Homeschooling has evolved to be the choice of many young, modern parents who are distrustful of the safety that public school provides. These same parents are also dissatisfied with the current curriculum and academic instruction provided to their kids.
Homeschooled children make up only four percent of the world’s student population. However, that total of more than 1.8 million kids is growing each year. With school violence on the rise and incidents appearing on the news nightly, it is no wonder families are choosing to educate their children at home where they can control their safety and wellbeing.
A Dedicated Learning Space – Design Matters
It’s not enough to buy some books and create lesson plans before homeschooling your kids. It’s best to have a dedicated space for your classroom, to keep distractions at a minimum. You don’t want to mix home space with learning areas. If you are redecorating, now is the time to think about adding on a room specifically for your classroom.
Don’t forget to consider how your child learns. Visual learners can become overwhelmed with too much light, color, and too many objects. Auditory and kinesthetic learners have different needs that technology can solve. When setting up your classroom, consider the design elements, the color of the walls, furniture placement, and lighting and fixtures.
When designing your dedicated homeschooling space, remember to think about safety. School supplies and fixtures can present dangers that are not found elsewhere in your home. If you have elevated walkways or balconies off the learning room, be sure to protect little ones by installing child proof guardrails. The last thing you want to worry about is extra danger while homeschooling.
Homeschool Environment Essentials
Having a comfortable and safe learning environment will help your children get the most out of their education. Designing a space that invites imagination and exploration should be a top priority. Every home classroom should be large enough to have different areas.
First, you will want bookshelves for a library. A rug is needed for more interactive play and off-book education. A special projects area is critical when working with materials like clay and paints. Organization bins help a lot with keeping a multitude of supplies in order and making clean up at the end of the day a snap. Don’t forget the chalkboard or a modern whiteboard upon which you illustrated lessons and examples.
You will need desks and chairs to complete the classroom look and feel. When your kids get older, you can modify the furnishings as well as update the paint color and other fixtures to grow right along with them. For teens, tablets and other computerized technology provide great learning tools. Don’t forget a dedicated break area where kids can stop learning and have a snack.
Managing Your Homeschool Environment
Along with the school supplies, books, and resources, you need to consider the environment where you teach. Studies have shown that playing light; classical music can stimulate brain activity and enhance learning and focus.
Additionally, make sure other ambient noises are at a minimum. You want your classroom environment to be comfortable without being distracting. Dimmer switches on lights make sense so you can change the mood and intensity of lighting throughout the day.
When it makes sense to do so, move the classroom outdoors for some diversity and fresh air. Just like in public school, do not dismiss your kids until all learning is done for the day. Remember to take breaks and build in time for recess.
Keeping Your Homeschoolers Motivated
The idea of homeschooling might seem daunting at first, and you might wonder how to keep your kids motivated. Unlike public school, you can control the lessons, activities, and the motivators. You know your kids better than anyone. You know what is important to them and can use those incentives as rewards to help them stay engaged and moving forward.
There are dozens of online homeschooling support groups where you can connect with other families and share tips and solutions on lesson plans, motivation, and other issues. You can also schedule play dates and physical education field trips as a group to help your child grow socially and interact with other homeschooled children.
Once you have your lesson plans set up, you are in complete control. You can choose creative ways to educate your kids on the subjects they are required to learn. Perhaps you take them outside one day to learn about biology and visit the pond down the road. For kids, this is way more fun than sitting in a public school lab dissecting a frog. You have the freedom to help your children grow through real-life experiences they might miss attending public school.
Puppets as Learning Tool
Puppet shows are very popular with young children. Usually, the characters are fun, colorful and silly, thus appealing. As a child grows, they slowly learn empathy and how everyone is not in the same mood all the time. Puppets help them understand diversity and personality, and they teach compassion very well.
Using puppets in your classroom is a great way to detach from the feelings but yet teach them in a meaningful way. You can also have your kids use puppets as a way to communicate things to you through a third-party. This way the puppet is saying it, not them. The detachment aspect is compelling and helpful especially when teaching empathy.
Many psychotherapists use puppets in their work with children. Puppets also inspire imagination and let a child try on different personalities, emotions, and aspects of who they are learning to be.
Fueling Young Minds and Bodies
Another great benefit of homeschooling is that you can control your student’s lunches — healthy food fuels both the mind and body. Starting kids off early with a healthy diet will assist them in maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding many dangerous health issues and diseases later.
The Mediterranean diet is a great option. It consists of lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, proteins like fish and chicken, and healthy fats like nuts, avocado, and olive oil. It also wards off high cholesterol and other heart-related diseases.
Homeschooling your little ones includes a ton of great advantages. While spending extra time with them, you also provide them with a safe, solid education while also helping them learn and grow the way you want them to.