When we constantly wrestle with the question am I doing enough when homeschooling, it can make us weary, cause self-doubt and sometimes make us think that we are less suited to homeschooling than others are.
Normally, but not always, the nagging doubt sets in when you’re homeschooling young children.
When the boys were all very young, I felt like a supercharged homeschool teacher one day and then the next day I wasn’t sure if I was a classical homeschooler, Charlotte Mason follower or if I even knew enough to make an informed choice about the type of approach we should be doing.
Look at some practical teaching tips for each learning style.
From Extraordinary Homeschool Educator to Ordinary Mom and Back Again
Look at a few tips that will help you to find center again when you waffle between extraordinary homeschool educator and ordinary mom:
Listen to your gut. Yes, trust your gut about whether you think you should be doing more in your day, but only after you take a week to journal what you have done.
What I learned when I felt this way was that I needed to take an inventory of my day. Don’t leave it up to memory as to what you did for the day, week or month.
Big ideas come out of the time you take to journal or write down what you actually accomplished. What do I mean by this? From my insecurity, I created my 7 Step Homeschool Planner as a visual daily reminder of what I was doing for each day.
I needed a visual way to prove to myself what we were accomplishing for the day despite the mayhem created by my then two year old destroyer.
In looking back over my day, I was able to see that I got the essential skills like reading, writing and arithmetic done.
Not every day was such a fun filled crafty day for the boys, but it was solid learning. Young children from about 7 years old and younger only need about 1 to 1 1/2 hours of meaningful learning time.
This means that somewhere during the day and despite the interruptions from your toddler, that you need to give them your 1:1 time for just 1 to 1 1/2 hours each day. The secret is that it does not have to be all at once and you don’t want it to be at this age. Consistency is the key to plodding along each day.
Many small bites of learning each day equals a life-long learner.
Breaking up moments of learning into chunks also allows for a young child’s natural need to learn through play.
The only way to be sure that you are getting meaningful learning time in each day is to chart the progress.
Don’t Forget What Brought You to Homeschooling. In trying to find the middle ground in teaching, it is important that you hold dear the principles and values that brought you to homeschooling.
When I would hold my 3 and 5 year old sons in my lap, the vision of them being 18 and almost 20 year old men seemed very far off. Don’t let your eyes dim on picturing the beautiful woman and men your children will grow up to be. That is the bigger picture.
Barring any developmental issues, your children will learn to read, write and do math well if you do not quit. Beyond the basic academics, it is up to you as to what else is needed in the day to be enough.
Are your goals for your children not only clearly in mind, but written down?
For example, whether your children go to college, take some vocational course, get married or if you set their path on mission service, obstacles are always part of any journey.
Making the commitment and sticking to the long term goal of homeschooling is what counts despite the setbacks.
Is it a Prompt to Change your Homeschool Method? On the flip side, if we are not careful we can become curriculum driven and drudge forward, but our children may be dreading the time spent together.
Sometimes, we may need to cut in half what we are expecting for the day so that a child has time to process what we are teaching them at the moment.
Without belittling any struggle you may be going through, homeschooling can be quite simple. There is no need to worry about the number of hours it takes, but to focus on what you do during those hours.
Don’t watch the clock each day, but watch how your child develops through each skill set.
It is normal for a child to read anywhere from about 4 to 7 years of age and their skill set will have variety too. They could be reading anything from basic sight word books to chapter books. It is all within a range of normal.
If you have a gifted learner, you may need to switch your approach so that learning is not boring for him. Look at stop switching your curriculum, switch your course of study.
Too, remember if your child is real young and you feel they are gifted, it is much better to build their foundation by enriching it horizontally instead of always going up a grade level. What do I mean by this? Remember their age because they only have one childhood.
Do not pile up the academic load reserved for a much older child, but feed their insatiable need for knowledge by enriching the topic you are currently studying about. Build it out and take different avenues down that one topic.
I learned this the hard way by almost burning out my oldest son by the second grade. Propelling a high-achieving child can put undo pressure on them during the formative years and they may adopt a perfectionism streak that is hard to conquer later.
If your child is high school level, as a rule of thumb for what is enough, look at what your local state or country requires.
When my two older boys entered high school, I used a simple approach like typing what they did each day on my computer or if my time ran short for the week, I would type some notes at the end of the week to track our progress.Keep it simple.
Comparing what our local public high school required helped me to design a plan for their high school years and to find my middle ground for academics.
Evaluating our homeschool progress is normal.
One year too I thought I was an unschooler. Later, I determined that what our day was lacking was a more relaxed approached. Too, my sons’ desire to stay on a subject until their appetite for learning was satisfied helped me to see that I needed to adopt many of the concepts of the unit study approach.
What I figured out was that I didn’t completely have to ditch my workbooks because I liked them, I just needed balance in my day because I didn’t want to be constantly micromanaging my children.
Too, I was part of the problem because I wasn’t satisfying what I needed as the teacher. I like detailed schedules, plans and thrive in organization. It calmed me when I had a plan in place.
So it wasn’t necessary for me to prove to every homeschooler what my children were doing.It was enough for me. It was my job to be sure they were doing enough for the goals my family set. I wasn’t homeschooling to please my parents, the next homeschooler or any of my friends who questioned my ability.
In the end what counts is how wonderful your children turn out to be.
What about you? Do you feel moments where you could rival any veteran teacher with your sharp and detailed lesson plans and then moments where you have sheer panic with no lesson planning?
Hugs and love ya,
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