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Homeschooling is gaining more and more popularity today. Parents are getting anxious about public schools for any number of reasons from curriculum issues to the growing violence we see on the news in our public schools. There used to be a connotation to homeschooling that it’s not as good as public schools, but that mindset is shifting now.

When starting down the road of homeschooling, it can be intimidating because you’re afraid you might not be able to sufficiently educate your kids, especially if you’re not a teacher. You wonder if they’ll actually learn as much as their friends who are going to public school.  Don’t worry about that!  Here are some ideas to help you get started with your new home school and not worry so much.

Do what kids love to do: Go outside

Why teach science units indoors when the whole point of the units is to learn about insects or trees or plants?  Take school outside and come up with projects that get the kids moving and learning at the same time. Physical education doesn’t have to be the only time the kids are getting exercise while learning!

If you’re lucky, you have a park in your city that has several kinds of trees that are labeled with their names and other information about them.  Even if you’re not so lucky, you can still probably find a park where you’ll be able to have the kids identify local trees and plants. When the kids are more active, studies show they learn better than simply sitting and studying.

For units about animals, go to the zoo!  Have them write a report about their favorite animal from the zoo when you get back.  As you go through other units, think about how you can take the classroom outdoors.  It’s more fun and they’ll actually learn more!

Make your home look more like a school

When you do have to do school inside, let it be in a school-like environment.  Some kids have difficulty focusing when they’re doing schoolwork on the kitchen table.  By setting up a room in your house as the school room, the kids can enter the space and also enter the mindset of school time.  There are places you can get desks or school tables to organize the room to make it feel more like school. If your kids have been in public school before, they’ll appreciate the structure they’re used to, whether they realize it or not.

Above all, relax

After you’ve been homeschooling your kids for a while, you realize that you could have spent less time trying to do everything perfectly and more time simply helping your kids learn.  Even if your normal schedule has them working on four subjects in a day, if they seem to be really into the science topic and are learning by experimenting, realize that they can make up the other things on a different day. 

Part of the reason you decided to homeschool your kids is so that you can make sure they’re learning what they should be learning. It doesn’t really matter how they learn what the state says; they should learn (depending on your state) as long as they learn it.  All of you can have fun, and your kids can learn more than they would at a public school!

Hopefully some of these ideas will help you embark on the adventure that is homeschooling.  It’s a big world, but there’s a lot of support out there, especially for people who are new to it.  Seek out relationships with people in your area who homeschool, and spend some time looking for conventions.  Find out what works best for your family, and have a great time!

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Mike is a daily blog contributor and it always writing and sharing the latest trends when it comes to the overall education system.

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