If your homeschool is a very relaxed and not so structured environment for your child to learn in, it sometimes can be easy to allow the child to get lazy about doing the work. It is up to you the parent to keep the learning going and figure out how to keep your child’s interest in learning. Seems to be the older the child gets the easier it is to allow them to not keep up. If they were ever to go back into public school they could be behind and not keep up with others their age, that would be embarrassing to the child.
It’s easy as a parent to allow this to happen when homeschooling, you get tired of fighting with your child about getting up and getting school work done. It can become a pain and will cause homeschool burnout fast. As a parent you want what is best for your child and you want the best education possible, but you also don’t want to fight about it with your child. So what is a parent to do?
When this happens more and more frequently you need to take a step back and look at your approach to what is being taught and also take a look at your child’s learning style. It may have changed over the years of homeschooling. When this happens it can be aggravating for both you and your child. It doesn’t mean you have to scrap everything you have planned or that you have bought, it simply means you need to change things up and come at it with a different approach.
Children’s personalities and style in clothes change as they get older, so does their learning style. Their attention span may be less on some subjects and longer on others, depending on their current interests. The child who hates reading now fights with you to even read 1 page or really has a hard time grasping math. So take a step back and determine how you can make reading more fun for your child or how you can bring math into reality.
Stop and think about when you were in school, were there not times you hated certain subjects or were just down right bored with them? What if the teacher had changed things up and came at those subjects with a fresh approach to keep you interested, would it have helped? We as parents who homeschool need to do the same thing when our child gets into one of those ruts. Step back, regroup and come at it from a fresh approach.
A fresh approach may mean getting help from other homeschool families or friends or neighbors who may be able to help with a subject. It is never a bad thing to ask for help while homeschooling, remember it is for your child’s education! Remember to include your child in the decision on making a change, they may have that fresh approach you are looking for to make it more interesting!
The key to homeschooling is to keep your child interested so they don’t become behind but still keep them interested so they get the best education at home possible.
When thinking of home-schooling your kids, there are a number of benefits that you automatically think of. It’s great if you work from home and have flexible working hours. You get a real sense of control over your time and you also get to spend loads of extra time with the kids, something most parents can only dream of. But don’t be fooled, there are a number of drawbacks too and in order to make sure home-schooling is for you, a lot of organizing needs to go on beforehand. It can become incredibly stressful and you have to make sure you are well equipped to deal with this. If you are a parent working from home and home-schooling is an option for you, here are five tips to help you get started.
Consistency is key
When you first start out, chances are you will have no idea where to begin when it comes to managing your work and your children’s studies. You can set strict schedules but chances are they will be broken at the start. Until you know exactly what it’s like to home school, you can’t predict times and really plan your day. So when something you had originally planned doesn’t work out, adapt. You and your family will have your own rhythm and over time this will become clear. It doesn’t matter what works best for you as long as you keep it consistent. There needs to be some sort of regularity in order for children to learn and parents to work. Don’t worry if it takes you a few attempts to get it right, things will all fall into place soon enough.
Don’t neglect your relationships
If you are married, keeping your marriage alive should always be a priority. In the same way that you need to have a consistent work habit to rely on, it’s also important to have a great working relationship with your partner. Business, money worries and stress can all strain a relationship and you can often become so consumed with work and worrying that it becomes hard to take a step back and remember what is important. Make sure you set aside time for each other away from being a parent or a business partner, this will help keep the spark alive.
Organization! Organization! Organization!
Your ability to manage work, life and the kids can be very dependent on your ability to keep everything organized. This is something you should do from that start and revisit as often as you need to. Simple things like an effective filing system can make everything so much easier to manage. One of the main draws of working from home is being in control, but you need to be organized for this to work. Implement small changes in your and the kids’ routines to help each have a sense of ownership and to make sure everyone is doing their bit. Taking the time to set this all up properly can save you a lot of hassle in the future, meaning you have more time to enjoy with your family.
Have clear, well-communicated boundaries.
Regularly being distracted by small things is not practical for you or your kids and can make you less effective when carrying out certain tasks. This is where clear boundearies come into play. If you deal a lot with clients and partners via video conferencing, it won’t do anything for your reputation if the other party can see your kids playing in the background. If you need time to make an important call, make sure they know they are not to interrupt you. This could be as simple as having a do not disturb sigh on the door while you are busy. But you need to also make it clear when they can approach you and ask for help. Letting your family distract you when you have deadline to meet won’t do you any favors. It might also be a good idea to set aside a certain point of the day for family time. This might just be something simple like not eating at your computer and having lunch together, as a family.
Speak to others in your situation
Everyone needs some sort of support system in place and it is always a great idea to speak to others in your situation, especially if you are just starting out. You can be sure that all the things you are going through have been experienced by another family at some point. Having a support network around will help you overcome your problems and work towards creating the perfect work/life balance. You may also find that there are activities that the kids can go to during the week, freeing up your time and also keeping the kids happy.
One thing never to forget is that there is no right or wrong way to work. There might be things that you and your family have managed to perfect and work well for you but might seem utterly bonkers to the next family. Always try to ignore what you think you should be doing and instead, focus on what works best for you!
My son Kevin thought my homeschool grades were stupid. “Who’s going to believe the grades my Mom gives me?” he would say. Then he took classes at community college! The professors gave credit for class attendance, participation, discussion, and homework. If the students scored poorly on a test, they were allowed to “drop” 1 test. A teacher declared that the highest grade on every test was the “100%” grade, and all the other students were graded on a sliding scale. I had won Kevin over! “You have been correct Mom! Your grades have been a lot tougher than college!”
Grading vs. Mastery
First of all, should you give a grade according to assessments alone, then you’re doing your student a disservice. In high schools, including as some colleges, students might never be judged according to test scores alone. After all, a test only measures what you do not know. We are trying to express what our kids DO know. A grade is generally a mix of points, and if we do not grade having a mix of items also, we are putting our children a disadvantage.
As homeschoolers, we tend to move on following our children mastering the material. If you’re a parent that sends math problems, English papers or tests back to the student with “please correct this” messages, then you’ve high expectations. I recommend that when your student does “meet expectations” that you simply give them 100% for that test or assignment. If it means you’re giving them a 4.0 in each class, that’s fine – as long as they meet your high expectations.
How do you give a grade when you do not give any tests??
The key is to consider how you DO measure your kids. Just between you and me (don’t tell!) the methods we measure are often the same things we nag about. Isn’t that a dirty little secret? Think about these phrases: “are you done with your reading yet?” (Yes? Literature Reading, 100%.) Or “have you finished your spelling words yet?” (Yes? Spelling Practice, 100%). Occasionally the items that we nag at them NOT to do are also methods that we evaluate. For instance, “Kevin, will you PLEASE leave that chessboard alone!” (Daily Chess Exercise, 100%) or “Alex, get away from the piano!” (Piano Exercise, 100%).
Whenever you think of how you evaluate, consider every thing they do that you simply call “school.” In our homeschool, I only graded tests in math, foreign language, and science. That was mainly a matter of convenience for me – these had been the curricula that came with tests! For all 28 of our other classes, I utilized other methods to evaluate my kids. What would they do in their every day work? For English, I decided to evaluate their reading and writing. For reading, I further decided to grade on areas like: reading, discussion, analysis, and research. For writing, I evaluated them on each paper, so I listed every paper by the title or topic (Emancipation Proclamation, for instance.) I didn’t really “grade” the paper. I just edited it after they wrote it, and sent it back to them for corrections. Once it was carried out to my satisfaction, then I gave them 100%. Other times, I didn’t list the actual titles of the papers they had written. Instead, I would list the Type papers they had written: essay, research report, short story, or poetry. Finally, I decided the testing they did every year for their annual assessment was also an evaluation. The areas on these tests had been “vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, mechanics, and expression.” For every item, they scored grade level or above, which met my expectations (yup, another 100%!)
Whichever way I evaluated them, if they met my expectations, they received 100%. You are able to view a grading chart taken from a page in my son’s Comprehensive Record. Just click on “Sample Course Description” on this page.
What areas do you use when you evaluate your kids?
You are able to give a grade for every test, quiz, paper, or lab report. Think about also these general ideas: reading, reports, discussion, research, every day work, oral presentation, composition, practice, performance, note taking, attendance, and narration. You might want to provide a grade for every activity they complete within a course. For instance, you could give a grade for each activity you count as PE hours: swim team, skiing, soccer, free weights, health, and softball. For music, you may want to provide a grade for lessons, exercise, and performance. In history, you could give a separate grade for every report, paper, or essay they wrote on historical topics.
I would keep conventional grades in Biology – mostly since Apologia Curriculum provides tests. Even so, my students would much more for that course than just take a test, and I wanted that reflected in their grade. I supplied a numerical percentage grade for every test, grading as suggested through the curriculum supplier. The other major activity in that course was their science lab. I decided to provide them a grade for each science lab they completed. If they met expectations, their grade was 100%. They didn’t always meet my expectations, however. When my children did a lab write-up, I expected them to provide me a paragraph describing what they did, along with a diagram, chart, or sketch of the experiment. There had been instances that I felt they hadn’t done their best. At times, I would give them 80%, or 90%, depending on my mood. Yes, it was arbitrary! But they had NOT met my expectations, and I wanted their grade to reflect that.
Don’t all homeschoolers get a 4.0?
“Mom knows best” sometimes indicates that a grade will be a “B” or lower. When you honestly know that your child has performed at a lower than “A” level, do not be afraid of how it will seem on the transcript. Honesty will constantly serve our kids best, and a B can demonstrate thoughtful consideration of your grades. It says that all your grades are real, and you’ve considered every 1 carefully. You will find times when your honest grade will contain a B (or lower) on a test, or paper. Make certain the total grade on the transcript will accurately reflect every thing your student does, and each area that you evaluate their work. If they have an “A” for effort in a variety of ways (discussion, every day work, narration, research, lab work, etc.) be certain to include every thing they do. In the end, if the transcript grade is still less than an “A” then go ahead and write it down. There is no permanent damage from that! If it’s honest, write it down.
I know that my grading system is 1 of numerous “right ways” to accomplish things. As the parent, you are able to choose the “right way” to grade your homeschool. I’m giving you this glimpse into my homeschool evaluations, simply because I believe it truly helps to see what somebody else has carried out. This is just a sample, for you to look at and adapt for yourself. When I started thinking about transcripts, I loved seeing each sample I could find! If you would like more samples, you may wish to see our “Sample Comprehensive Record.” It lists each class, course description, and grading criteria for every high school class in our homeschool.
At times it’s appropriate to present the nuances of the grades to a college, and you need to show that your “homeschool 4.0” just isn’t a number pulled out of thin air. You would like to demonstrate thoughtful consideration to the methods you evaluated your student. You would like to display your standards and your approach of grading. Then let the college choose how they will use the grades, knowing that you simply did your very best to supply them with the information they require.
Homeschool grading is an art, not a science. Do not feel like you’ve to accomplish every thing exactly the way I did. Remember! Mom and Dad know best – particularly how to evaluate their own kids. You are able to do this! And I’m here to assist!
Lee Binz – About the Author:
The HomeScholar’s http://www.thehomescholar.com/easy-truth.phpHomeschool Transcript Solution will show you how to create an AMAZING transcript that will impress the colleges! Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, is a homeschool high school expert. Both her two boys earned full-tuition scholarships at their first choice university. Learn how she did it on TheHomeScholar.com.
Is it because you don’t like or agree with the curriculum of the public schools? Or maybe you don’t want your child to be exposed to peer pressure before you’ve taught your child right and wrong?
Possibly it’s because you’d like for your child to attend private school but you just don’t have the finances to afford it.
Another possibility is that your child is a special needs child, maybe slower than normal, and you don’t trust the public schools to give him/her the special attention that you know they will need.
Whatever the reason, you’ve decided that you, as a parent, can do a better job of attending to and nurturing your child’s educational growth and learning than other alternatives available to you.
If you’re new to this, you’ll find that the biggest problem that you’ll encounter is that there’s almost no way to generalize the home school concept, because each case is different. There is no right and wrong. In fact – probably one of the unstated reasons you’ve chosen to do home schooling and one of the main benefits is that you get to pretty much create your own set of right and wrong rules.
You set the curriculum. And depending on what state you live in, you choose the instructional materials, the books, the hours, and so on.
And on the negative side, when you run into difficulties with your students (i.e., your kids) you and your family will have to resolve them yourself, with little or no help from the state.
No matter what your approach there are two things you are going to have to do:
1. You’re going to have to educate yourself about home schooling. This means renting or buying home school educational dvds. You should also make it a point to read books written by ordinary people who have gone through the very things you’re about to so you can avoid making their mistakes with your kids.
2. There is no nationwide agreement on what a home school accreditation program should look like or include. Each state, municipality, and school district is different. Unavoidably, you’re going to have to become familiar with and abide by the statutes governing homeschooling in your particular state.
Aside from those two things, I think the basic thing you can give your home school child is a loving and supporting “classroom” environment .
The Covenant Home School Resource Center started as a full Christian school in 1978 but changed to its present configuration in 2001. Even back in its early days the Covenant Home School Resource Center was known for its openness to home schoolers desiring part time supplemental classes. Karen Borg, the director, had been a teacher and principle in the original school and took much of that experience and knowledge into the Covenant Home School Resource Center.
Covenant Home School Resource Center – A Brief History
In early 2000 plans were being laid out to develop the Covenant Home School Resource Center. Over the next year there was much discussion and few meetings and workshops that were scheduled. By the end of the year the Covenant Home School Resource Center had a sizable collection of book, a 1600 square foot building, and lots of faith and dedication.
With this they opened their doors in August of 2001 and prepared to do whatever they could to help the families of today instruct their kids in the Christian way at home. Fast forward a year to April of 2002 and with over 200 members’ families and over seventy children taking classes in everything from science to music the Covenant Home School Resource Center was in full swing.
The library was full with hundreds of text books for the kids to use and additional workshops for all the basic requirements had been set up. By the next year the school had more then doubled in size and by the third year it had reached its peak with close to 200 class members. This did not include the hundreds of children who took advantage of what the Covenant Home School Resource Center and continued their education at home.
Donations of books and other resources flowed in and the school was able to keep up to date and well stocked on all the materials to keep the kids ready and prepared for whatever they needed. As you can see the Covenant Home School Resource Center is a shining example of what is possible when people are dedicated to a cause and work together. Another is Midlands home school resource center.
From a grass roots movement to a full institution the Covenant Home School Resource Center is there to help families and children a like get the education the want in the way that they want. In this time and age it is important that we instruct our children in what is right, and the Covenant Home School Resource Center is there to support them.
Has your homeschooling routine become dull and uninspiring? Do your children groan, complain and beg you for frequent breaks? Here are some simple homeschool ideas that will put the fun back into your homeschool curriculum!
Reading and language arts are essential components of every homeschool program. You don’t have to assign workbook exercises to help your child build valuable reading skills. Play crossword puzzles, read joke books, have a family book club or poetry night. Post a word you want your children to learn on your refrigerator every week. Keep track of how often the word is used in context and give a prize to the person who uses it the most frequently.
Teaching math is fun and easy when you reinforce its value in everyday life. Show your children ways you use math when budgeting, shopping, playing sports or traveling. Building is a great way to teach math and geometry. Help your children build a toy box or clubhouse, or work together on household repairs. Younger children can build with Legos, blocks or K’nex.
Journaling, letter writing and scrap booking are great activities for budding writers. Reluctant writers may want to practice writing jokes or use their computer skills to create a blog or website. Creating a newsletter is a great family writing project. Assign different tasks to each child, or have children work as a team. This newsletter will serve as a record of events and activities your family has enjoyed.
Head outdoors to give your children a break from their regular routine. Sit under a tree and read your favorite read aloud, complete assignments on an outdoor picnic table. Take a walk or roller blade between lessons, or eat lunch on a blanket in the backyard. This will not only give your children a boost of fresh air, it gives them a chance to observe nature – that’s science!
Divide your family into teams and choose a subject for debate. Help your children research the topic and prepare convincing arguments. Your children will learn about current events and history, and develop valuable public speaking skills. Instead of choosing a winner, reward both teams for a job well done!
Don’t forget to play homeschool games like Chess, card games and board games with your children. Adding a game night to your weekly routine will provide your family with valuable opportunities for learning and bonding.
Although many parents are concerned about socialization, there are many homeschool activities available for children who are educated at home. When choosing homeschooling activities, look for activities that are inexpensive and age appropriate. Here are some places you can find activities for your children:
Church – Church activities are not always limited to church members. Many churches offer sports, Sunday school, choir, drama, vacation Bible school and other programs to residents of the community.
Sports – Homeschoolers can participate in sports through the recreation centers, church programs, competitive leagues and home school leagues. In some states, homeschooled children can participate in programs offered by their local public schools.
Private Lessons – Many home school students take dance, music, skating, swimming, gymnastics or art lessons during daytime hours at local studios.
Civic Organizations – 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and similar organizations welcome participation from children who are home educated.
Support Groups – Homeschool support groups sponsor a variety of social and educational activities like park days, science clubs, debate teams and field trips.
Libraries – Public libraries often offer book clubs, story times, writer’s groups and other educational programs for homeschoolers. Some libraries provide local support groups with advertising and meeting space.
Your children can also volunteer for a local food bank, homeless shelter, nursing home, hospital or after school program. High school students may want to intern in a field of interest or work at a part time job.
Because there are so many opportunities available to homeschoolers, it is tempting to take on too many commitments. Consider travel time and preparation time when choosing activities, and be considerate of younger members of your family who will have to sit and wait for older siblings.
Discuss the program’s requirements and expectations for your behavior with your children, and agree upon a time period for remaining in the program before trying something new.
If you have decided to homeschool your children and you have decided further that you want a Christian based curriculum as opposed to a secular curriculum, then you might want to take the next step and consider Sonlight Homeschool.
According to its website, “Sonlight Curriculum is a Christian company specializing in literature-based homeschool curriculum programs” for preschool and grades K-12 and is based on what Sonlight’s website describes as “Literature-rich homeschooling.” Because of its heavy dependence on literature in his textbooks, Sonlight requires that its parents “read aloud” to their students.
Right away, it would seem that Sonlight’s Homeschool requires more time than does other Christian-based homeschools. However, at its website Sonlight declares that “Despite our emphasis on reading aloud to your children in the younger years, Sonlight takes a relatively small amount of time when compared to classroom school.” In addition, although it is Christian-based, Sonlight promises a diversity of opinions and that it tries to present various sides to an an issue. This latter position is a critical one for parents who want to educate their children and not indoctrinate them.
While Sonlight promises a diversity of opinions in the presentation of the subject matter of its textbooks, there are serious questions as to diversity in the sources of that literature and the people presented in its textbooks. Although this author did not review any of Sonlight’s textbooks other than advertisement blurbs, a review of Sonlight’s website did not reveal the diversity of people representative of American society. Parents will sure want to explore this matter further before deciding on Sonlight as their homeschool provider.
One great benefit of Sonlight’s website is its link to 29 objections to Sonlight and the company’s responses to those objections. This is a rich resource for parents in making up their minds. If you have decided to homeschool your children and you want a Christian-based curriculum, then Sonlight Homeschool is well worth considering.
Many school districts now require homeschoolers to present portfolios showing their student’s progress in an organized fashion. This is actually a very convenient method of recording whenever it is done properly. Here are some ideas on how to create, maintain, and present your homeschool portfolio for a successful assessment, evaluation and review.
First of all, it is important to have a firm grasp on precisely what a homeschool portfolio is. Basically, a homeschool portfolio is a collection of materials that are used in order to showcase what your child has learned over the course of the “school year.” This is important because numerous states require an annual assessment of homeschooled students either via testing or the presentation of a portfolio. While it may seem that keeping a portfolio is only good in so far as you need to comply with the law. This is not the case however. Portfolios can also help parents and their children to record their progress and achievements. This becomes even more important once a child has reached high school and needs a diploma.
Now that we understand the importance of a portfolio, it is also important to understand that there is no right or wrong way in which to create a portfolio. It is up to the parent and/or child what materials the portfolio will contain. However, it is a good idea to choose a variety of material in order to reflect what the child has learned, experienced and accomplished throughout the year. Some items that should be included in your portfolio are:
A journal which contains notes about activities and the progress that has been made.
A list of resources (ie books, computer software, games, toys and outside classes).
Samples of the child’s work (ie samples of creative writing and drawings, text book or workbook pages, and if possible you may include audio or video tapes of your child singing, playing a musical instrument, reading aloud, or taking part in a a dramatic performance – pictures will also sometimes work well in place of audio or video tapes).
Photos of field trips, artwork, projects and family life.
Brochures and booklets from field trips and other activities.
A list of books that the child has read including both the title and the author.
A list of your goals for the year.
While this may seem quite overwhelming, you’d honestly be surprised at how easily you can accomplish this when you start preparing your portfolio at the beginning of the year. Simply use a three ring binder and add paper for your journaling. Start off by listing a few of your goals for the year and what resources you’ll be using to achieve those goals (these can be modified throughout the year as needed). Then begin collecting samples of work, organizing them by subject, and punching holes in them to place them in your binder. Always have at least a throw away camera at hand so that you can take pictures of anything that you’d like that your child does (ie reading, playing, dancing). You’ll also want to take pictures at field trips as well as pictures of your child’s projects and creations. These pictures can either be placed in a photo album or if you’re feeling really craftsy you could organize them into a scrapbook. You’ll also want to make sure to hold onto any brochures or other paper items that you collect while on an educational outing. These can be easily placed in clear see-through sheet protectors. This is also a good time to begin accumulating a list of books that are being read.
Once you have put together the beginnings of your portfolio, don’t stop there. Regular maintenance (I suggest weekly as it will help you to write your lesson plans for the following week) should include regular journal entries and an ongoing collection of work samples, photos and whatever else you wish to include. Some school districts will require a quarterly assessment throughout your homeschool year. This is a time for parents and children to reflect upon their progress and accomplishments from the previous months. Yet, even if your school district doesn’t require a quarterly review, you won’t want to wait until the end of the year to scramble and race to put together a portfolio that your school district will approve of. Neither you nor your child deserve having to go through the unneeded stress of having to sort through all of the material that has been collected throughout the year.
When it is time for review you may choose to remove some of the materials from your portfolio. You will find that some of these things simply do not properly reflect what you’ve accomplished throughout the year. If/when you decide to weed through your portfolio, you need to remember that the purpose of the review is to provide a general overview of the homeschool year, demonstrate that the child is engaged in homeschooling and that progress is being made.
The portfolio review can be exciting since it provides both parents and children with a time to talk about what they’ve been doing at home. When discussing this with your child, you may find it helpful to write down a summary of the items that you wish to highlight during your year before the review. For instance, if your child learned to read or master a skill you may wish to point this out to the reviewer. Of course, you should never view your portfolio review as a time for you to be judged or ridiculed. It is a time to listen, learn and support from your reviewer. Your child does not need to be present during this time. However, if your child wants a chance to “brag” about their accomplishments and progress to other homeschoolers, then this review is a perfect opportunity for them to do so.
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