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There are basically two schools of thought when it comes to homeschooling your child. On one hand, there are those who think their child is getting a superior education through a one-on-one learning structure (not to mention an overall lack of distractions). On the other hand, there are plenty of people who don't believe that an isolated learning experience is conducive to their child's growth as a person. A lack of classmates/peers can ultimately stunt their social development.
In today's digital age where remote work is commonplace, those potential problems shouldn't deter anyone from giving their child the best education they see fit. Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tricks to ensure your child gets a quality at-home education, while also having them avoid a classic case of cabin fever. Taking a look at some of the ways you can give your child a great homeschooling experience, without making them a total introvert in the process, will only mean a better overall education for your child(ren).
Keep a light schedule.
Keep in mind—there is no "right" way on how to homeschool your child, but there are certainly ways to make it better. Let's start with something that makes your child's experience somewhat comparable to actual school—sticking to a schedule. Making sure there's some sort of every day schedule is important not only from an organizational standpoint, but for your child's own cognitive learning abilities.
Of course, don't make things too rigid—no child really learns well in a heavily structured environment. Adhering to some sort of schedule will help your child feel like they're actually going to school though, even if it is just from home.
Create your own curriculum.
Don't just find a cookie-cutter curriculum off of the internet—use some of that critically acclaimed creativity and make your own! Obviously, you can stick to the basics, but don't be afraid to change some things up and tailor the curriculum to your own child's strengths and weaknesses.
Temper your expectations.
Don't put too much pressure on your kid right off the bat—temper your expectations a bit. Children learn at their own pace, so make sure you keep that in mind before homeschooling. Home education can give your child a leg up on competition if done correctly, but make sure you're not making their life too difficult through unrealistic expectations. Whether your child is in elementary school, middle school, or high school, make sure you don't put a monkey the size of King Kong on their backs.
Give proper breaks.
Just like in regular school (or work, for that matter), everyone needs their necessary breaks. Just because your child is getting a home education, doesn't mean they're exempt from taking a little time off every few hours. Heck, maybe even give your kid a nap break if their day is too demanding. Make sure to give them off for holidays, if they're sick, or even on their birthday. Just because they're being homeschooled, doesn't mean they don't deserve the perks regular students get (or maybe even a couple extra).
Save a tougher subject for the summer.
This one is totally about preference, but it could also be the difference between your child excelling or not. Instead of loading up your kid's schedule, you might want to save one of the more difficult subjects for the summer. This way, they only have to focus on that singular course without the rigors of a full time curriculum. This would obviously take away their summer vacation, but at the same time, their schedule would be far easier to manage. Maybe toy with the idea of a three or four day school week during the year to give them a better school/life balance. In exchange for a summer's worth of freedom, its certainly a reasonable deal.
Do not micromanage (or, rather, micro-teach).
Micro-management, or in this case, micro-teaching, can hinder your child's homeschool experience immensely. This one is sort of an extension of "keep a light schedule," but with a greater focus on the actual learning environment and teaching methods.
There is a great deal of creativity that goes into the learning experience. Don't try to hinder your child's development by putting everything they do under a microscope. Obviously, you have to stick to some semblance of a system, but letting your kid discover things for themselves and learning from their mistakes is an invaluable way to learn.
Listen to your kid(s).
This should not only serve as a rule of thumb for homeschooling, but for life in general.
Listen to your kids.
Sure, this might seem like common sense to some, but you'd be surprised at how many parents actually struggle in building a real rapport with their child, especially if they're a student of yours. So basically, make sure all dialogue isn't one-sided. Yes, you're their "teacher," but that does not mean you can't learn from them too. Everyone has a different learning style, so whether your child is getting a home education or is traditionally schooled, make sure their voice is being heard.
Watch educational movies.
For anyone that has attended public or private schools, they know the most pleasant surprise comes courtesy of movie day. And just because your child is being homeschooled full time, doesn't mean they're not entitled to similar "perks." Give them a break from those math problems and throw on a relevant or educational movie. Let your kid get some visual learning in for a change.
Make sure they have lots of snacks!
Who doesn't love a good snack? Healthy snacking all day could be the ideal way to keep your child motivated, energized, and excited for their seemingly tedious school day. Not only can snacking help their focus, but you can also use it as an incentive as sorts. For example, if your kid does well on his test, reward him with a snack! I wish I could still be rewarded with food on a daily basis...
Enroll your child in after-school activities.
Of all the ways to give your child a great homeschooling experience, this might just be the most important. By missing out on regular public school, your kid is missing out on a lot of the camaraderie and extracurricular activities like field trips, organized sports, and after-school activities. In order to have your kid socialize with others his or her age, sign them up for the same things they'd be doing at regular school! There are a number of laws about homeschooling you should know, so make sure to check up on your area so they don't get turned away at the first practice or meeting, but this is certainly one of the more fun ways to keep your children engaged. After all, you don't want their social skills to lack once they hit the real world. Get kids moving!