Monday, July 30, 2012

Four Essential Tips to Prevent Homeschooling Burnout

Homeschooling can have plenty of advantages. It enables parents to be more involved in their children's education and thus direct their learning. Nevertheless, homeschooling kids can pose major challenges to moms. Since moms are often the ones in charge of the children's education and other household responsibilities, such an endeavor requires more time and attention to multiple tasks.
Oftentimes, mothers experience homeschooling burnout. This is a typical reaction of many homeschooling moms because most of them have difficulty coping with the adjustments that must be made when they enroll their children in a homeschooling program. Still, there are ways in which homeschooling burnout and mother overload can be avoided. Here are a few tips that moms can follow:
Learn to Prioritize
Mothers are tasked to be the ones in charge of the household and the well-being of the children. Having kids homeschooled means additional responsibility. With multiple tasks like these, it is necessary for moms to learn how to prioritize. Determine situations that need the most immediate attention. Remember that chores can always wait and the point of homeschooling is that studies can be scheduled during varied times of the day depending on your preference. Unexpected events that can ruin daily schedules may need more attention and importance. Flexibility can be a trait that can surely help mothers from getting stressed out. It is also essential to know that learning for children does not only depend on books. Situations that may arise like caring for a sick relative or going to the grocery can provide meaningful learning. Occasions like the ones mentioned is where children learn values that they can carry throughout life and getting them to understand them is also necessary more than hitting the textbooks.
Organize Schedules
Another effective way of avoiding homeschooling burnout is planning. Organizing daily or weekly schedules so that proper attention can be given to each activity will help. More than this try to stick to the planned schedule if there are no emergencies that needs to be given priority. Effective time management is always the key. Have a time for rest and relaxation as well. Every mother deserves to have a time for herself. Getting the right amount of rest will aid in having replenished strength to do chores and responsibilities.
Be Innovative In Teaching
In many cases, homeschooling moms would always dedicate learning time to hitting the books and lecturing as a teaching style. As the ones in charge of their children's learning, mothers have the option to choose various teaching styles that will prevent the kids from getting bored and themselves from acquiring homeschooling burnout. An option would be to take the children outside or have them do a project. There are a wide array of choices. It is also essential to keep in mind not to overcrowd various activities in a single lesson. Lowering your expectations and selecting one or two ideal activities for every lesson is recommended.
Seek Support
There will be times that the bulk of work for moms can be overwhelming. In such events, mothers can avoid homeschooling burnout by getting the help of dads in teaching their children. Fathers have an equal responsibility for the kids' education and can contribute greatly to their learning. Other than this, moms can seek support from other homeschooling moms for tips and joint learning sessions for their children.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Strategies for Homeschooling Gifted Children

Homeschooling high school can be challenging enough to undertake with normal high school kids, but throw in a student who is significantly advanced or gifted, and some parents might be tempted to call it quits! How can you keep up with a kid who's studying statistics, anatomy and physiology, and Greek, and asking for more?! Both my sons were gifted, so I know how difficult this can be. Fortunately, there are some practical things you can do to make the process easier and more manageable.
The first strategy that I find useful is called acceleration, which means that you allow your children to work faster. This strategy requires you to let go of the whole parent-teach-the-student model, because your job is not just to teach your children; your job is to help your children learn how to teach themselves. Fortunately, there will be times when you realize your child already knows a subject, perhaps because they have learned it by osmosis, so you can spend less time on that subject.
At high school level, it's important to remember that when your child finishes a standard curriculum, you can give them high school credit for it. You don't have to make them sit in front of you, as the teacher, for 150 hours before you give them credit for a course. As soon as they're done with a curriculum and know the material, go ahead and give them the high school credit. There's no rule that requires them to spend 150 hours studying something in order to earn a credit.
You can also skip unnecessary activities in a curriculum. If your child doesn't need the activities in order to learn the information, it's okay to skip those, as long as they're learning. It's also okay to administer a pretest for a subject, and simply skip the information they already know, or you can work fast through a curriculum and find out what they know first, and then move ahead.
When you don't use acceleration, and you work at the usual standard pace that children are used to, it can induce boredom. When people tell me they're struggling with a lack of motivation in their teenagers, or their kids hate school or they're bored, often it's because their student is moving at too slow a pace.
Make sure to assess your child's level first, and begin a curriculum at the point where they will actually learn new information. In this way, you allow them to learn at their own level, and remove those artificial barriers to how much they're allowed to learn. The result will be a student who's more interested in what they're learning, and more motivated to pursue their studies.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beginning the Journey of Homeschooling High School!

Homeschooling high school--are you nervous or excited? Or a little bit of both?! High school is a rewarding time to be homeschooling, as your children mature and grow and engage you in more complicated conversations. Along with the fun, though, are some important things you should be thinking about as you enter these high school years, and now is the time to start work!
Your child's freshman year is the time to begin learning about high school testing. One of the reasons it is so important to start thinking about this during freshman year is that some tests are best administered to a child immediately after they finish a class. For instance, if they're taking chemistry and you decide you want them to take an AP test in chemistry, they should take the test when they've learned the content.
You also need to decide whether your child should take an SAT, AP, or CLEP subject test. Some colleges only accept certain tests, so it's important to find out which ones will be accepted by the colleges your child will most likely be going to.
And don't forget to register for those tests so they can actually take them, because all of the research in the world isn't going to help you if you don't actually register for the test! To register, all you have to do is call your local public or private high school and say, "I'm a homeschool parent, and would like to know if my homeschooled child can take the SAT or the AP subject test at your high school, and how do I register for that"?
The next thing you want to do during your child's freshman year, if you're feeling pretty confident in where you are, is to think about colleges for a minute. It doesn't hurt to begin looking at colleges with your teenager now. You could identify a primary list of colleges that you might consider. If you've always thought, "probably these four are the ones that we're going to apply to," or "my child has always mentioned an interest in going to Harvard" or something, then you should begin to look at those colleges.
If you do have some colleges in mind, it's a good idea to look into their application requirements now, because if the college your child wants to attend is that one college in a million that requires four years of foreign language or something, you want to know that earlier on in Freshman year. You could also consider a college visit in the spring. Most college visits are done during the spring of Junior year; but it's perfectly fine for you to take your children for college visits in Freshman year or even earlier.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Understanding the Homeschooling Laws and Legalities in Your State

Understanding the homeschooling laws and legalities in your state will prove to be a little confusing at first since no state is the same on how they treat homeschooling in terms of legitimacy.
In historical accounts, the right to teach your own children in the privacy of your home has long been debated in the United States. Several lawmakers, advocates, educators and parents; both pros and antis, have widely deliberated this issue ever since the onset of the compulsory education in Massachusetts on 1852.
Nowadays, the focal point of the homeschool discussion has already shifted from the question of its legality to the issues of less significant stature, such as the access to a state's school funds, facilities, and other resources; the control for quality; college admissions; and standardized testing among others.
As mentioned, understanding the homeschooling law and legalities in your state may seem to be complicated but with enough research and patience, you will begin to comprehend the stand of your state in regards to homeschooling.
First, it must be said that homeschool is legal in all 50 states of the United States. In connection to the ruling handed by the US Supreme Court, it stated that the Amish have the right to keep their children out of public schools because of their religious beliefs. It was also stated that the parents have the fundamental right to educate their children in a way that is acceptable to their religious faith; as long as these teachings will not contradict any laws or it will not disrespect the fundamental rights of any person.
With this ruling, it was already implied that the right to educate their children in the privacy of their homes is their fundamental right as a parent.
After this, many other court rulings in favor of the parents' wish to educate their children in home school were handed
Now every state has their own judgment in regards to this issue and each of these states have created laws and regulations to somehow manage this so ruled fundamental right. Understanding homeschool laws and legalities in your state can actually be summarized into three categories:
a. Regulations and homeschool laws in other states are based on their treatment of such as a private school. Examples of these states are California, Texas, and Indiana. In these places, homeschool laws are the same as those laws that govern the other non-accredited schools.
b. Another category, the laws are based on the unique ruling of the state in regards to the state's compulsory attendance with a specific mention to "homeschool" requirements. States that have this treatment are New Jersey and Maryland among others
c. Last category, other states like New Hampshire, Maine, and Iowa have a specific ruling for homeschooling. These states often have different terms applied for homeschool like "home instruction" in Virginia; "alternative instruction" in South Dakota; and "competent private instruction" in Iowa.
It is known that apart from these categories, all the 50 states have a different way of treating homeschool and its students. Some may require less than the others and some have very stringent qualifications in order to be considered as a passable home school attendee.
These are generalized state laws that tackle private education. Try to find your specific state law regarding homeschooling in order to maximize the benefits that you can get from the state; not to mention the requirements being asked by your state from you.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Recommended Homeschooling Methods for Parents

Although homeschooling children is proven to be an effective alternative for regular schooling, many parents who want to enroll their children in the said program often does not have a clue on how to go about in directing learning. While it is true that many homeschooling programs provide detailed instructions for parents in order to facilitate lesson discussions effectively, it often ties learners to the task of hitting the books and sitting for hours listening to lectures. There are a variety of teaching styles that parents can use in order to make learning for their children interactive and enjoyable. A number of homeschooling methods which can help parents in making subjects interesting are presented below.
Blended Learning
Blended learning is a homeschooling method that pertains to the use of online instruction with the combination of direct instruction. With numerous online homeschooling programs available today, it is a way in which parents can seek support in teaching certain subject areas and acquire resources. Children can take online subjects and traditional homeschooling programs that are parent-facilitated in order for them to experience a variety of activities. Blended learning also fosters independent learning and the opportunity to interact with the facilitator during traditional discussions.
Authentic Learning
One of the best learning opportunities that parents can provide their children is having them experience concepts in real-life situations. Homeschooling moms are at the best position to do this since they are the ones directly involved with household activities. Relate specific concepts being learned with everyday situations and explain the phenomenon. More than that, get children involved with these activities. An option would be to take the kids outside of the house so they can observe and see these concepts. Incorporate lessons with a trip to the park or at the zoo and you will surely have a fun learning and bonding experience with the kids.
Problem-based Learning
Spark the interest of the kids by using problem-based learning as a homeschooling method. In this method, children has to resolve a problem based on a given situation wherein they need to have a full knowledge of concepts in order to come up with a solution. Although difficult to prepare and may require more time, developing such instructional material will surely be worth it as it develops logical and higher order thinking skills. Further, some homeschooling programs may provide these types of activities along with the lessons which parents can readily use.
Instructional Materials
Prevent children from getting bored while on a lesson discussion by creating visual materials that will support teaching. These materials need not to be large and expensive since this is not a classroom instruction. Books with colorful pictures, PowerPoint presentations and videos will help in getting the kids to be more engaged in the learning process.
Further, there are a variety of teaching styles that will work effectively as a homeschooling method. One can determine these methods through extensive research. The internet has a lot of sites dedicated to making teaching and learning more meaningful. It even has sites that provides ready-made worksheets and activities. Using these resources can aid any parent in making their teaching more fun and interesting.