Tips for Successful Homeschooling
I started homeschooling about ten years ago, so I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work for our family. Everyone’s situation is different, but I’ve decided to share the following tips, which will hopefully give you some ideas to implement in your own homeschool. We have a large family and will have four students in the upcoming school year, but the following tips could apply to any sized homeschool:
Stay Organized With Binders
Each of my homeschooled children has his or her own binder. I select quality binders with built-in zip compartments for pencils, and the binders themselves zip for containing any loose books. Keeping just about everything in these binders makes it easy for the kids to take their work on the road when we travel or just have errands to run. It also allows me to check all of their work at once or quickly have someone move to another work station. I also have my own binder for myself as the teacher, and there is another binder for answer keys. The ACE School of tomorrow curriculum that we use is perfect for our binder system. We use a heavy-duty three-hole punch designed for punching through 30 pages, and it works well for hole punching the ACE “PACES,” which have around 25 to 50 pages each.
|My Desk--Notice my heavy-duty three-hole punch and the student binders.
Stick with the Same Curriculum
I mainly use the ACE School of Tomorrow curriculum. I am very familiar with it because I went to a private ACE school from second through ninth grade. I’ve also used it for several years in my own homeschool with five different students. I’ve become an expert on it, and my kids prefer it over other systems. The fact that the curriculum is broken down into 12 workbooks per subject per year allows the convenient option of purchasing it by the quarter instead of all at once. The ACE curriculum is geared toward independent work, so it works best for students who enjoy doing most of their schoolwork independently.
We use the A Beka curriculum for K-4, K-5, and sometimes first and second grade. This curriculum is great for students and parents that want/need more interaction during the school day. It can also be adapted to the binder system since perforated pages can be removed from the workbooks and placed into binders. There are thicker textbooks at the higher grade levels, which would need to be left at home or carried in a backpack when taking schooling on the road. Most of the families in our homeschooling group use A Beka, so it gives us moms something to talk about during the P.E. class.
Join a Group
My kids really look forward to their P.E. class, which meets once every two weeks. It’s free, and it’s close to our house, so we still have time for academics when we get home. While the kids do P.E., the moms have a chance to chat about the various challenges of homeschooling. There’s also a field trip every month, which is more often than most traditional schools have field trips. The social life that a homeschool group provides is important for the kids as well as the moms.
In the area where we used to live, most active homeschooling groups cost money or met several miles away, so we feel very blessed to be a part of the perfect homeschooling group. Find something local and affordable, or perhaps get together with a homeschooling friend or neighbor and start up your own group.
Start your Own Home Library
Studies show that children do better academically when there are plenty of books in the home. Some homeschooling families implement a library day, but I prefer to purchase books online. This way, we don’t have to worry about finding misplaced books by a particular day, and the kids can go back and read their favorite books again and again.
The Ingredients of a Successful Homeschool
Building a home library, keeping workbooks organized, and familiarizing yourself with a tried and true curriculum will help to simplify your routine. Whichever curriculum you use will become easier to administer as you and your students gain experience with it, which is why I don’t recommend switching too often. Being part of a group of like-minded families will provide friends for you and your children and will serve as a support group for you as a homeschooling mom.
Most importantly, do what works best for your own unique family.