As millions of students are home from school due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, many parents are thrown into the world of homeschooling. One mom, PJ Monroe, offered these 20 tips for new homeschool parents:
- Don’t panic, you are not going to ruin your child’s life by homeschooling
- Even the experts have doubts, take your time, listen to your student(s)
- Ask questions, sometimes what seems like a dumb answer is a very smart answer
- Look for grade-level materials online or workbooks in the bookstore
- Look at your state education agency website & download the standards for the grade you are teaching
- Look through the materials & find the topic in the standards & use as a guide for what to teach
- If you have a book or workbook, you don’t have to cover every page but you should check for understanding on pages covered
- Add in some time for a student to illustrate something learned, example draw a picture of bacteria & viruses
- If you use a page to teach a skill, it is okay for the student to complete the page & score a 100 A+ on it
- You don’t have to take grades but you need to keep a portfolio (collection) of skills learned & mastered. (Evidence-based learning.)
- Divide the day up into periods & keep to the schedule unless it is a special event day
- Go outside sometime during the day. We look for different things on walks outside. ( trees budding out, birds singing, flowers blooming, etc)
- If you can have a small garden you will get many opportunities for fun & learning
- Read to your student(s) every day
- Mention & recognize special holidays & calendar events
- Maintain an environment of patience & acceptance. Praise for good work often. You don’t need to feel rushed
- Take one day a month to have a celebration, holiday, birthday, solar eclipse, etc)
- Emphasize kindness and do not foster competition, children who learn together, (even across ages) are more involved & learn more
- Be flexible, sometimes unexpected things happen, modeling how you (teacher) handle things will help children understand how to act during unexpected times
- Test at the end of the year if you want to see how your homeschooler(s) measure up against students, at their grade level, at the end of the year
After my first year of homeschooling, I gave my students an achievement test. I wanted to be sure they had learned what they needed to know. My 5th grader scored a composite score of 11th grade and my 3rd grader scored at a 5th-grade level.
All that work & some worry paid off.
What a relief!
Homeschooling has given me the opportunity to teach & have fun; the most enjoyable teaching experience in my 40-year career as an educator.
This all happened by accident but my students have thrived. No high stakes testing here, just high performance!
I hope my thoughts will encourage homeschool teachers and students everywhere.
– PJ Monroe
Global Student Network offers a complete line of online curriculum and learning resources for homeschoolers. Learn more at www.GlobalStudentNetwork.com.