I’m getting schooled at homeschool

SchoolhouseEven though we have had one year of homeschooling under our belt, I still have a lot to learn. And I love all the opportunities that K12 and Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA) provide for parents to interact and share knowledge and experience.

Because sometimes, I’m the one who needs schooled!

For example, last week OHVA held their annual back-to-school picnics. It’s a great opportunity for kids to meet other area kids involved in the program and for parents to sit and ask questions of the staff and each other. Here are three tips that I picked up and have already put to use with some success.

1. KISS Strategy is the Best -Keep It Simple Stupid! Ok this is more of a life rule than a specific homeschool tip. But seriously, why do I make it so hard on myself? I forget that the daily curriculum or plan provided by OHVA is really just a guide. And that while it is important that we finish the lessons outlined, nothing says that we have to do them in the order provided. Duh!

So when Mak started a new composition unit in English this week, rather than follow the prescribed one lesson a week format, I have her working on the unit as a whole. She does one lesson everyday until complete. Now she doesn’t forget what she was going to write about in between lessons. Brilliant!

2. Documentaries are your friend – The great thing about homeschooling is that you and your child decide what type of learning works best for them and then teach to that style. For Makenna, movies always win over textbook reading.

I sat down over the weekend and created a pretty comprehensive list of the history topics she is covering this year. I am searching the library’s catalogue to find corresponding documentaries and, where available, will substitute those for the regular lessons. She will still take the assessments, and I will check her progress based on our learning objectives. We will both be happy because there won’t be any more fighting over reading chapters of a boring text!

3. Teaching Prairie Style – Remember on ‘Little House on the Prairie’ when Laura and Mary carried their pails with their lunches to school and had class with the same teacher? Apparently, I didn’t learn anything watching those episodes.

Whenever possible, I should be grouping together the kids lessons to save myself time and effort and give them a chance to take advantage of this unique learning environment. I mean after all, we are in a one-room school house. Why not teach everyone in the room at the same time if possible?

In order to do that, I have to do my homework. I am scanning material for both History and Art to see where there is overlap. Where there is, we will skip around to do those lessons together. I am also working through all of their History and Art this semester and saving their Music and Science for semester 2. Again, this allows for some continuity to their days and Art and History share time periods for this year. Why not do them together and reinforce both subjects?

In the condensed amount of time we have for school everyday, these tips should help us get through the vast amount of material we need to cover.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll still have hair on mybhead at the end of the year!


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