For the most part, homeschooling parents are left on their own when it comes to educating their kids. And while, we all appreciate that, there is not enough support in terms of teaching parents how to go about teaching their kids. The job seems easy during primary years, but as middle school age comes along, most parents that I know struggle with homeschooling or decide to send their kids back to traditional classroom. In Florida middle school age is especially hard due to lack of affordable options that are any good. So here we are. As most well meaning parents, the search for the homeschooling information usually starts with the online search.
Unfortunately, this brings a sea of useless information and proclaimed know-it-alls to the surface. Equipped with the colorful planners and kitschy lesson plan outlines, I don’t need more than a second to realize that they have no idea what they are talking about. No one needs a desk filled with binders and colorful post-its to do homeschooling properly. Parents need quality curriculum and guidance on effective instructional practices. The fact that effective instructional practices aren’t implemented in traditional schools doesn’t mean that they are not proven by research and practice.
So, here are some quick tips:
1st – Please don’t listen to the self proclaimed homeschooling guru. Writing lesson plans year ahead and having a controlling instructional schedule is counterproductive.
Some lessons will take more time. Be flexible.
2nd– Learning is dynamic. As a teacher, a mother of a homeschooler, and a Curriculum Writer, I know that teachers and parents everywhere have to adjust their lesson planning on daily basis due to time that it takes to teach a lesson and students’ learning styles. What works in one lesson does not work in another. Most of the time, the variation of background knowledge that you have to build up the lesson to plays a major part.
3rd – Planning a whole year ahead takes away from learning inquiry. As you go through the curriculum you, will find that there are gaps in student’s knowledge that you will need to address by teaching and/or reteaching the material.
Learning is dynamic, and so is teaching.
4th – More often than not, during your teaching, you will realize that you need to rewrite the lesson because there is a better way to present the material to your student.
5th – Teachers get better through teaching. If any of us, teachers or teacher-parents are to become better at what we do, we have to be able to analyze what works and what doesn’t work, what we are good at explaining and what we need to work on.
6th -Some lessons and units will take longer. Don’t be scared of slowing down. It will save time in the long run. Plus, the lessons/units that your child will breeze through are just around the corner.
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Lena, M.Ed. – Curriculum & Instruction