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  • Arlene Gunter

It's time to consider "how is it going?"

It doesn't matter if you just started home-schooling in the Fall or if this is simply the next chapter in this labor of love. One thing to know about home-schooling: "it is dynamic." Your students/children are changing and growing. I know you carefully considered your teaching plan this year. But "best-laid plans" don't always work out exactly as planned. It is unlikely that all your planning went exactly as you thought it would. 

Here are some things I have heard from home school parents just this year:

Location, location, location:

"When teaching several students at home, what I thought would be the best physical location for the classroom didn't work out." 

In this case, the parents had a beautiful room dedicated to their home school. There is lots of natural light. It is bright, neat, and organized and includes a dedicated desk for each of the three students. But, with three children of varying ages being taught simultaneously, that scenario didn't play out well. 

The three distracted one another. (They are just children!) The oldest is very much "the leader" and feels like he is in charge and knows all the answers. You can imagine the clash this caused. This solution was a new plan: separate rooms. Now, all three children have their own "corner" in a different room. This plan seems to be working. "Don't be afraid to be flexible. Your plans may need a slight readjustment throughout the year. And don't force a situation just because that was the plan."

Ability to recognize changes are occurring:

In another case, a student started to develop a high degree of interest in how things worked. Specifically he wanted to know how to build things. He is only seven years old. (We are not talking about a high schooler who might pursue architecture as a career. Not yet, anyway). However, encouraging students in a "science" session using STEAM curriculum and books (age appropriate) that celebrate inventions and inventors and architecture should be pursued. Was that on the curriculum plan for the year? It doesn't matter.

Parents who home-school need to be alert to new interests and support those with activities and resources. (Again, flexibility is key!)If your budget is exhausted for supplies, curriculum, or purchasing books for the year, plan a field trip to the Public Library and "borrow" books of interest. The outing can be an exciting adventure and learning opportunity. Making a specific trip to support your child's new interest shows your student you are listening and taking action.

It's only half of the "school year". So much more to come. Stay resilient, be flexible and stay alert to the specific needs of your child. This is one of the very best benefits of homeschooling. Your student gets one on one attention and his specific needs can be addressed in a very personal way.

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