Anyone who has homeschooled their children can tell you all about the benefits of learning at home, but what about the rest of the story? The self-doubt? The bickering? The worry that you’re not doing enough for your children? Being a homeschool teacher isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, that’s for sure. There is no magic formula for success, and there will be times that you and your students struggle. You might fear that your child isn’t progressing quickly enough. You might worry that what you’re doing isn’t working. You may even wonder if you’re really cut out for the job.
Good news! If you’re wondering how you can be a better homeschool teacher, you are already winning! By even asking yourself this question, you are demonstrating that you care deeply about your child’s education, that you are highly motivated to be the best you can be. On the journey of homeschooling, the road may get rocky, but you will never, ever give up on your child. You will make adjustments and keep trying. You are, indeed, the right person for the job! Consider this:
Who knows your child better than you?
Public and private school educators, at least the good ones, strive to get to know their students, but with so many students to be responsible for, this is a daunting task. A parent, on the other hand, starts out with this information already in hand. You know your child’s personality, interests, preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. This knowledge puts you at an advantage to craft lessons and learning activities that will appeal to your child while also challenging him or her at an appropriate level.
Who cares more about your child’s success than you?
Even the most dedicated public or private school teacher can’t hold a candle to your level of commitment to your child’s success. When you held your baby for the first time and looked into those precious eyes, you made a pledge to care for and protect this fragile being for the rest of your life. No one cares more about your child’s success than you! You don’t need to have a teaching degree or even a college degree to be an excellent homeschool teacher. When you find a lapse in your expertise, you will move heaven and earth to find resources and educate yourself to fill in the gaps. As your child grows in his or her education, you will grow along with him or her.
Below are some tips to help you along the way.
Homeschooling Tip #1
Educate yourself by reading books and blogs about homeschooling.
A quick Google search will yield hundreds of options to create your own library about homeschooling. If you’re on a budget, you can check your local library for titles of interest and search the internet for blog posts and informative videos from experienced homeschool teachers. You might feel overwhelmed by the wealth of information, but remember that you are free to adopt the strategies that are helpful and discard the rest. Aim to read a book a month or to spend a couple of hours a week to follow some of your favorite homeschool bloggers. If your time is in short supply, you can find lots of excellent resources on Youtube. Hit play, and tackle that mound of laundry. You can fold while you learn!
Homeschooling Tip #2
Find a homeschool support system.
For some, this might mean joining a homeschool co-op. For others, it might mean having a monthly mom’s evening out to socialize with other parents who homeschool. There are even online homeschool support groups and forums where homeschool teachers gather to help each other overcome challenges and to share success stories. While homeschooling comes with myriad rewards, it can also lead to feelings of isolation. Taking on the responsibility of homeschooling your children can feel overwhelming at times, but you don’t have to do it alone. Forming a community with other parents can help you to discover new resources and techniques while providing affirmation that you CAN do this.
Homeschooling Tip #3
Become an expert on your homeschool student’s special needs and/or learning styles.
Each child comes with his or her own set of unique traits and abilities. If your child has a known learning disability such as dyslexia, do all you can to educate yourself on the condition. Through reading, attending community meetings, or participating in webinars, you can learn from the best and brightest in the field. For parents of children who don’t have any known learning disabilities, there is still much to be gleaned by studying learning styles. How can you best teach math to an auditory learner? What materials are available to support a visual learner in organizing a piece of writing? By learning more about your child’s individual needs as a learner, you can hone your craft as a teacher and discover many tried-and-true strategies to experiment with in your home classroom.
Homeschooling Tip #4
Focus on your child’s progress rather than perfection.
Being a homeschool teacher is not an easy gig. It can be downright grueling and messy at times. If you aim for perfection, you will be disappointed. Instead, celebrate the successes no matter how small. Accept that struggle is part of the learning process, and embrace it. In doing so, you will find that your patience with your students and yourself will grow and that the homeschool experience will become even more rewarding.
Homeschooling Tip #5
Take your time finding the right curriculum.
Finding the right home school curriculum can be a real challenge, and you don’t want to rush the decision. Ask around your homeschool community or co-op, read reviews, and call curriculum companies with any questions that may arise. Look for a a curriculum company that offers a “try before you buy” option and that will actually answer your call or return your email if you reach out with questions. Doing your research up front will take a little extra time, but it will be well worth it.
If you’re looking for writing curriculum, you might consider Essentials in Writing. Offering curriculum to serve students from first to twelfth grade, EIW is known for its easy-to-use and effective system. Appearing in short and engaging video lessons, Mr. Stephens models each skill in a step-by-step, approachable manner. That way, students know exactly what to do as they apply each skill through worksheets and written assignments. EIW takes the burden off the homeschool teacher and leads students to college and career readiness. They even offer an optional scoring service for middle school and high school so that parents don’t have to grade the writing assignments. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, try EIW’s level wizard today.