11 Tips That Will Turn Anyone Into a Successful Homeschool Teacher
Blog | September 1st, 2020
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many families are opting to homeschool their children. Maybe you'd like to try your hand at homeschooling, but you can't quite get rid of the doubts whispering in your ear. “I'm not qualified to teach” or “I don't remember anything from high school” and “I wouldn't know how to do it.”
Does any of that sound familiar?
The truth is, anyone can homeschool. It doesn't require a degree, and there are countless resources available to help you along the way. So, if you're hoping to homeschool this fall but don't know where to begin, these tips should give you a good starting point.
1. Relax and Go Easy on Yourself
First of all, take a deep breath, then another. Calm your nerves. Tell yourself as often as necessary that you are capable, that you are qualified, and that you're not alone. Having an attitude of courage and confidence will inspire confidence in your children and help you through any challenging moments that may come up.
2. Be Willing to Ask For Help
No one expects you to know it all. Perhaps you know a teacher who could offer some advice. You could also reach out to any of the teachers in your local school district.
If you're not sure how to teach a particular subject, how to bring out the best in your kids, or even how to get started, just ask. You're sure to find someone in your community who has the answer and is willing to help.
3. Connect with Other Homeschoolers
A quick Google search will turn up dozens of online forums and social groups for homeschoolers. These groups provide an excellent platform for meeting other homeschool families, finding resources, and learning about local co-ops.
Another homeschooling trend that is quickly gaining popularity is the “micro-school.” This hybridized learning platform combines the structure and social interactions of conventional school with the flexibility of homeschooling.
4. Forget the Classroom
There's no need to try and mimic the traditional public school environment in your home. Every child learns differently. While some may thrive under highly-structured, curriculum-based methods, others may benefit from a more non-conventional, unschooled approach. Your most important job is finding what works best for each child.
5. Know the Local Requirements
Many states have laws that relate to homeschooling. These laws detail the requirements regarding subject matter, hours, and documentation. Be sure to have a general understanding of your state's laws before you begin homeschooling. You can find a list of homeschooling laws by state here.
6. Gather Resources
Do some research on the different kinds of homeschool curriculum available. In addition to standard curriculums, there are lots of supplemental homeschooling resources you can find online. Khan Academy, Newsela, and History.com are three such resources. YouTube is a great resource for visual learners. Also, never underestimate the value of your local library.
It's okay to try different resources until you find the ones that work best. It's important to tailor your child's education to their specific needs.
7. Create a Daily Schedule
Children need consistency. If they are in the habit of doing schoolwork at a certain time each day, they'll be more receptive to what you're teaching them. It's okay to be flexible in your scheduling—plans change sometimes, and children need to learn that as well. But having a schedule is a great way to create an environment conducive to learning.
8. Have a Designated School Space
Similarly, having a designated room or area where the child does most of his schoolwork can also encourage learning. Select a spot that is relatively quiet and free of distractions. Whether it be the dining room table, a desk in the bedroom, or an enclosed porch, children will begin to identify this area as their “school space.” This will teach their brains to focus on the tasks at hand.
9. Encourage the Child's Interests
If your child wants to explore nature, take him for a nature walk. If she loves the weather, have her do experiments that teach different aspects of meteorology. Teach children to use books and online resources to learn about whatever they want to. Show interest in what they are interested in and allow their natural curiosity to take them as far as it can.
10. Encourage your Children to Share their Feelings and Opinions
Getting feedback from your kids is crucial to discovering what approaches work best for them. Ask each child how they feel about the assignments you give them, the co-ops they participate in, the subjects they would most like to learn.
Ask them what they wish was different about their homeschool experience. Talk with them on a regular basis. Anything you can learn from these conversations will help you better identify what is and is not working for each individual child.
11. Take Joy in the Journey!
Homeschooling is a challenge, and there will be times when you feel like you aren't good enough. You will make mistakes—that's just part of the journey. Give yourself some grace. Learn from your mistakes, and remember that each day is a chance to begin again. You are not a failure. Look for the successes amid the struggles. Celebrate each child's unique strengths and personality.
Don't be afraid to try different methods. The important thing is not how your children learn, but thatthey learn. Remember, learning should be fun! And as you teach your children, don't be surprised if you learn a thing or two in the process.