Playing An Active Role In Your Children's Homeschooling
By Donna L. Miller
Homeschooling is an option that many parents choose when they feel that, for whatever reason, their child will not be getting the best education in a public or private school system. Homeschooling allows for a variety of curriculum and teaching techniques to be applied that suit your child's particular needs - often that is unlikely to happen in a large classroom setting. One of the benefits - and also one of the difficulties - in homeschooling is the extreme amount of flexibility it affords. In order to homeschool successfully, it is important that you understand, and decide how to handle this conundrum.
While there are many benefits to homeschooling, it also requires discipline. In the same way that working from home can be difficult, homeschooling can be difficult because it requires you make a distinction between home and school while still remaining at home. Like almost everybody, there are going to be times in your family life when you are extremely busy or dealing with serious distractions. It can be tempting at these moments to try and multitask: that is, to both educate your children and deal with other aspects of your life. There can be a tendency among homeschooling parents to place an assignment in front of their children and then leave the room to engage in other activities.
If you do this you will severely limit the value of your child's education. When homeschooling you should think about public and private school systems, and use them only as a benchmark for reference, but not as a strict and limited tool of measurement. You should be trying to surpass, or at the very least match, the level of education your child would receive in one of these environments. Now, if you think about a public school classroom, you'll see that the teacher is always in the room. It is one of the most fundamental rules of teaching -- even if the students have been assigned work to complete on their own in class time, the teacher remains in the room in order to assist the students. You may not have to sit continually with an older child, but being accessible is vital. Accessibility is not limited to being in the home, but also being available to drop what you are doing with out irritation should your child need assistance.
You should also adhere to this principle. Children learn by example, in subtle ways that are not always within our control. If you assign your children work and leave to go do other things you are sending a message to them that the schooling is not of a highest priority for you. Even if they cannot articulate it, this negative message in terms of your priorities will affect the children's attitude towards their education.
When homeschooling your children, the hours that you spend teaching should be hours in which your children's education are the number one priority. Errands or other household duties should be left for "after-school" hours. When "school is in," you should be to. Of course, there will be many instances where you will be trying to get your children to learn how to work independently, but at these times you should still be physically, mentally and emotionally available for questions or your children's need for assistance. Independent learning is not a wise option at all when your child is still young or new to homeschooling. Being an independent learner is a growth process. As a homeschooled student approaches high school and prepares for college, some subjects and topics are best to be self-directed, but never ignored by the parent.
By always being present during your children's education you make them understand that their education is a serious thing, not simply something to occupy them while you take care of more pressing activities.
About The Author
Donna L. Miller is a Homeschooling Mother of three High School students. She is a former Private School teacher, and a Certified YMCA Summer and After School Camp Director, and Family/Teen Program Director. She has been homeschooling for 10 years, and moderates a popular forum at: http://www.homeschoolheart.net/forum.