For most of us, school is on, which means we are back in the books and getting used to our new year, curriculum, and routines. No doubt you’ve been surfing the web for what you may have missed, new ideas, and fun strategies to use in your elementary homeschooling day. And that makes sense, because homeschooling is growing and technology has opened up a world of new tools and resources that can be accessed anywhere, any time. As an elementary homeschooler, it pays to pay attention to homeschool trends that can provide the best educational experience for your child (and yourself!). But who has time to constantly surf the Internet or social media for the latest methods or new ideas? We have saved you some surf time and compiled a list of the top trends in elementary homeschooling that will make your homeschooling life easier, richer, and more fun. So, come ride the wave with us!
- The first “trend” is one that has been around since the time social media consisted of face-to-face conversations and riding your horse to the next homestead: FREE STUFF! It’s been said that you get what you pay for, but there are countless free elementary homeschooling resources at the tip of your mouse. Just visit Pinterest or use any search engine to find free apps, programs, tips, chats, and online sites. Your student can learn to type, explore Egypt, read books, and print out maps and notebook pages for the cost of . . . well, nothing.
- Blended learning This includes both online and print resources, not just online. It entails a satisfying, engaging mixture of elements. If you are homeschooling more than one child, mixing up your approaches can give your child a bit more independence and free up some of your time to spend with your other children that may need more attention. Textbooks still exist and are great launching pads for further online exploration!
- Homeschool programming Your child knows how to use the computer (like, right at this moment!), so why not learn how to create websites, video games, and apps, and learn the basics of coding — all from home? There are programs that allow you to include computer science in your curriculum even if you have no background in programming. Even students as young as eight (about 4th grade) can begin developing websites.
- Journaling Nature speaks to us and sparks our curiosity, so why not write down what it is saying? Jotting down thoughts and impressions, as well as questions and answers, reinforces learning and is a great way to awaken memories. Nature journaling also ignites your child’s passion for art and science, allowing them to see and display the beauty of the world in a way that lasts. (Makes for a great portfolio, too!)
- “Bloom” where you are planted Bloom’s Taxonomy is a model of learning objectives that begins with rote learning of facts and climbs to the student creating new projects based on that knowledge. The latest trend is to start at the top level by having your child create or work on a project, asking questions and solving problems. Isn’t that generally how life works? This approach tickles their imagination and takes advantage of the flexibility of homeschooling.
- Manipulatives for everything Keeping hands busy while learning adds dimension to their comprehension. Foam clocks, play money, blocks, building kits, stuffed animals, and more, can be found at stores and online. Generally, upper grades will have a more worksheet-oriented year, so incorporating hands-on activities can keep school more fun. Science classes are especially suited to cool experiments like kitchen chemistry, Alka Seltzer rockets, Slime, and homemade lava lamps (that could teach them a bit of ancient history as well!) Check out these FREE lessons on how to incorporate LEGO®s into your elementary homeschooling.
- Live Online Classes These are full classes, not just bits-and-pieces resources. Online classes allow class participation in the comfort of your home while you take a break from teaching, and add socialization to your elementary homeschooling day. Live online classes include fun courses that go beyond core curriculum, as well as fun hands-on projects and other extras. Bridgeway Academy offers complete live online classes, taught and fully-prepared by highly-qualified, experienced teachers. These classes encourage them to work diligently and more independently at their speed and learning style.
- Play! In my day, playing during class was punishable by adding your toy to the teacher’s collection of yo-yos and chattering teeth. Now, play is a part of engaged learning. Supervised play:
- develops the imagination.
- ignites creativity.
- sharpens problem-solving.
- is the place where children make sense of what they’ve heard and learned.
- is how learning is cemented into long-term memory.
Following the latest trends can ensure that you are up-to-date on elementary homeschooling tools, tips, and techniques, assuring the best education for your child! Who knows? You may be the next trendsetter!
What trends do you notice, suggest, or would you like to be a part of? Let us know!