Wednesday, June 21, 2023

How Do I Teach in My Homeschool?

A Mom's Quest to Teach: How Do I Teach in My Homeschool?

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New and seasoned homeschoolers are always interested in how others homeschool. Whether they want to know because they are starting on the homeschool journey themselves or they want to see if there is a better way to homeschool, the goings on in other homeschool households are always fun to read about! And as we modify and adapt our homeschool lessons and days as our children grow, we might need some new tips and tools, too. 

How I Teach a High Schooler 

I was a high school history teacher for several years, so homeschooling a high schooler should be easy, right? Well, the skills and methods needed to teach a classroom of teenagers are a bit different from those required to teach one high schooler who happens to be your stepson. The differences between teaching in a public school setting and a homeschool setting make almost all of the skills I acquired as a high school teacher unnecessary.

When you are homeschooling your high schooler, you have a relationship with that child already. Whether or not you homeschooled them from their first days of school or started at some point along the way, your bond with your child is stronger than any bond you will form with a student. Parents will also find that a lot of the problems of the high school classroom are not there in the same way. There will be distractions but not necessarily from other high schoolers. It is easier to discuss the common things that pop up when teaching high schoolers. From body odor to relationships, you have more authority as a parent, so you can more easily address these delicate topics. 

So how did I teach our high schooler? We used as our primary curriculum for 10th-12th grades. Our oldest joined his younger siblings in the homeschooling journey after he had attended public school from preschool to ninth grade. Since is an online curriculum, our son and I utilized email and shared documents as a way of sharing lesson plans, materials, assignments, and more. 

Takeaways from homeschooling a high schooler: 
  • High schoolers are pretty self-sufficient. 
  • Even though they can do things on their own, you still should check in with them. Whether that is through reminders sent or daily chats, you can easily find their struggles and missing assignments through communication. 
  • Communication is key. 
  • Allow them to participate in course selection when possible. 
  • Don't be afraid to change things if you need to during the homeschool year. 
If you want to read more about how we picked courses, set up a schedule, and more, I have shared several posts over the years: 

A Mom's Quest to Teach: How Do I Teach in My Homeschool? photograph of Memoria Press Latin curriculum

How I Teach an Elementary-Aged Child 

Currently, on our homeschool journey, I have taught preschool through fourth grade and tenth through twelfth grade. Each grade brings different joys, challenges, and requirements. When homeschooling younger elementary-aged children, a variety of resources and curriculum has been important for our son, but a box curriculum has been the key to homeschooling our daughter. 

For our daughter, we were fortunate enough to review the kindergarten level of My Father's World, God's Creation from A to Z in 2020. This curriculum was a great fit, so we have been using it ever since for her. This year we are including her older brother (who is in fourth grade) in some of the lessons, too. Having everything laid out in a teacher's manual makes homeschooling our daughter so easy. 

Our younger son seems to thrive on variety. We use a mix of curriculum resources for him, including the history and Bible components of his sister's box curriculum. We are currently using materials from Memoria Press for Latin, penmanship, science, and some additional history, as well as mathematics from both CTCMath and Math Mammoth. And we have two books from The Critical Thinking Co.™ that have helped build his language arts and critical thinking skills. And finally, we are finishing up a study guide from Progeny Press for The Cricket in Times Square (please note we did not read the edited version). 

I write out the tasks for each day in our children's agenda books. All the materials that they can complete independently, I put in a pile with their agenda. They can get started working right after breakfast by themselves or wait until I start working with them. I try to save the assignments they both do together to serve as breaks in between difficult work. That way we can have our read-aloud time or work on our memory verse as a break. 

Takeaways from homeschooling an elementary-aged child: 

  • Be prepared to change things if they are not working. 
  • Allow for time for siblings to work together and work independently. (Or if you belong to a co-op, make sure you have some courses that you do alone at home.) 
  •  School when your children are ready. You do not have to start at 7 am or be finished by 3 pm. You can school after dinner if you want or need to. 

How I Teach a Preschooler 

Preschoolers do not need a lot of formal education. Play is the most important thing for homeschooling a preschooler. But what do you do when they want to school because they have older siblings who are homeschooling? Well, that all depends on the child. 

Both our younger son and daughter enjoyed coloring, painting, and playing with Play Doh and educational toys to different degrees. They went through phases where they wanted worksheets to complete because their older brother was homeschooling with worksheets. Or they wanted to use scissors to cut but not practice cutting using the fancy book we bought for them. 

Takeaways from homeschooling a preschooler: 

  • Preschoolers are never predictable. 
  • Keep things simple with games, toys, etc., that you already own. 
  • If you want to use a curriculum, you can! 

Typical Day 

What is a typical day? There really isn't one. We homeschool year-round so that we can take off days or weeks when we need to. And even though we start the new year in September, we keep moving along with our curriculum from the previous 'year' if it is not completed and I see value in finishing it. We do not have to follow the tradition of the public school and try to cover the curriculum by a certain time. We can finish books, lessons, and more because we have the time and freedom to do so. 

How do you teach in your homeschool? Do you have a typical day? 

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