Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Avoid Homeschool Burnout

Your family can avoid homeschool burnout by discussing what is still enjoyable each day and what is not. Try these tips to reduce the chance of burnout in your homeschool:
  • Discuss what is working and what is not. Ask for suggestions and ideas to inspire and motivate learning.
  • Determine the ways your children learn best and use those learning methods.
  • Add more flexibility to your homeschool days, and take advantage of spontaneous learning opportunities.
  • Avoid over-scheduling your days. You need a good balance of quiet activities with the busy activities.
  • Add more fun and laughter to your homeschool lessons and homeschool activities.
  • Set aside homeschool curriculum packages or programs that are not interesting to your children. (If your children aren't interested, they won't learn as well.)
  • Switch from "busy-work" -- such as worksheets, writing assignments, or dull reading assignments -- to fun, hands-on learning projects and science experiments.
  • Try unit studies or "unschooling" for a while, rather than traditional subjects. Remember that "homeschool" is not "school at home." Experiment with different learning methods.
  • Ask children what they would like to learn this week, this month, this year. Encourage them to find and share fun ways to learn those things.
  • Take field trips to the library and allow children to check out books that appeal to them. Also guide them in selecting informative books that look interesting. Use those books as the backbone of your daily learning, and discuss the books you read.
  • Use arts and crafts as an excellent way to reinforce learning and to complement the topics you read, study, or explore.
  • Find online homeschool activities that promote family learning projects. Many interesting projects and activities are available at EverythingHomeschooling.com.
  • Reduce stress by lowering your expectations. Try not to do so much each day. Get support and help from others.
  • Have children record their daily lessons in their homeschool logs, organize their homeschool books and supplies, and clean up after homeschool experiments or learning projects.
  • Ask family members to help with daily chores around the home and to be responsible for specific aspects of the homeschool day.
  • Take time for yourself to relax and unwind. Spend at least an hour each day on something you especially enjoy, such as reading, painting, knitting, or sitting in the sunshine.
When you are rested, refreshed, and recharged, homeschooling will be easier, and children will be happier and will learn more! Happy homeschooling!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Start Homeschooling + Homeschool Activities + Unschooling Ideas

During the Christmas break, many families once again consider homeschooling. Here's a few things to keep in mind:

One of the first things you'll want to do is give your children some "down time" to decompress and to relax, after being in the school environment. There's no need to jump right into lessons today, or this week, or even next week. Just relax and enjoy being together.

Have lots of interesting discussions with your children, find out what their current interests are, and basically reconnect with who they are today. Ask for their ideas on things they'd like to learn, hobbies they'd like to try, things they'd like to build or create, etc.

Many children have lost the ability to think for themselves, after being in school. So allow them the freedom to relax for a while, to think for themselves, and to consider all the possibilities and opportunities now open to them, as a result of homeschooling.

Always keep in mind that homeschooling is not "school at home." Homeschooling is simply living and learning each day, in ways that are interesting for your child and fit your child's individual learning styles and goals. Yes, there will need to be some structure and organization to your days eventually, but focus on the above, first.

Other things, such as cursive writing and multiplication tables, can and will be learned in time. But, first, redeveloping a real interest and joy in learning is important for the child who has been in a school environment.

For lots of homeschool activities, homeschool lessons, unschooling ideas, and homeschool information, please visit us at EverythingHomeschooling.com.

Happy homeschooling!