legos. There is math, engineering and of course creativity. If you include the history of Legos, you just added an entire subject to the fun!
Have your child create a stopmotion video to upload and share on YouTube, and your child has learned a little bit about video production. In this fun activity there is script writing (language arts), and calculating frames per second (math). If you have your child create a movie surrounding a historical event, you have just added a little social studies as well.
Most likely, if you let your child explore his or her areas of interest, you can quite easily match that learning to the benchmarks set by the state. Don’t know where to find those benchmarks? I didn’t either until I found corestandards.org. Here I learned that one of my son’s learning benchmarks is “listening and speaking.” This simply boils down to him talking one-on-one or in a group setting (could be family dinner) about what he has learned. Seem like something you can handle? I think so!
Learn to document everything
The most important part of schooling at home is documentation. Now that you know just how much learning you can actually do at home, you need to begin capturing that learning as evidence. There are many states that do not require any documentation at all. But, there are just as many states that require as much documentation as you can provide.
Take pictures, save artwork, and document conversations. At the end of your day, make a habit out of collecting anything and everything that can help demonstrate the learning that is happening in your home. We like to use Google Docs to capture everything. This way sharing the learning can be as simple as sharing a document. Some people create a learning scrapbook that looks more like a keepsake than a collection of significant documents. It really is up to you as to how you make it happen. The important thing is that you do.