New Year presents a good opportunity for a fresh start. For home educating families it’s a good time to examine your learning approaches and habits, see which work well for you and the children and see what now needs changing.
It’s very easy to keep to old routines. Routines can be very useful in helping us achieve. But one mistake I made was to carry on doing something simply because we’d always done it, whether it still worked or not!
Children change radically all the time. As they grow and change the approaches to your home education may need adjusting too.
So these are few tips for the New Year:
- Take a fresh look at your child; their needs, what their interests are now, what they like and how they work best. For example, as children get older they sometimes work better later in the day than first thing. With home education you have the flexibility to adapt to your child.
- With flexibility in mind – are you using it to your best advantage? We sometimes get sidetracked into traditional school-style thinking forgetting that learning can actually take place any time, anywhere, any age, about any subject. You don’t have to stick to a particular approach to home education, either a structured one, or a completely autonomous one. No one style of home educating will necessarily work all the time, so don’t be afraid of changing or mixing approaches.
- On the subject of traditional, it’s also easy to feel that your child should be doing what other children of his age are doing at school. This is not necessarily useful. Each child develops at their own rate; some things are best left for when they’re older, other things can be tackled before a school child would be doing it. It’s also worth remembering that simply because they’re struggling with a concept at one point does not mean they’ll always struggle. Plan to your child – not to other children.
- Experiences educate as much as study does. Plan as many new experiences as you can to give your child this year. New experiences enliven and motivate – the parents as well as the children!
- Physical activity is essential for mental development as well as physical health and contributes enormously to confidence. Be mindful of how much physical activity your child does – you all do. They learn best by example!
- You will probably always worry about the future. All parents do. But don’t be so stuck in preparing your child for a future you don’t even know will be right for them, that you neglect to make each day an enjoyable and productive one in the present. Also remember that not every day will be a good one; not every school child’s day is a good one either but things work out eventually!
- Investigate whether you have a good balance of approaches between studious and practical, sedentary and physical, indoors or out, alone or in groups. Variation keeps it fresh.
- Remember that parents need to refresh too – consider time for your pursuits in your new home educating routine!