As September approaches mid-month, parents turn their focus to the questions of how school is going for their students. Questions that never plagued us before, permeate the educational field. Parents are fearful that their children may not get a good education, or they may get infected with this virus, or they may be forced to stay home, and what will that mean for their family?
The two questions I’m hearing/reading most often are these:
- Can I still homeschool my children if I have to work?
- My children are four and five years old, and I’m worried about what curriculum to use.
So I thought I’d offer my thoughts as an educator and former homeschool mom.
First, the question of what to use to teach your young children. My answer is: you don’t need a curriculum. Here’s what you can do with them that will best prepare them to learn well:
- Answer their questions and show them how to find answers.
- Let them ask questions and ask them questions to help them think rather than for a “right” answer.
- READ to them! A lot. Every single day. You’ll thank me later. This builds their skills, but also creates a great lifelong bond between you and your child. They are never too young (yes, in the womb), nor too old for this.
- Play games with them. I’m not talking video games. I mean card games, board games, games like pick-up-sticks which all help them develop analytical thinking skills as well as math and reading comprehension. (Trust me on this!)
- Teach them while you’re out and about. Talk about what things cost at the store and show them how to figure out per pound prices or how much an item they want will be with 10% off. Count with them. Show them how to read signs like STOP. Help them learn to observe by pointing out things around them. For example, how things look the same or different, sizes, colors, shapes, etc.
- Let them be creative. Give them things to create with. Even a big cardboard box goes a long way. Make tents out of blankets. Play with balloons. Paint, markers, and big pieces of paper are worth the mess because it fosters a love of learning.
You are their best teacher. Don’t let a system tell you otherwise. It does take some patience and diligence, but can also be really enjoyable. They are little people who are sponges soaking up information. Fill them with good stuff. Make good impressions in their “wet cement.” And don’t forget the best lessons are training them in polite, obedient, and kind behavior. Kids with boundaries are fun to be around for you and others.
As for the other question: Yes, you can. I did it working full time as a single parent for a few years. It takes some flexibility and creative planning, but it can be done. There are options. Depending on the age of your students, co-ops, trading off with other homeschoolers, college or community classes, creating a an “envelope” schedule for your students are all potential plans.
And in case you need more help in this area, we are here for you. Check out the rest of our website to see how Discovery House might be an answer for you.