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Homeschooling Baptism by Fire

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Homeschooling Baptism by Fire

By Linda Dobson


Plan some fun activities that weren't possible while he was in school.

Bringing a child home from school, especially under emergency circumstances, can leave you feeling as unprepared for your new “job” as if you just walked into the local hospital and volunteered to perform brain surgery.

It happened to Shannon in 1991. “Not to worry” is her sound advice. “I just had to figure out what we were going to do as we went along. It caused a touch of jitters from time to time,” she admits, “but we’d been in public school and saw the poor job they were doing. I merely figured, ‘how could I do any worse?'”

Even if you’re confident you can do a better job than the schools, when you bring your child home for homeschooling, remember you can accomplish the job differently than the schools do. If you bring school home along with the child, you may find you create needless road hazards along the way.

RELAX about Homeschooling Right from the Start

After her son began hating school in first grade because he didn’t get the knack of reading, Monique attended many school consultations that “did absolutely nothing.” She decided on homeschooling and began by teaching reading “from square one.”

“We were so nervous we more or less made it school at home,” says Monique. “We really didn’t know there was a better way. It’s taken us five years to get out of that mentality. I wish we could go back and change our first years of homeschooling,” she adds wistfully. “It was an adjustment; I would definitely lighten up.”

Your child already possesses the most important assets needed to learn. Nurturing them at home can lead your family to pathways with life-altering implications, reintroducing the joy of learning, broadening social opportunities, strengthening family relationships, and benefiting your child’s safety and health.

Simple Starting Points for Your Homeschooling

Spend as much time as you can observing your child at work and play. Notice favored methods of play or learning, then consider what fun activities you can do together to take advantage of those methods. Talk about the topics he’s interested in to uncover additional clues for your homeschooling.

Give your child opportunities to make decisions and choices regarding activities. He’ll be drawn to those that produce the most pleasure, giving you clues to potential strengths. Note also those he’s not particularly fond of, and think about ways to adjust your approach.

Look for ways to include extended family or close friends into your homeschooling. Inclusion allows your child precious time with the special people in his life. Additionally, you’re likely to develop support for your homeschooling efforts from those who mean the most to you, too.

Watch for or create opportunities for you and your child to practice family values. Your child can help back cookies, make a card, paint a picture, or pick wildflowers and deliver them to someone in need. The time you have available with homeschooling will provide the chance for lots of practice.

When you’re taking a child out of school, be sensitive to his needs as he adjusts to homeschooling. If desired, keep in touch with a few good friends. Make the transition to homeschooling slowly. Plan some fun activities that weren’t possible while he was in school.

Homeschooling The Early YearsWant to learn more? There’s lots of important information for your homeschooling family in Homeschooling the Early Years: Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 3- to 8-Year-Old Child by Linda Dobson. Makes a great gift for someone interested in homeschooling, too!


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