by Mike McHugh
The following suggestions can help to make the task of home education more effective and rewarding for parents. Some of these suggestions may need to be modified or adapted to the particular needs of each home school. These ideas are not listed in order of their importance.
Suggestion #1: Before you start your school day with prayer and devotions, take a few minutes to open a window and do several deep-breathing and stretching exercises in front of it with your children. This practice will air out the study area and help to ensure that everyone will be wide awake at the opening of the school day. This healthy habit can be particularly important in colder climates where the winters are long and stuffy.
Suggestion #2: Go out of your way to establish a clear understanding with your neighbors and friends regarding the need for them to respect your school schedule. It is nearly impossible to stay on track with your teaching if folks are dropping by for a chat or making casual phone calls during all hours of the school week. In addition, be sure to invest in a good quality answering machine for your phone and teach your children how to say no to telemarketers as well.
Suggestion #3: Home school dads should require that their children ask them at least one question each school day based upon what they have been studying in a particular subject. The requesting of a question from children helps dads to jump start valuable discussions with their children, and also helps to ensure that youngsters stay engaged in their studies for they know that they will have to talk with dad as soon as he gets home!
Suggestion #4: Develop an atmosphere of healthy competition in your home. Post wall charts that show your student’s progress. Younger children can have gold stars placed on the chart showing where the student has done exceptional work. Give recognition in some visible manner regarding the accomplishments of your children in areas such as supplemental reading and athletic participation. If you are just teaching one child at home, it is especially important to make sure that your student has some tangible evidence of his progress so he can at least "compete" with his own past achievements.
Suggestion #5: Invest the time to make sure that you and your children are familiar with the services and educational resources that are available through the local library. Modern libraries offer a wealth of valuable information that home educators can access on a regular basis. One of the many valuable learning experiences that the library offers, is the ability to research a particular topic that is of interest in a comprehensive manner.
Suggestion #6: Take the time to purchase or invest in an easy to use weekly planner. Regardless of whether you choose to utilize a structured curriculum, it is still beneficial for home educators to have a basic set of goals outlined for each week. To succeed, as the old saying goes, you must plan for success. The task of home education is no exception. If you want to achieve your academic goals, then you will need to set forth your goals in a clear and identifiable fashion.
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