Category Archives: Home Schooling
Although homeschooling is a great option for some families, and it has certainly been the best choice for us, for other families it would be the wrong decision. It is important to make the right choice by researching homeschooling thoroughly, weighing up the pros and cons and speaking to other families who have experience of homeschooling. By doing this you can make an informed decision based on your family’s circumstances and needs.
Not every child will benefit from homeschooling. The ones who do are generally gifted children who excel in a number of subjects. If this is not the case with your child, then perhaps mainstream is a better option for you. It is important to be realistic about your child’s abilities and take into consideration their personality traits too.
Time is another big consideration when deciding whether homeschooling is for you. It needs at least one parent to devote all their time to their children’s education. It is not just about being there while the children are studying, it is also about spending time planning lessons, gathering resources and researching topics. You are with your children 24 hours a day and while most of the time this is great, there are times when you may feel that you need your own space occasionally. If you are unwilling or unable to give all of your time, then homeschooling is not an option.
Similarly, homeschooling is a lot of hard work. A homeschooling parent has to put effort into teaching their children and all of the other activities that are associated with this. You can’t just take a day off when you feel like it, you have to completely devote yourself to giving your child the best education possible. Parents who do not want to work hard should not even consider homeschooling as an option.
Money is another concern that affects whether a family can home school their children or not. Homeschooling is likely to mean that one parent will not work outside the home or will only work part-time hours around schooling their children. This can have financial implications. If you cannot afford to live on one salary then homeschooling might not be the best choice for your family.
There are downsides to homeschooling that you should also think about when making the decision. It can be very stressful, time-consuming and hard work. Practical lessons are tricky as most houses are not as equipped at school. Your children will miss out on the social aspects of school so they will need to do other activities outside of school time to mix with other children. If you do not think you can overcome the negative aspects of homeschooling, then it is better to look at alternatives.
Be honest with yourself about whether any of these points is going to be an issue for you. Speaking from experience, I know that homeschooling is not a decision to be taken lightly and needs full commitment. Many of the downsides can be overcome, but some just have to be faced head on. If you cannot face the challenges or overcome the difficulties, then it is perhaps better to consider alternative options.
One of the most important aspects of successful homeschooling, in my opinion, is supporting your child reach their full potential. This may mean complete academic achievement or supporting them in the areas they are especially able and talented.
Understanding the level that your children are at is important in achieving this. It gives you are starting point to work from. It will help you to identify each of their strengths and weaknesses and help you to create a plan to move forward.
Setting targets to work towards is a great way to help your children. It motivates them and gives them an aim. The targets should be achievable, or else they will become demotivated and feel a sense of failure. However, gifted children need to be challenged and the targets and work should be set bearing this in mind. One of the problems for gifted children in mainstream school is that they are not challenged enough in their work as they are working at the pace of others. Teachers find it hard to accommodate the differing needs of children with a wide range of abilities. In my experience, and that of other mothers who home school that I know, unchallenged gifted children can act out.
Another tip for helping your children to do the best that they can is to monitor their progress carefully. If you notice that they are not progressing as you would like or expect in some subjects then look at the reasons why. Think about the activities and methods you have used. Do these work? Is your child finding learning fun? If not, then it is possible that you need to think of some more creative ways for your child to learn.
Learning from the experiences of others can also help. Spend some time looking for different ideas and viewpoints about homeschooling on the Internet. Research different ways of doing things. If you know other parents who home school, having some informal chats with them is a great way to exchange ideas and experiences. Of course, what works for one family does not always work for another. I like Homeschool.com’s resources and community – its a great place for moms to meet, talk and share resources.
Finally, potential is about so much more than academic success and focusing on specific talents. Socializing is also an important part of a child’s development. One of the disadvantages of homeschooling is that you children do not mix with other children to the same extent as children in mainstream schools do. Therefore, it is important that you ensure your children have the opportunity to mix with other children, find hobbies they enjoy and get new experiences.
One of the potential parenting mistakes that any parent, not just those who home school can make, is to push children too hard. There is definitely a fine line between encouraging their talents and becoming a pushy mom, pushing them down one route because it is what you, not they, want.
All three of my children are gifted and each has different areas of talents. I try to make sure that I encourage them so that they can achieve their full potential but also that they are still having fun pursuing these talents. Similarly, there are areas I am talented in, particularly math, music and art. As a parent it can be tempting to encourage your children towards the subjects you enjoy and are talented in and enjoy. In some respects you could say that this is living your dreams through your children. I think this is a mistake.
I believe that one of the best ways of making sure that you are not pushing your children too hard is to keep open the lines of communication. Talk to your children about the things they enjoy and are passionate about, things they don’t enjoy and what their hopes, dreams and ambitions are for the future. If they have stopped enjoying something they are talented at it is important you know about it. This does not necessarily mean that they have to give up on these subjects; rather that you can look at different ways of them learning or taking a break from the current schedule with that particular topic.
Breaks and free time are important too. In a mainstream school, a child has breaks throughout the day. I think that as a homeschooling mother I also allow my children to have breaks in the learning day. Free time in the evenings and weekends are important too. A talented home-schooled child often has a tough schedule. Not only do they have their regular daytime lessons that are full of challenging activities to help them achieve their full potential, it is often the case that they have many extracurricular activities too, such as swimming clubs and music lessons. A few nights off planned activities can help them to relax and feel less pressured. This in turn will benefit their education and keep them motivated.
There are some signs that you should look out for that gives you a warning that your children are being pushed to hard. If they are fatigued, restless, unfocused, irritable or lacking in motivation, then it is possible that your child is showing signs of being pushed too hard.
A child who is pushed too hard may reach mental and physical burn out. Not only will this affect their learning, it can also potentially have detrimental effects on their health. From experience I know how hard it is to balance supporting your child to achieve their full potential and not pushing them too hard. However, I do think that if you follow the tips I have suggested that this balance is achievable.
I have always recognized that my children are talented. I know that all moms think that, but I knew this to be the case. Each of my three children had areas that they excelled in. It was this that made me consider homeschooling them. Deciding to teach your children at home is a big decision and there are a lot of things to consider. It certainly isn’t the best option for everybody. A child’s education is the foundation for their future and my decision would seriously impact on this. It would also impact on our daily lives and my career if I opted to teach my children. After a lot of thought, we decided that homeschooling was the better option for our family. However, as with most things in life, there are both pros and cons to my decision.
One of the major benefits of homeschooling my children is that I can focus on each of their strengths and weaknesses. Michael, 19, is at college now. However I truly believe that I have given him the foundations for success in the future as he got through with a scholarship. Jeremy, 16, and Grace, 11, are equally talented and I can nurture these talents in their lessons.
If they attended a mainstream school, then they would be on a set timetable, regardless of their learning needs. Also, they would be working at a pace and level for the average in their class. Homeschooling has allowed me to personalize their learning experience. I spend less time on the topics that they quickly grasp and more on any areas they find more difficult. My children have different learning styles and I adapt teaching methods and resources to suit the ways they learn best.
Of course, there are down sides to homeschooling. One of the major disadvantages is that I worry they are missing out on the social aspect of school. However, they do mix with other young people who live locally and all do extra-curricular activities.
I am talented in math, art and music so I feel confident in teaching my children these subjects, but other topics I have to research first to make sure I am passing on the right information to the children. Sometimes we research topics together as part of lessons and this is fun. Practical lessons are sometimes more tricky than they would be in a classroom, we don’t have a fully equipped science lab for a start. This means I have to be creative in my teaching methods.
The other disadvantage is that I am solely responsible for my children’s education and this is sometimes stressful. If they were to fail, then it is all down to me. I meet with other homeschooling moms and they all feel the pressure of this too. I am also a member of some online forums like home-school.com where I can chat with other homeschool moms from around the world. We offer each other support and encouragement and well know that we have made the right decision for our families.
Overall, I felt that the advantages of homeschooling outweighed the disadvantages for your family and this was the best decision for us.
Homeschooling is when parents decide that they will teach their children at home rather than in a traditional classroom environment. Families all have different reasons for making this decision, but generally it is because parents feel their child’s education will benefit from homeschooling. Not everybody agrees with homeschooling, but this is often down to a lack of understanding and knowledge. In fact, homeschooling is often perceived to be very different to what it actually is and there have been many occasions when I have felt the need to justify my decision to home school to my friends and family.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that parents who choose homeschooling are controlling and want to live their lives through their children. Although all parents are different, this is generally not the case. Most parents make the decision based solely on the educational needs of their children and are not trying to prevent freedom and independence.
Another misconception is that parents choose homeschooling as an easy option. People think that homeschooling families don’t want to do the school runs and the homework. Instead, they keep their children at home, let them run wild and teach them as and when they feel like it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Homeschooling is hard work and requires complete dedication from parents. Preparing resources and lessons is very time consuming. Most families who have opted for homeschooling have a schedule in the same way that mainstream schools have a timetable. Obviously there is more flexibility in a home environment but you still need to put the hours in each day.
Homeschooling is not the best option for every family and some children will not thrive or benefit from learning from home. Gifted and talented children are the group that is most likely to benefit from homeschooling. This is because parents can tailor lessons to their child’s learning style and individual needs. Children can work at their own pace, rather than at the pace of others in their lesson, and tasks can be set to challenge them. If a child is advanced in specific areas, like my children, then you can spend more time and effort focusing on these subjects and less on those that are either not compulsory in the curriculum or one of your children’s talented areas. In a mainstream classroom environment children who excel in some subjects are overlooked and not pushed enough to achieve at a higher level. They are held back by working at the pace and level of the other children.
Some children with learning difficulties also benefit from homeschooling in the same way that gifted children do. Parents can set work that is based on the strengths and weaknesses of their child. The child doesn’t have to face the pressure of struggling to keep up with the pace of the other children in the class. Instead, parents can work towards finding different ways for their children to learn and set achievable targets for their child to aim for.