Learning to Homeschool in 5 Easy Steps
By Rebecca R. Norman, associate professor of Education, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, N.Y.
Step 1: Get everything prepared.
Step 2: Tell your kids it is time for school.
Steps 3-5: Realize this isn’t easy and try to keep your sanity.
My children are in second and third grade. Before becoming a professor at Mount Saint Mary College, I taught both of those grades, multiple times. Now, I help people learn to teach those grades. I know exactly what they need to learn, and I know how to teach them. I’ve taught hundreds of students.
Homeschooling my kids should be a breeze, right? Except, none of those children were mine; they all went home at the end of the day. Now, I am in my house all day long with these children, I am still teaching my classes online (while my husband still goes to work), AND I have to help them learn. This is not easy. Hopefully nobody gets expelled from homeschool and I don’t get fired before this is over.
Read, Read, Read!
One of the most important, and easiest, ways to homeschool your children is to read, read, read! Let them pick books that interest them and that they want to read. Have them read to you, to each other, to a stuffed animal, to themselves. Also, make sure you read to them. We use Hoopla and Libby apps to download ebooks and audiobooks. Unite for Literacy (uniteforliteracy.com) has hundreds of books in different languages that your children can read or have read to them. Also, Storyline Online (www.storylineonline.net) features videos of celebrities reading picture books.
To help your children with math, have them play games to practice their math facts. One example is a version of the card game War, in which each player pulls two cards and adds or multiplies them to see who wins.
GregTangMath.com has online math games and math books you can read with your child.
Let Them Play!
Children learn through play. When they build with blocks and Legos, they are problem solving. When they play with dolls, they often act out and work through their fears. When they are given time for free play, they learn to use their imaginations and be creative. With our busy lives, children often do not have enough time to play. Use this forced break from our crazy schedules to give your children more play time.
Remember that this is not easy and you are not expected to be the perfect teacher – even if you are a certified teacher. So breathe!
Caption: Mount Saint Mary College associate professor of Education Rebecca Norman (right) with fellow Mount education professor Janine Bixler (left). (Photo by Lee Ferris).