Homeschooling is not for every family, but every parent is a home educator. As a long-time homeschooler, now with a teen, I’ve learned a lot about learning, my child and myself. Here are some tips to help any family teach kids while at home.
- Minimize Memorization: It’s more important to know how to find an answer than to know one. With facts and trivia at our fingertips, kids should learn how to search the Internet, use an index and pick up a phone and ask.
- Encourage Mistakes: I suggest my son always double-check his class work, but I still must mark my student’s mistakes. That's how we learn. Encourage your child to try new things and do his best, not be perfect.
- Let ’em Talk: An important life skill is the ability to engage people of all ages in conversation. Let your child give the waitress his order, ask the librarian for help, and develop a firm, traditional handshake.
- Help with Homework: Checking homework isn’t enough. Occasionally sit with your student to watch how he organizes essays, calculates math, or reads literature. Discuss what he’s learning and how he gets answers.
- Learn Local: Visiting local venues gives kids a greater sense of their place in the world. History happens everywhere. Share your childhood favorites or explore somewhere new together.
- Think Long-Term: One failed test or bad grade is not going to make or break your child’s academic career. Share your failures. Maintain perspective. It’s better to encourage lifelong learning than force a semester’s GPA.
- Watch ’em Play: Not just organized sporting events, but also when your kid is hanging out with friends. Does he laugh and smile? Does he appear comfortable in his own skin? You may see yourself in him, but let your child be himself.
S.C. Torrington is a freelance writer.