5 Homeschool Teaching Tips
When I decided to home educate my daughter there were a lot of mistakes made. Although, there were a few things I did right in that first year. So Im going to share these teaching tips with you.
You see, her dad, my husband is dyslexic. Yup, my daughter has dyslexic traits although never officially tested. So as the months passed, panic set in. Lots of curriculum was used, lots of research was done, and I still didn’t know what was going to work until I just tried it.
To save you from the rest of this journey, she got there. She is a pretty good reader for her age and is improving every day. Although this journey has had its upside and downs there are some things I did in that first year that I am so thankful to my past self for doing. I didn’t know they would benefit us so much, I just did them. So let me expand.
- Read books / Biographies
- Answer all the questions
- Allow Boredom /turned off the TV
- Take advantage of a self-regulated schedule
- Practice consistency
Reading aloud every day is one of my best teaching tips for new homeschoolers. In our first year, we would just show up to the library and leave with stacks of books.Now, this was a half-hazard approach and probably could have benefited us even better if I was strategic. None the less it still benefited us a lot!
Reading aloud not only gives the information or story from the book you are reading but it does so much more! It improves reading fluency to hear a good reader reading aloud. Hearing you read grows vocabulary to read about new subjects or books above their reading level. It also helps with listening skills and attention span by slowly reading longer and longer books. Reading aloud can even promote bonding between parent and child.
I read lot of picture books and biographies in particular to my children. This choice unknowingly to me really built their background knowledge in more advanced subjects and discussions.
For instance, when we later spoke about the revolutionary war I didn’t have to stop and explain who George Washington was. When we were watching a documentary and it mentioned Thomas Edison she easily followed along. There were and are many more instances like these.
2. Answer All The Questions
Now, this may prove difficult at first. Also, I must admit I did not answer ALL the questions. I mean when we homeschool they are with us 24/7 and that’s ALOT of questions. But one of the most sure-fire ways for kids or anyone to retain something is when they are actually interested in it and want to learn it.
Homeschooling gives us a unique advantage in that we get to hear every interest that may pop up throughout the day. I took as much advantage of this as I could and answered accurately! Why is the sky blue? We looked it up and learned the scientific reason why the sky is blue. Where does gas (gasoline) come from? Explained it while driving on the way to the grocery store.
Again this is building their knowledge that they will use later. This teaching tip is like building their knowledge “tower” one brick at a time and you will thank yourself for answering all the questions now.
3. Allow Boredom
Let them be bored turn off the TV and tablets. I don’t know if this is much of a teaching tip as it is just good practice. My kids whined for a few days and then…. amazing things started happening. They went outside without prompting, they made up games, they started random craft projects on their own, they used their imagination, my daughter even randomly practices her piano in her free time.
This is like when they are little and “the experts” say to give babies open ended toys. The toys with all the lights and noises almost stunt their creativity and imagination. Its the same concept. If they always have a screen in front of them that causes their brains to release dopamine they will have no desire or need to explore other things or have other interests.
At first, it’s good to give them a few ideas on what they can do and be specific (ex: you can draw this cat from this drawing book or take your dollys a bath in the sink). Also, make things accessible to them, put things at their level. Im talking art supply, board games, writing utensils, etc.
Start slow and give them lots of support at first, and after a while, they will get the hang of it. I am a true believer that boredom is essential to creativity.
4. Take Advantage of Your Flexible Schedule
So many opportunities arise when everyone else is at school and work and the world is yours to explore. We went to so many museums, parks, library events, homeschool meetups. My children got to learn from seeing because they were out about in the world instead of in a classroom.
Once when I was researching what to study for kindergarten social studies it said, community members. My children saw and spoke to all of these community members already, we didn’t need to read about them, we interacted with our community members all the time!
They would wave to the mailman and we would speak about what he does. They would speak to the store clerk and give cookies to the garbage man. All of these real-life encounters leading to conversations. This is one of the great perks of homeschooling, don’t let it pass you by.
Consistency is a good habit to establish from the beginning when you are newly homeschooling. Even if it’s just a small amount of time each day. The child will know there is school every day.
At first, we would school while my youngest napped. It wasn’t a question we just did it the same time every day so there was minimal complaining. Even if I didn’t feel well that day I would just do thirty minutes to keep up the routine. Definitely makes it less of a fight later.
Have a plan for when you are under the weather or just have other things to do. Workbooks are a great option that kids can do mostly on their own. In fact I wrote a blog post here of our favorite workbooks. The consistency is going to help you and them to not let their studies fall to the wayside.
Leave a comment down below and share some of your teaching tips or some of the things you have done right. I hope you enjoyed these tips and they help you on your journey. Also, check out this post for a list of actual steps to take in order to start your homeschooling journey. Thanks so much for stopping by and make sure to check out what we are doing daily over on our instagram.