If you’ve made the choice to homeschool your children, you likely started out striving for perfection. Perfect curriculum choice, perfect schedule, perfect teaching approach. It’s also likely that it didn’t take long for you to realize that homeschool perfection is impossible – and also a rather boring goal. One article I read recently suggested that you instead aim for being “awesome” and reset your goal to that of becoming an “imperfectly awesome homeschool teacher.”
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, and 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 adjust and keep trying. You are, indeed, the right person for the job!
Consider these awesome job descriptors:
- In the job of a homeschool teacher, there’s no competition. No contest. There’s no one checking to see what schedule you’re keeping, what curriculum you’re using.
2. If the direction you’ve chosen doesn’t work, you won’t get fired – just change direction! Whenever you feel you need to!
3. There’s no way you’re ever going to be “behind schedule.” Your schedule will match your child’s learning pace and will have to be adjusted frequently, so there’s no reason to feel any pressure!
4. Flexibility is the name of the homeschool game! You’re going to be figuring out what’s good for you and your child on a daily basis.
5. You don’t have to be a trained teacher. In fact – you shouldn’t be “teaching” your children at all! You should be learning along with them. Being a role model is what it’s all about.
SOME TIPS FOR BECOMING AWESOME:
First and foremost – remember that this is something you CAN do! You CAN be an AWESOME homeschool teacher!
- Never stop educating yourself. Read, Read, Read. Read about homeschooling. There are hundreds of books available on the topic and you can borrow many of them from your local library. Try to read at least a book a month about being a homeschool teacher. But don’t stop there – read ANY material that will make you a more educated, well-rounded person. Let your kids know that the learning process never stops, no matter what your age. If your children know you value education, the odds are they’ll model themselves after your value system.
2. Attach yourself to a community of other homeschool parents. Other parents are going through the same process you are – trying to be AWESOME homeschool parents. You can all learn from each other. Organize a homeschool parents’ book club that meets once a month to discuss on homeschool teaching methods and trends.
3. Pay attention to your student’s individual learning style and needs. Tailor your teaching approach to whatever learning differences or gifted tendencies your child might have. READ specifically about K to 12 learning styles.
4. Create a homeschool support system that is suited to your interests, beliefs and needs. If you’re a person who doesn’t enjoy being in groups, keep your “support system” down to just one or two like-minded people. It might be a good idea to search out other parents who operate within the same political and religious framework that you do. Or perhaps find some online homeschool support groups and forums where homeschool teachers work together to help each other overcome challenges and to share success stories. Homeschooling can be rewarding, but it can also leave you feeling isolated if you try to do it entirely alone.
5. Don’t try to emulate public school grading and reward systems. Struggle is a part of learning. Embrace it. If you can maintain patience and focus on your child’s progress rather than on perfection, you’ll find your experience as a homeschool teacher will be even more rewarding.
6. Take your time searching out the best curriculum for your particular student’s needs and learning pace. There are dozens of choices to be found online. A particularly good online curriculum connection can be found at Global Student Network (GSN). This group can carry you over to AWESOME with its choice of eight separate curriculum packages all available on their website at https://globalstudentnetwork.com/ . GSN also has a great Chat function where you can get all kinds of valuable assistance in your curriculum search.
If you’re thinking about writing your own curriculum, search out online curriculum development advice or books. Aim for developing an easy-to-use curriculum that you can tweak and adjust depending on your student’s changing needs. A friend of mine does this for her 14-year-old autistic son and she has definitely reached AWESOME with her specialized curriculum package!
And – DEFINITELY be sure the curriculum you purchase or write meets your state’s standards for each level! This is important if you want your homeschooled child to hold an approved graduation diploma at the end of their high school experience. And be sure your selected or original curriculum matches your child’s learning style and capabilities. (Check out the homeschool curriculum requirements for your state at www.homeschoolfacts.com )
- Tap into your special creative self. There’s no need to follow any “rules” about how to run a homeschool. Listen to your child and encourage back-and-forth discussion and learning. Create an atmosphere of openness and innovation in everything you do.
- This is a personal tip for YOU on your personal path to becoming an AWESOME homeschool teacher – Set aside quiet time for yourself (and your students) every day. If you’re having a tough day, this will give you a bit of time to “regroup” and find your own calm center. It also will give your kids a chance to explore on their own and nurture a sense of the importance of life-long learning.
In closing, remember – it’s important to focus on your student, but always remember to take care of yourself. If you don’t do this, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Engage in continuous self-evaluation, be willing to be flexible and alter plans when necessary and take time every day for yourself. If you follow these simple tips, you are on your way to being an AWESOME homeschool teacher!