Happy Easter! I pray God will remind you afresh about the amazing miracle of His love and His salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ this weekend. We are so blessed to serve a God who loves us so much that He provided a way for our relationship with Him to be restored.
As I was out walking today, I enjoyed listening to the birds singing – it was literally like a mini concert! I’m not sure why there were so many singing, but it was beautiful. I was blessed to hear their music and thanked the Lord for how He provided that for me to enjoy today when I needed some encouragement.
Both of these things reminded me that God is so good to us. And He does provide for our needs and even our wants. He often provided for my needs and wants in our homeschool days as well.
Which brings me to the first and most important tip I can give you:
#1: Seek God’s help everyday as you homeschool! He is faithful and cares about your burdens, even the little ones that seem unimportant. Pray for your needs and concerns in your family and homeschool and then watch to see how God will answer. There were so many things God provided over the years as I presented my concerns to Him: a sweet girlfriend for our daughter after we moved to a new area, several homeschool families that we became close to that even had friends for our boys to spend time with, lots of fun learning opportunities such as a chipmunk in our window well and a butterfly coming out of a cocoon… the list could go on and on. God is faithful and He cares about you and your family and wants to help you as you homeschool.
I’d like to continue on from my last post on teaching tips and talk about how you need to consider your child’s age and abilities.
#2: Remember your child’s age and abilities (see previous post for information on babies, toddlers and early elementary age children)
*Upper Elementary age children:
– Continue to read out loud to children of this age even though they can read themselves, it increases their vocabulary, helps their listening skills and provides some great quality time with you as their parent.
– Encourage more independence in their schoolwork. Give them assignments with clear directions on what’s expected and let them work on it independently. If you’re requiring a book report, give them a template of what to include.
– Let them have more choices such as choosing what subject they want to study first each day or let them help in choosing some of their curriculum. Give them a weekly checklist for what you expect of them in their school work and let them be responsible to be sure they get it all done (including coming to you for help on the things they need to do with you).
– Use delight directed study, where you help them discover their interests and the things that delight them, and then provide the resources to study and learn more about them.
– Give them lots of different learning opportunities and enjoy learning along with them! Games, experiments, and fun projects are still great ways to learn even in these years.
*Middle School Years:
-Classical educators state that these are the years when a child will begin to question things more, wanting to debate and argue with you more as they try to understand things. Make time to discuss things with them and help them to process their thoughts and develop their stand on various topics.
-This is the age when a child begins to have hormonal imbalances as they enter puberty. So these are years when your sweet child may become a little harder to live with. Their bodies are going through significant changes and they may not be able to control some of their emotions. So I’d recommend lots of prayer for them and yourself in these years! Seriously, if you can teach them that they can turn to God for help when their emotions are up and down, they’ll likely get through this transition much more smoothly.
-Brain fog is a real issue for some kids at this age. It’s like their hormones are also washing their brain clean! I remember our son sitting and looking at his math page for an hour and only getting one or two problems done! If your child is struggling with this, give them an exercise break or some time to move around to help them get focused again.
-Continue building independence and give them opportunities to make more and more decisions. Delight directed studies continue to be very valuable in these years, helping them figure out who they are and what they enjoy.
-Keep up with checking your student’s daily work and help them if they don’t understand something. Even though they’re doing more independent work, they still need you involved.
-Sometimes kids will push parents away in these middle school years, but they still need your love and affection. Don’t let them push you out. Insist on family time and make a point of having one on one time too.
*High School Years:
-Many homeschool parents fear these high school years, but these can be some of the most enjoyable years you can have with your child! Continue to pray daily and often for your child in these years. These are impressionable years where they’re learning more about who they are and what they want out of life.
-Take time for one on one time with them, and listen to them… encourage them to talk about what they’re thinking about.
-Encourage ministry opportunities that use the skills and gifts that they have.
-Provide some sort of personality/career type of testing for them so they can get some direction for their future. Career Direct is one of the best tests out there for this purpose. I’d encourage you to offer career course work as well, so they can work through what they want to do after graduation.
-Delight directed studies in these years are very valuable and may even lead them to a future career! Choose subjects that they are interested in for their elective courses, or use their delight directed studies as an elective course.
-Let them be involved in making their four year high school plan, choosing curriculum and setting up their daily and yearly schedule. I have a planning sheet for making that four year plan that you can request by submitting your e-mail in the box labeled “Homeschooling Through High School Information” on my website.
– Help them to learn time management by talking through what they need to accomplish and helping them schedule out how to make it happen in the time frame required.
-If there are tough subjects that you don’t feel confident teaching, hire a tutor, or buy a video course so you have some help in teaching it. Or join a co-op that offers high school level courses. Consider letting them earn college credits while in high school using PSEO courses, CLEP testing or AP testing.
-Require they do volunteer work while in high school. Volunteer work will help them figure out what they enjoy doing, and will give them great experience in many ways. Plus scholarship agencies love to see volunteer work on their applications!
-Encourage independence in these years. Our goal is to see our children become responsible adults by the time they graduate from high school, and we need to encourage and allow them to be just that. Have rules that they have to follow, and teach them to show respect, but also allow them independence and teach them to be responsible.
– Offer a homeschool course on personal finance, such as the Dave Ramsey course, or Larry Burkett’s course. Teach them how to manage a checkbook, stay out of debt and make a budget. These are all skills they’ll need as an adult.
#3- Teach your children life skills-
- The best way to do this is to have them involved from a very early age in helping with chores around the house!
- Have a chore chart with daily and weekly chores that each child is required to complete and teach them how to do each chore.
- In the teen years, you can give them responsibility for certain areas of running the home. Put them in charge of making some of the meals, or in charge of yard maintenance, etc….
- Help them learn to handle money by teaching them to budget (put money into savings, give to the Lord, etc.)
- Teach them how to organize things
- Teach them how to plan a menu, get groceries, and cook
- Teach them how to properly care for things, and to fix things when they break
#4- Remember that you set the tone for your homeschool days. Spend time with Jesus at the start of your day to help you get your focus in the right place. Days started with Him always seem to go much better! I’d love to share my daily devotions with you – just sign up on my website to receive them!
I hope these tips are helpful! I’d love to hear if you have some more teaching tips to add. One thing I love about homeschoolers is that we share what works for us with others! There were many times I was helped by someone sharing their ideas with me!
Have a blessed Easter! Kris