When it comes to Home School, we've been there, done that, now serving 449 tips in 26 categories ranging from Choosing the Right Group to Why Homeschool Your Children?. Need more advice? Ask a Life Coach or take our Life Coach Directory for a spin.
By Betsy S
When homeschooling your child, you can pick a project to work on and then spin off dozens of academic topics from the original activity. For example, if you and your child chose the project of buying and taming a pet parakeet, you could expand that experience into the following areas:
Geography and Biology, in studying where in the world parakeets originated and how they live in the wild.
Math, by recording and then graphing how often the bird engages in a certain behavior, over time. Or, by weighing how much food it eats each day and calculating the cost of feeding it.
Animal Behavior, as you teach the child to record and shape the bird's actions.
Nutrition, as you and the child study what the bird needs in its diet and why.
Reproductive Biology, if you decide to get a pair of birds and breed them.
Art, making all sorts of photos and drawings and paintings of the bird.
Poetry and writing about the bird, and how the child feels about the bird.
Online networking with other pet owners, and sharing photos.
Responsibility, in having the child be responsible for the bird's care and well-being.
This is just a sample of the unlimited possibilities offered by flexible home schooling.
By Miranda B
Playful Learning incorporates hands-on activities into standard lessons. Math, science, reading, writing, social studies, art, music, and nutrition can be taught using this method.
Here are some techniques used with this homeschooling method:
For writing and reading, students learn how to make a book using a twig, rubber band and notebook paper. The handmade books are used for nature journals, short stories and printed photos.
Math is taught using the clothes pin technique that involves jars with different numbers of small objects and index cards that students clip with clothes pins according to the count.
For art related activities, students are presented with an open space that is fully equipped and fully accessible. Items include stamp sets, stickers, paints, and craft materials, which are made available to a student without a stringent set of instructions so to encourage playful learning.
A science themed area equipped with magnifying glasses, specimen jars, rulers, blank observation notebooks, water trays and sand-filled containers. Students are given free reign for experimentation using the items.
In Playful Learning, students explore subject matter after they are given a specific idea or topic to think about. They are encouraged to ask questions and to test out ideas using materials and their natural surroundings. Unlike traditional homeschooling models that involve worksheets and sitting in a single desk throughout lessons, Playful Learning by nomenclature makes learning fun and more like playtime than class time.
By Julie R
One of the best ways you can document home schooling is through the creation of a home school portfolio. A home school portfolio is representative of the education your home schooled students receive every year. Your portfolio can include samples of completed school work, copies of exams, photographs of educational excursions or activities, essays and reports students have written, school records, etc. Anyone interested in the educational background and achievements of a home schooled student can find the information they need by perusing a student's portfolio.
Setting Up a Home School Portfolio
The initial setup of a home school portfolio requires some work, but once established, it can be easily updated to keep up with your child's school progress. Older primary and high school students can easily update their portfolios on a regular basis by adding the best samples of their school work to represent what they are learning. They can also use their artistic and creative skills to customize their portfolio to give it a unique, personal touch.
The creation of a Home School Portfolio begins with selecting a sturdy binder that can hold a substantial amount of transparent plastic sheets. Decorative binders work very well for younger children as they add life and color to the portfolio. Older children may want to create their own portfolio cover and personalize divider pages to reflect their taste and preference. High school students will need a more professional looking binder as their portfolio will eventually be the "official" representation of their high school education.
The inside of your portfolio should be well organized for easy reference and display. Your portfolio can be divided into three parts:
• Academic Achievements
• Extracurricular Activities
• School Records
Under the academic achievements section, students can put samples of their best school work for the year. This would include sample reports, essays, projects, quizzes, etc. from each of the four core subjects (Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science). You should also include unit tests, semester exams and year end exams from each of these subjects.
Under the extracurricular activities section, students can document excursions, outside classes, vacation holidays or community service through photographs of the same. School excursions could include trips to museums, national parks, science fairs, art fairs, musical attractions, etc. Outside classes may include taking art, music or dance lessons, karate classes, arts and crafts, participating on a sports team and more. All of these activities are learning experiences and as such can be documented as part of your portfolio.
Because of the flexibility of home schooling, students are able to participate in a number of extracurricular activities to round off their education. In addition to academics, many home schoolers incorporate such skills as culinary arts, carpentry, electrical repair, sewing, keyboarding, computer literacy, etc. into their curricula to enhance their learning experience. Such skills can be documented within your school records as representative of your overall education.
School records will include class attendance, monthly progress reports, quarterly or semester progress reports and year end reports. High school students, in particular, will need to ensure their progress reports are accurate and up to date. By perusing the Internet, you can find various samples of progress report forms that you can use to document the progress of your home school students. School records along with the rest of your home school portfolio will reflect the quality of your children's education each year. As such, your records should be kept on a professional level so anyone can clearly see the progress that is made.
Home school portfolios will provide you with excellent documentation of your children's home schooling. It will serve as a constant reminder of the quality of your children's education. By looking through their portfolios at the end of each year, your children will be encouraged and inspired by the progress they have made which will challenge them to greater works in the future.
By Miranda B
As public school systems do not require enrollment into preschool, you have the perfect opportunity to give homeschooling a try. At this grade level, you aren't subject to criticism from the outside community for keeping your child at home since not all preschool age kids are in preschool. Also, you can experiment with your home setting, homeschool curriculum and record keeping methods during a full school year before your child enters mandatory schooling at home.
While most public school systems require homeschooling parents to do everything from signing forms to procuring standardized testing, during preschool these issues are null. Instead, you have the freedom to take the time to understand what kind of learning style will best suit your child. Also, you can make the choice about whether homeschooling would be the best type of schooling for your child without fretting over withdrawing or enrolling them public school midway into their education.
By Miranda B
Every state has its own requirements in regards to standardized testing, which is used to measure the achievements and progress of homeschooling students. To get started, go to your state's department of education website to determine whether or not you are required to test your homeschooling student. Other things to consider:
-the frequency of testing, i.e. some states, such as Washington, require testing annually, while other states require testing every few years
-whether or not you are required to report testing scores to your public school superintendent
-if your school system is required to pay for the standardized testing or if you will need to pay out of pocket
-if the school system is willing to arrange for a testing proctor; otherwise you will have to find your own certified testing proctor
Normally, states that require standardized testing also require you to find a proctor for testing. This means that you can choose what type of standardized test you want to administer to your child. Some of the most common standardized exams used by homeschooling parents include:
-Iowa Test of Basic Skills
-California Achievement Test
-Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills
-Stanford Achievement Test
-Personalized Achievement Summary System
Homeschoolers have a plethora of choices available when it comes to homeschooling. One thing that all homeschooling parents must determine, however, is how long it will take to teach a particular curriculum. Here is a simple way to figure out how long it will take to complete a homeschooling curriculum.
First determine how many weeks your school year will be. If your school is 40 weeks long, then divide the pages of curriculum by 40 to determine how many pages your student will need to complete per day. If your children finish their books early you can use the time to prepare for end of the year testing.