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Friday, December 14, 2007

Beating The Challenges While Homeschooling Your Child

Homeschooling has so many benefits such as:
tailoring your child’s schooling to his interests, thus making it more meaningful for them to learn,....


closer family relationships,
having your child learn more of your families values vs. their teachers and friends,
finally knowing just what my children have for “homework” and knowing they got it done,
never losing the teacher’s notes,
letting your child learn at their own pace and readiness,
you can start on your own time schedule,
don’t have to rush the kids out the door, or fight the bad weather getting to school and back each day,
we can take vacations or days off whenever it fits our families schedule best,
having one on one time with teacher when needed, etc.

Although there are other benefits too, there are also unique challenges that come with it.
Somethings that need to be overcome are motivating your child to get good grades in the classes that they are not too interested in, but that they really need to take anyway. There are not other friends(besides siblings)that are watching them to see how well they do, not much competition. So, you need to help them along in other ways. To accomplish this we give the kids special bucks that I made out of cardstock paper when they get an A+ they earn a buck. These bucks are saved up to “buy” something they like. It can be anything from a favorite toy to a day off from chores, you have to be creative to keep them going. I would love to say that my kids just want good grades to better themselves but they are just kids and that is not always the case. Sometimes they earn bucks for answering questions about the days lessons.
We occasionally use a timer to help us get the work done when the sillys seem to have set in. It helps them to get their focus back on their work and off what their sibling is up to.
Another thing to overcome is the urge to compare your kids with how other kids are doing. Each child learns at their own rate and in their own way,and it is especially tempting at times to want your kids to do better or at least as good as other kids because you are the one who is teaching them and it feels like it all reflects on you. But,that is not necessarily true as it is also the child and how much they care to learn or are able to. I don’t really obcess over this as I believe God is helping them to pick up just what they will need in life.
Sometimes we will come to a subject area that I am not particulary good in and then I either call on my husband to help out or go to my superviser who has ideas for me to try, perhaps a different curriculum or advise that she has tried with her own children. She is always understanding and a good resource. If both of these fail we always have the option of enrolling our children into a public school for those subjects.
Having a toddler in the house makes things a little harder to accomplish but sometimes I call on the older ones to help the younger out and it reinforces the work in the older child’s mind as they help the younger one on what ever they are studying. They are even called on occasionally to help with the youngest as I get housework done because it seems it never ends as we are home all day to mess it up. It is good to have this time though with my children even if it means a less clean house than the neighbors. This might sound selfish to some that I want to be home with my kids all day but they do get out and see their friends too, we have some classes available for them together with other homeschooled kids, they have field trips they can attend, and a whole homeschool network that we can acccess as we like. We have "fun" days too, and the best part is that the kids really like to be homeschooled!




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