Demystifying Homeschooling Series: Homeschooling 101
Taking your child’s education into your own hands can be a daunting prospect. Here are a few pointers to help get you moving on the path to achieving quality home education.
If you have never been exposed to home-schooling before, the decision to take your children away from ‘mainstream’ education can be intimidating. But it needn’t be. Children are constantly learning, and with the help of the internet, dynamic curricula, and well-sourced support networks, home-schooling has never been easier to implement, more affordable, or better in quality. For many people, home-school offers a more detailed and diverse education than typical school systems can offer. But once the decision to educate at home has been made, what are the next steps? Where do you go from there? Here are some tips from iCademy Middle East that can help you to set-up your home-school and get your kids on track.
UNDERSTAND YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE
Take a look at how your children learn best – and work with them to harness their potential. They could be visual processors – learning through sight – or they might favour auditory learning or indeed they could be kinesthetic (also known as tactile) processors – those who learn by doing. Perhaps think about the tasks or projects you have seen them do that have had the best outcomes – either in school or in play. Whichever type of learner your child is, just remember… you know your children better than anyone else; use that knowledge to your mutual advantage!
MAP OUT YOUR GOALS
The reasons for home-schooling are varied but the desired outcomes are consistent – giving children the best possible start in life. By being goal-oriented you can help shape how your children are learning. Give yourself some goals at the beginning of your school year and work towards them. Here are just a few examples.
- Be in control of the day
- Spend more time together
- Understand our kids better
- Become a confident teacher
- Be a better parent
- Achieve better grades than before
SET UP YOUR SPACE
The environment in which your children are learning plays a significant role in their education. Don’t be tempted to try and create a ‘typical’ learning space. It is important to remember that a home-school is not a public school that’s at home. It should be a flexible space designed around your kids and your domestic needs. Remember that as a parent and learning coach, you are 100% in control of your children’s learning environment, so set it up to best suit and reflect their personalities and learning styles.
Keep the space relatively clear and quiet. The less clutter or distractions the better. But don’t go overboard, the room should feel welcoming too. When your child enters that space, they need to be prepared to learn – so think about creating an environment which fosters a learning mindset.
There should be a good amount of natural light – your children will be spending upwards of 25 hours a week learning in this space, so make sure it’s well lit.
If you have the space, perhaps create some learning stations – one for reading, one for the computer, one for arts and crafts, and indeed a space for you as their learning coach. It will help keep your space organised, and encourage your children to manage their space carefully.
DEVISE A SCHEDULE – AND STICK TO IT
Regardless of your reasons for making home-schooling a reality for your family, be they gifted and talented or in need of more one-to-one teaching, it is very important to write up a schedule – and try your best to keep to it. Routine and repetition play a big part in developing good learning habits. Of course, one of the benefits of home-schooling is its flexibility, but if your schedule is thrown off course, try to get it back on track where possible. Your children will learn better as a result. The online K12 course that iCademy offers will help you to manage your time, but remember that you can manage your time to suit you and your children. Design a plan that works for your family.
One of the key issues that often puts potential home-schoolers off the idea is the misconception that children who are home-schooled are socially awkward due to the lack of constant exposure to kids their own age that mainstream schooling offers. This is far from the case.
Give your children the opportunity to socialise with kids after school hours in sports teams or clubs and they will develop fantastic social skills – as good as any typical school child. Indeed, it has been the experience of many university lecturers and professors that home-schoolers are typically better able to conduct themselves in a ‘professional manner’ than their public-school counterparts.
iCademy plays its part here by encouraging our entire student body – be they full-time home-schoolers, our learning centre cohort, and our iCad+ department to regularly come together for key celebrations and events. Doing this encourages our parents and our students to connect and gives a great opportunity to come together as a community.
Also, don’t be afraid to go on field-trips! Take them out to places like museums or art galleries to give them some first-hand experiences. But don’t forget that anything can become a learning experience if handled correctly – even a trip to the supermarket. Make teaching your children outside the classroom bold and dynamic and don’t forget to have fun with it.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF SELF DOUBT
When you start home-schooling, you will probably often find yourself questioning your decision- making. But that is completely normal, and will lessen over time. The K12 program we offer at iCademy Middle East is designed to help give you and your children the very best education. We are ready to support you wherever we can and our team of online teachers are prepared to help you when things get a bit confusing or your child is struggling to understand key concepts. There are support networks across the board to help you navigate the challenges of home-schooling.