Your Family's Incredible Lifestyle Begins HERE – With Homeschooling
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3 Secrets from the Homeschooling Lifestyle to Help Your Child Learn

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3 Secrets from the Homeschooling Lifestyle

to Help Your Child Learn

By Linda Dobson

homeschoolingChances are you’re reading this post to find out what you need to do to or for your child to improve his academic and/or homeschooling success. Are you ready for a big secret? The reality is that much of what is necessary for your child’s betterment depends more on changes for you, the parent, and how you create the homeschooling type of lifestyle to support improved academic performance. Surprised? Many homeschooling parents are!

When I was a newcomer to the game of golf, I noticed in my environment all things golf. One comment about the game that I found particularly striking is that it isn’t played on the vast acreage of the golf course as much as in the five and one-quarter inches between my ears. It’s also in the head where a homeschooling lifestyle begins – followed quickly by the heart.

At this point I can’t help but hear the Field of Dreams‘ voice whispering, “Build it and they will come.” Build a homeschooling lifestyle, and your family will live it. The following three actions are very helpful support to your dream of helping your child excel.

Homeschooling Lifestyle Secret #1 – Observe

How does the gardener determine the best way to help her plants grow? Because she is interested in growing the finest plants possible, she grabs every opportunity to learn as much about them as she can. This may include a great deal of research and talking with experienced gardeners with knowledge of these same plants. It also involves lots of observation.

The gardener watches for clues about each plant’s preferences – this one likes more sun; that one, a little more humidity. She observes each plant’s nature – one seems to be putting more energy into roots while another develops a thick stem. She pays attention to what she does that helps that action, as well as to what fails so she doesn’t make the same mistake twice.

In a nutshell, this habit of observation is how many homeschooling parents learn how to help their children make the most of their learning time. You can begin observing your child at work and play. To get you started on this interesting exercise, here are a few things to watch for.

Give your child directions to accomplish a few new tasks. Which works better – telling him or showing him how?

When your child independently starts a project, does he seem drawn to first read about it, hear about it, just start doing it and figuring it out as he goes along, or a combination of all of these methods?

Watch your child settle down to homework. Does he choose a quiet area, or does he turn on a radio or gravitate to where activity is ongoing?

When it’s available, does your child seek out quiet time alone, or does he prefer to be around others?

What does your child do with spare time? Build? Create? Read? Talk? Run? Think?

What are his strengths? Weaknesses? How much does his best effort accomplish?

You’ll think of  many other situations to observe, and you may discover information you weren’t even looking for. Ultimately, putting knowledge of your child’s traits and preferences to work will contribute more to his academic success than just about anything else you can do for him.

Homeschooling Lifestyle Secret #2 – Guide

Supported by your growing storehouse of knowledge about your child’s preferred means of learning, you’ll find this next homeschooling secret easy to understand. You don’t need to be a trained, certified teacher to help your child learn! All you need to do is think of yourself as a “learning guide.”

The history of New York’s Adirondack Mountains is replete with stories of men who made their living as guides for city folks looking for outdoor adventure. Visitors knew they could not survive in the vast mountain wilderness, so they hired the guides to make sure they didn’t get lost, attacked by bears, or freeze or starve to death. The visitors were in charge and did all the work. The guides merely provided the direction necessary to keep everyone out of harm’s way. If his charges were canoeing toward a waterfall, the guide warned of the danger and suggested a safer course. If it grew cold, guide and guests sat by the campfire discussing the best places to pitch their tents and how to dress warmly.

No one looked at the guide’s job as that of teacher in the way public schools have trained us to think of teachers, as those who impart everything they know. Rather, he was hired to protect, advise, and, for the sake of his livelihood, ensure the experience was as rewarding and enjoyable as possible in the hope the tourists would one day come back for more.

In a similar light, many homeschooling parents see themselves as learning guides. The children, as the learners, do the work, while mom and dad provide necessary resources, be they books, classes or other people, then observe, consult, answer questions or explain when needed, generally keeping the child on a safe and productive course. Homeschooling parents do their best to ensure that the experience is as rewarding and enjoyable as possible in the hope the child will eagerly come back for more.

Homeschooling Lifestyle Secret #3 – Encourage

Most homeschooling parents I know are their children’s most vocal cheerleaders. In a world where children often find themselves and their scholastic efforts unappreciated (wouldn’t you feel unappreciated if the boss kept sending back your reports covered with red marks noting all your mistakes?), a successful homeschooling child’s learning experience includes a large dose of encouragement.

See also Smart Free-Range Kids (Or Why Homeschoolers Don’t Stay Home)

You can encourage your child’s learning experience in ways beyond patting him on the back for a job well done (or, equally important, for a job well attempted to the best of his ability). Let your child hear you speak positively of his accomplishments to others. discuss your own learning challenges and successes at the dinner table so he gets the subtle message that learning is important throughout one’s entire life. Offer to proofread writing or double-check calculations. Talk about what you once learned from a good movie on the subject of his study. Share a funny story from your own experience with the topic. Discuss his hopes for the future and talk about what he needs to know to create the future he desires. Find or make opportunities for one-on-one conversations where you share positive expressions – children want to live up to the expectations of those they love.

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