Christy’s Notes for New Homeschoolers

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1) Homeschooling doesn’t need to look like school at home, particularly for the younger years. It is okay to not spend a full day at schoolwork. It is okay to take time off because the weather is beautiful and you want to go for a hike.

2) For the most part, schools these days just keep your kids at their age level. If you’re planning on homeschooling for just one year, you don’t need to worry about whether your child completes exactly what they would at school or not. The school isn’t going to check. The school is just going to put your child in with their age-mates next year. You’ll want to help them learn and explore the world. You might want to spend extra time helping them on skills they have trouble with so they can feel better about those and spend some extra time on things they are great on so they can feel proud of that. But you don’t need to worry too much. They aren’t going to hold your child back a grade because you didn’t cover the right science topics.

3) Workbooks and curriculum are two different things. Often people look at $20 math workbooks sold commonly available and wonder why anyone would pay a couple of hundred for a math curriculum. The difference is that workbooks tend to be a way of testing what a child knows or giving them practice busy-work. Often these are designed to be used in addition to school or on summer holidays.

On the other hand, curriculum is designed to teach the child new things, not just test what they know. Good curriculum will explain things in a couple of different ways. It will build upon earlier assignments.

That doesn’t mean you need to buy curriculum. You can make do with the workbooks, if you use them as a way of determining what a child knows and what they need help on, and then you find additional activities to help teach them the things they don’t know. But you won’t be getting the expertise of a good curriculum-writer to assist you then.

4) Children are children. They need time to play. If your planned schoolwork prevents this, plan less.

5) There will be bad days. There are always bad days. Bad days do not mean you are a bad parent or a bad teacher.

6) Learning disabilities are real. If your child has trouble with something important – like reading, writing or math – seek out supports to support them on this. There are always different ways of teaching something. Don’t let them believe they are dumb or bad at these.

7) Learn with your child. Yes, your child might be in grade two and you might think that you know everything a grade two child needs to learn, but learn anyway. Learn new things to give the example that learning is fun and lifelong learning is important.

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