As parents, one of the greatest opportunities for bonding with children and developing shared interests is the time we spend helping them with learning tasks. Some parents find the task so enjoyable, that they decide to homeschool their children; others opt for homeschool to better cater to a child with special needs. In the U.S., around 3.4% of the school-age population is homeschooled; that amounts to around 1.7 million kids! If you are new homeschooler seeking to inspire your kids to learn more about core subjects and the world around them, these resources may be helpful to you.
Teaching in Natural Surroundings
Instead of just reading about leaves, trees and local fauna in books, why not take your biology or geography class outdoors, showing your child what coastlines, coves, mountain ranges, trees, flowers, and shrubs actually look like’? Children are fascinated by the colours and shapes of nature and simply being in the great outdoors has been found to significantly reduce stress levels, thereby instilling a more peaceful and receptive state of mind for learning. Nature writer, Richard Louv (Lost Child in the Wood) argues that modern children are suffering from “nature deficit disorder”. The crucial relationship between human beings and nature has been lost, which is bad news for our Planet, in that the more nature is an important part of our life, the more likely we are to fight for ideas such as sustainability. One of the most powerful and exclusive benefits of homeschooling is exactly this: the ability to teach your child just about any subject in the midst of stunning verdant surrounds.
Getting to Work
If your children are teens and are finding it difficult to make a career choice, a top way to get them interested in a profession is by organizing work experience for them. Talk to parents you know and see if any of them can give your child a taste of what it might be like to work in publishing, law, or science!
Use Cool Learning Tools
The Montessori method offers many fantastic tools for younger learners to make a headstart in many subjects, including maths. One of the core ideas of the method is that children learn through the senses; colourful, appealing materials can stimulate the senses but also show children real-life instances of the concepts they are learning. The Montessori organization notes: “A child of four can see without being told the differences between one, ten, one hundred and one thousand: one unit is represented with one golden bead whereas one thousand is a cube made up of one thousand golden beads.” In essence, younger children can comprehend the entire Decimal system at a younger age, thus inspiring further knowledge; and golden beads and cubes are just two of the many Montessori tools you can use at home.
Visits to museums, musical concerts, and exhibitions at local galleries are a terrific way to teach your child about music and art; indeed, many children are first inspired to learn how to play the piano or guitar after watching an artist they like to perform. Museums are also a cool way to learn about different artistic styles and genres.
Get Them Moving
One cool system that involves interspersing learning activities with exercise or games, is Spaced Learning, devised at Monkseaton High School in the UK. A typical class essentially involves a short Powerpoint presentation, a short break for games or sport, a repetition of the Powerpoint presentation (this time with blanks which your child will have to fill), another small break, and finally, working on a task involving the information they have learned.
Is Learning Easy? It Certainly Khan Be
The Khan Academy is a magnificent online resource offering tests, lessons, and short videos explaining core curriculum subjects and more. The maths tutorials in particular, which can be as short as two or three minutes, explain key concepts in an easy way that come in handy for kids, but also for parents who may not have encountered these mathematical problems in a long time.
To make homeschooling fun for your child, avail of the freedom and personalization it can afford. Take lesson into a forest, let them show what they have learned in a practical setting, don’t be afraid to try revolutionary materials or methods and finally, use the Internet to solve any problems encountered.