Whether you’re new to home education or you’re doing it already it can seem overwhelming. But that might be because you’re making it more complicated than it has to be!
Children learning is quite a simple process – and very natural – they’re primed to investigate their world. But the schooling and education system we’re familiar with, and sometimes compare ourselves to (deadly), can interfere with that; it can put them off and dull their enthusiasm down. Home educators can avoid that by keeping it as natural and simple as possible and a mind on how you’re doing it.
So I thought I’d post a few tips that might help you keep it simple, keep it going, and keep it enjoyable – it will still succeed that way!
- Keep an open mind and don’t do comparisons! Learning through home educating is very different to learning in the system so the same bench marks don’t apply.
- Keep connected with others. Learn from them, try out ideas, be brave enough to adopt or abandon them, adapt ideas to suit your child and family.
- Do what works for you, changing often – and keep flexible – kids grow and change.
- It sometimes helps to find a routine in your household that works for you. But that will also need to be open to updates depending on the fit, as I said – kids change!
- Be bold enough to keep it informal and light – informal learning works far better than rigidity.
- Keep it in the here and now and don’t always be educating for a future (like grades for example). You don’t know what your youngsters will need for their future yet. You’ll do what’s right at the time when you get there.
- Don’t ‘do’ education all the time! In a school setting there’s is probably only about half an hour’s worthwhile learning time in a whole day, and a whole lot less teacher time. Your child achieves far more than that at home with you. But you have to back off and encourage them to be independent about their own activities too – and be independent about yours!
- If you’re getting strong resistance to your suggestions you’ll need to review and reconsider. I used to spend hours thinking up a wonderful activity (or so I thought) then they weren’t a least bit interested and I had to abandon it. Frustrating! But just because you think it up doesn’t mean it’s going to work for them. If there’s resistance you’re the one on the wrong track. It feels hard to let go sometimes but believe me it’s necessary. Start from what they’re interested in.
- So, allow and encourage your youngsters to discover and pursue their own interests. All activities educate in small ways. Listen to and engage with theirs.
- It’s not the case that the more money you spend the better education you’re providing. In fact, the more resourceful you are with ideas, activities, improvisation, the more inventive, entrepreneurial, creative and intelligent the youngsters become. Great life skills to have.
- Children love learning and discovering. And can do it very effectively for themselves. Trust them, and be careful not to ruin that by too much structure and control. Youngsters have their own ideas about what they want to learn, which are valid. Respect their ideas.
- Enjoy yourselves. It’s allowed. There’s no law against learning being a happy experience. The more the youngsters enjoy their education the more they’ll continue it lifelong – a skill that will be useful to them for ever after!