Home Sweet Homeschool

Home Sweet Homeschool
Home Sweet Homeschool

4 tips for successful teaching at home

Freshly sharpened pencils? Check. Spiral-bound notebooks? Check. Backpack and lunchbox? Well, maybe not this year ….

Due to the continuing effects of COVID-19, the back-to-school season is looking a little different for many students this fall. Some families are choosing to make the leap to full-fledged homeschooling, while others are utilizing online e-learning options offered by their local schools. Others are heading back to the classroom with modifications to their daily routine.

If you’ve found yourself joining the ranks of those schooling at home this season, you should know this: there’s never been a better time to embark on this type of adventure.

With a world of resources at your fingertips, you can make this a memorable and educational time for your family. Here are a few things to remember:

Capture the wonder

Somewhere along the path of our educational journeys—anywhere between kindergarten and college, actually—we tend to lose sight of the wonder of learning. Sometimes it happens so gradually that we don’t even notice. Try to keep this in mind as you navigate the early steps of homeschooling.

If you can help your child experience the wonder of learning and the excitement that’s found in pursuing knowledge, you’ll be giving your child a gift that’s absolutely priceless.

Explore the world—from home

Who says you have to travel in order to explore the world? It’s never been easier to experience the sights and sounds of major landmarks, museums, and educational exhibits right from your home(school). Why travel to Paris (at least right now) when you can explore the Louvre without leaving your living room?

Online opportunities abound—it’s merely a matter of choosing a destination and sitting back to enjoy the (virtual) ride.

Never underestimate the power of books

Here’s a fact, and you can verify this with any librarian: homeschoolers love books. And for good reason! Books open doors to knowledge on any topic—salamanders, snapdragons, spaceflight, spaghetti—and introduce students to areas of interest that they may wish to pursue further.

Libraries are the ultimate homeschooling resource, and the power of the interlibrary loan program connects the collections of multiple small libraries within a rural region and puts them all at your fingertips. Curbside pickup of your materials is a helpful option in areas affected by COVID-19.

Don’t overlook the value of building your own home library of materials.

An investment in books provides long-term benefits for your entire family. The only drawback is that you’ll need to build lots (LOTS) of bookshelves. But that’s okay, because you can build them as a family and consider that an educational experience too.

Savor the Time

Increased family togetherness is an opportunity worth savoring, and this special period of homeschooling is one that you’ll hopefully look back on with fond memories in years to come.

Think creatively when it comes to maximizing this time with your children. Read aloud together, play educational games (c’mon, you know they’re fun), take nature walks, tackle a farm project, and follow the fascinating bunny trails of your children’s varying interests.

Try not to get bogged down in an attempt to replicate “school at home.” Instead, embrace the freedom that comes from having time to cultivate wonder as you and your children rediscover just how wonderful our world really is.

Rural Challenges

As much as we all love our lives out on our acreage, the lack of internet connectivity in rural settings can prove challenging in many respects. Schooling at home is no exception.

If your child is working in an online e-learning program that involves real-time video interaction with their teacher and/or other pupils, a lack of reliable internet connection can be problematic.

Thankfully, local libraries often provide free Wi-fi as a community service and you can likely access this from the parking lot (if social distancing guidelines prevent you from spending long periods of time in the library).

Textbooks and printed materials minimize the need for high speed internet.

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