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    by Mike McHugh

Five Ways To Improve Your Home School
Date Posted: October 25, 2007

Suggestion #1: Guide your children to the point where they become capable of taking ownership over their own course work and scheduling. In other words, slowly and steadily insist that your students learn how to set and accomplish reasonable goals for themselves on an independent basis. Particularly in the case of older children, such ones should not be spoon-fed when they are capable of taking responsibility for their own studies. The sooner that young people learn how to approach learning in a disciplined manner the better.

Suggestion #2: Take steps to discover your student’s specific God-given talents and career interests. Study your child’s life prayerfully to determine where God has gifted him, and what type of calling best fits his unique gifting. Once you have a fairly clear sense of these details, then begin to diligently search for a person or organization in your area that would be willing to provide your child with apprenticeship training that is in step with his particular talents. For example, if you believe that one of your children shows great promise in the field of art or music, then take the effort to get him connected with people from the community that have expertise in these areas. The best apprenticeship opportunities are those that offer teens not only instruction, but also the opportunity to gain practical work experience.

Suggestion #3: Teach your students the importance of being willing to go beyond the scope of their actual assigned textbook or lesson plan. Students need to learn the importance of showing initiative during the learning process. Children who attend home schools will never grow up to be leaders in their field of study or vocation, unless they get in the habit of doing more than the minimum amount of study or research at a given point.

Suggestion #4: Be sure to keep a close eye on how well your student is progressing in the critical areas of math and grammar. Recent studies have shown that most home schooled children tend to be advanced in every subject area except advanced math, grammar, and laboratory science. Remember to inspect what you expect in every subject your student is engaged in, but particularly so in those disciplines that home taught children find extra challenging.

Suggestion 5#: Take the time to schedule your field trips several months in advance. Do not rely upon your good intentions. Organize your field trip in such a way as to give you enough time to actually teach your students about how and why they are going to be exposed to some learning experience from the community, before you get in the car. Your children will get a great deal more out of each field trip when you do a little advance planning and teaching. For example, if you plan to go to the local fire department for a field trip, then do a series of unit studies on the role and routine of fire fighters before the actual trip to the firehouse. This will help to prepare the students’, so that they might be able to ask intelligent questions of those that they meet at the fire station.

Copyright 2007 Michael J. McHugh

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Biography Information:
This column is written by the staff at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. As a pioneer in the homeschool movement, Christian Liberty ministries has been operating a full service, K-12 home school program for over thirty years and a Christian textbook ministry (Christian Liberty Press), since 1985. The mission of Christian Liberty is to provide parents with quality, affordable educational products and services that will enable them to teach their children in the home and to train their children to serve Christ in every area of life. A more extensive explanation of the CLASS home school program can be obtained at www.homeschools.org.
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