No matter how long we’ve been homeschooling, what curriculum we’re using, or what our teaching style is, all homeschoolers are alike in one way: we are parents and guardians teaching our own children. And, while there are bountiful benefits to homeschooling, sometimes the parent-child relationship does more harm than help when it comes to hitting the books. In part II of our Homeschool Battles series, we’re tackling how to get your homeschooler to follow your lead as a teacher. Because let’s face it, we all want to avoid homeschool battles whenever possible.
Ready to fight fair? Follow these tips to stop homeschool battles in their tracks.
Step 1: Have Confidence in Yourself. You may not have a teaching degree and years of experience, but you’ve been teaching your child for years. Who taught him how to talk, walk, and use a spoon? Who taught her how to calm down when frustrated, or love those who are unkind to her? You did! You’ve got what it takes to teach because you’re already your child’s first teacher. What you lack is confidence. Homeschooling is going to stretch and challenge you, but you can do it! And, you don’t have to go it alone. Find out about homeschooling with support so that you can feel even more confident as your learner’s guide this year.
Step 2: Know Your Student. Successful homeschooling starts with knowing your students and being a good coach. Good coaches know their players’ strengths and weaknesses. What’s his learning style? When is the best time to tackle tough subjects? How do you build learning that’s engaging? When you know your learner, you can make better decisions for the day, curriculum, scheduling, etc. Identifying that your daughter needs a break at 10 a.m. each morning enables you to make changes to your schedule to stop a meltdown. Understanding that your high schooler struggles with note-taking enables you to get the tools you need before the school starts. Take the time to know your child’s learning style and preferences. The best offense is a good defense, so know who you’re teaching so that you can stop homeschool battles before they start!
Step 3: Make Smart Choices, For and With Them. Give yourself the best start in homeschooling or to this school year by being smart and choosing curriculum, activities and field trips that will please your students and meet their needs. Frustration is the number one cause of learning battles. Choose curriculum based on your child’s learning style and their academic needs. Take breaks when the going gets tough and come back to the lesson later when you both have cooler heads. Choose flexibility because that’s one gift all homeschoolers have!
And, share power! While you’re the parent and you need to be in control of your child’s learning in many ways, you don’t have to make every decision! Give your students the ability to make choices for themselves. Include them on schedule making, enrichment choices and everyday decisions like what to have for lunch, when to take breaks, etc. The more you include your students in the decisions of the day, the more they will want to follow you as their fearless leader!
Step 4: Lead by Example (and get help when you need it!). If you want your learners to follow your lead, you must lead by example. The hard truth is that our children are watching us every moment of the day. If we are frustrated, they will be too. If we are discouraging and negative, they will be discouraged, giving you the perfect recipe for homeschool battles. Lead your children by example and model the attitude and character you want to see from them. They may not like every decision you make, but they will respect you because of your character. And, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’ve hit a homeschool battle that you can’t seem to solve. Just because you’re homeschooling doesn’t mean you’re isolated. If the curriculum is causing homeschool battles, let an expert help you make a change. If you need more support, ask for it!
Homeschool battles don’t have to be a foregone conclusion! Use these strategies to ward off homeschool battles and ensure you have a smooth, successful year. What’s your biggest homeschool battle and how do you avoid it? Tell us in a comment below!