Homeschooling Advice

Seven Lessons Every Parent Can Learn from Homeschoolers

Homeschooling is not for every family. But every parent is a home educator. Regardless of whether your child is taught at an out-of-state private academy, the local high school, or your kitchen table, you’ll always be your kid’s most important and influential teacher.

As a long-time homeschooler, now with a graduated teen, I’ve learned a lot about learning, my child, and myself. Here are some tips to help any family.

1. 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 to Search, use an Index, pick up a phone, and ask.

2. Encourage Mistakes:
Although I suggest my son always double-check his classwork, I still must mark my student’s mistakes. Isn’t that how we learn? Encourage your child to try new things and do his best, not be perfect.

3. 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.

4. Help with Homework:
Checking homework isn’t enough. Occasionally, sit with your student to watch how she organizes essays, calculates math, or reads literature. Discuss what she’s learning and how she gets her answers.

5. Learn Local: Economy aside, visiting local venues gives kids a greater sense of their place in the world. History happens everywhere. Share your childhood favorite or explore somewhere new, nearby, together.

6. Think Long-Term:
One failed test or bad grade is probably not gonna make or break your child’s academic career. Share your failures. Keep perspective. Better to encourage lifelong learning than force a semester’s GPA.

7. Watch’em Play:
Not just at organized sporting events, but also when your kid is hanging out with friends. Does she laugh and smile? Does she appear comfortable in her skin? You probably see yourself in her. But let your child be herself. She’s learning.