How to survive homeschooling? PART 3

INVEST (MONEY OR TIME AND EFFORT) 

If you can, invest some money to help you with homeschooling and I’m not talking about a fortune but literally a few pounds a month. Unfortunately, different clubs, activities and classes are closed at the moment but instead you can use this money to do things online or get some things delivered to your home! 

I decided to subscribe to the Twinkl website because I can download a lot of great materials there from PP presentations, posters and cards to worksheets. I also receive books on a monthly basis and I can use their educational materials on apps on my mobile, laptop or PC, so that’s a bit more variety than using just workbooks. What I liked on Twinkl is it also gives you many ideas on how you can use a messy play activity tray and I have one of those so the ideas can be used for my toddler. 

I also subscribed to Brilliant Brainz as they seem to describe important topics such as the body and mind, animals, the senses, and a lot more, in a very interesting way. The magazine is super colourful and attractive for children. And they cost only £3.99 a month! I read a bit about The Weekly Junior magazine and it looks great too as it covers different topics on politics, society and other serious and important issues, but is explained in rather plain language. However, this is something for slightly older children than mine but this may be useful for you. 

Another great thing seems to be subscription boxes. I never used them before but decided to try something that could help to make homeschooling more fun. There is a huge variety of topics and price ranges. Lots to choose from. I decided I will try an art & crafts box as we love these kinds of activities. There must be hundreds of art & crafts subscription boxes at the moment! In our first one there is a gift so we will get two boxes for the price of one. I could pick the topics and I decided to choose learning and doing activities about planets and also woodland animal puppets with a stage that my child can build to perform her plays. 

The other box I fell in love with is called Geo Journey and I really look forward to the delivery of this one! In the first box my child will get some nice luggage, a travel journal, a map, a passport and I think a few other smaller bits. Then once a month Geo the owl and her friend the puppy will send my daughter personalised letters. The animals travel the world and each month send a pack about one of the countries they visited. There is then a letter, photos, stickers, a souvenir and some cards with facts about the country. I saw some children getting packs about Egypt, France and Australia, and this really looked like fun and can teach little learners a great deal. Surely a better idea than reading about countries and trying to remember all the theories and facts. 

Of course, I understand that not everyone can invest in these things but then there are always a lot of free books (check out, for example, Oxford Owl website!) and online resources (education.com has many free resources) that you can use to make the homeschooling experience more interesting.

You don’t need to pay for Geo Journey if you don’t want to but you can borrow the idea and create a similar project! So you could decide that once a month or even once a week you make a themed day. Let’s say it’s Italian day! You could make some pasta for lunch and tell your child what Italian food is like. Find some interesting facts about this and surprise your child by telling them e.g. that Italians don’t eat their pizza with ketchup or mayo, or any other kind of sauce! You could play some Italian music and a video or two about Italy for kids on YouTube. You could also show what the Italian flag looks like and even ask your child to watch a basic Italian tutorial online and learn 3 or 5 basic words or phrases such as ‘Hi’ and ‘How are you’? Then you could give them a print out or read them facts about the famous people who come from Italy and what they are famous for. You can cover other topics such as what currency they use, how many people live in the country and perhaps a few facts from their history. You can actually make a pack with these facts and give it to your child in an envelope, just like in the Geo Journey style. Maybe you can also ask your child to do a quiz about Italy once the activities finish.

I’d like to finish this post with a beautiful quote I found in Forbes:

“(…) some parents may discover that learning outside of schooling benefited their children and strengthened their family. (…) They may realize that education without schooling is not a crisis but an opportunity” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kerrymcdonald/2020/03/11/the-worlds-homeschooling-moment/#584aac7b550c)

How to survive homeschooling? PART 4

BALANCE

While preparing tasks and lessons think how you can create some balance so you can spend some time teaching your child and explaining things to them, or checking their work and giving them feedback. However, it is also a good idea to ensure that your child can learn to some extent on their own – by reading, doing exercises, watching documentaries, creating projects or researching. They learn how to become more independent and you can have some time for your work, chores or for quiet ‘me time’. 

I think a more relaxed and flexible approach is working best for my family as long as we try to show our children that learning can be something that can be enjoyed, something that gives us satisfaction when we see our progress. That’s what personal development is about, isn’t it? It would be great to use a bit of this homeschool time to make your child enthusiastic about personal growth.

I did quite a bit of research about homeschooled children and… What surprised me a lot is that according to many different research studies, homeschooled children are doing better at tests such as GCSEs or A levels. They also seem to be more mature, think more independently, cause less trouble and have more knowledge than their colleagues who attended school. What’s more, homeschooled children tend to watch a lot less TV than children who go to school. 

Unfortunately, homeschooling parents tend to face a lot of criticism as the phenomenon is not very well understood yet. There are a few thousands families homeschooling in the UK (*and over 2 million in the USA) at the moment but many parents say there is little support from outside. One of the main criticisms is about socialising. However, studies show that many homeschooled children go to universities and do not have trouble socialising with others. Actually, they are more likely to vote, volunteer and do different projects for various organisations! The most important thing to remember is that homeschooling doesn’t mean sitting within four walls and getting weird.

There are many styles of homeschooling such as worldschooling, roadschooling, wildschooling, and the classical, eclectic or Montessori approach. I think if this is completely new to you, it is definitely worth doing a bit of research and reading more about it in depth. Some ideas are brilliant and can contribute a lot to your child’s well-being and help them to achieve their potentials. Homeschooled children actually learn a lot of practical things. They also have more time to go out on trips, and to do different classes such as dancing or martial arts where they meet lots of people and make friends.

One recent survey showed that 23% of British parents have noticed the benefits of homeschooling, which include being in control of what the child is learning and creating better family bonds, and consequentially they are considering homeschooling after the lockdown has finished.

Homeschooling can be challenging sometimes but it can also be turned into a great journey when you spend some really good quality time with your child learning things from each other. Children can also teach us a lot – 

– to care more

– to be more spontaneous,

– to be more passionate

– to worry less

– to forget about the phone, work and laptop sometimes and enjoy life more

– to laugh and smile more often

– to be kind

– to not be scared to ask questions and keep being curious about life!

And what’s also a great benefit of homeschooling is that we as parents tend to research different topics for our children and learn things with them.

I hope I persuaded you that homeschooling can be valuable and fun. Remember, you and your child are not at school so you can apply your own rules and schedules, and it is all up to you. You can control it and change things as you like. If you think it’s difficult and boring then it will be this way. If you believe it can be a fantastic opportunity and experience – then this is how it’s going to be!

Would you recommend any resources that have been helping you with homeschooling?

I’m aware that there have been some problems with leaving comments under blog posts recently. I will check if I can sort this out from my end but if you would like to speak to me or share any resources that are helpful for homeschooling please email me:  hello@mindset4progress.com