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Avoiding First Day/Week Disasters

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Joined: 02 Apr 2005
Posts: 81
Location: Northwest PA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:19 am    Post subject: Avoiding First Day/Week Disasters Reply with quote

Last year was our first year hs and our first day hsing was a disaster (long, long story). I've also read a bunch of different posts that say something like, "Just finished our first day. Please tell me it gets better."

So, I thought I'd try and tap into some of that wonderful experience out there and ask this question, "What one tip would you give for your first day of school?"

Married to Margaret (1996)
1 daughter Belinda (1999)
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Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 173
Location: Coastal New England

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 9:51 am    Post subject: First day homeschooling Reply with quote

The most important piece of advice I can give is this: Take Your Time. This is especially important if your kids are coming from the conventional school system. Allow time to decompress the learning experience. Regardless of their ages, plan to only spend half a day schooling. That means from 9-12, or around there. In reality, you may only need that much time, at least until highschool. Learning WILL take place even if you only do half of the problems. These kids are so conditioned to make busy work and be dictated to that homeschooling will feel very foreign. This is true for the parent too. Shoot for mastery of the skill and move on. Kids will quickly get bored and then shut down. Don't be surprised if it takes the entire first year to feel at home with homeschooling. Be ready to admit that your first plan doesn't fit your schedule or teaching style or your kid's learning style. Expect to make changes, so don't spend a lot of money on curriculum yet. It can get expensive. Depending on the age(s) and academic abilities of your kid(s), you can have them work together on some subjects- I did this. Consult one or two reference on what to teach. Surfing online is a great place to start. Keep in mind that when taking on the responsibility of teaching our kids and wanting to do well, our initial tendency is to cram the day SO full of learning and we end up burning ourselves and our kids out. Those new to homeschooling are especially at risk so, be careful. Check in with your kids and see how it's going. We regularly like to throw in an "educational game day." Periods of idle time- creative play, whatever we like to call it, are when the kids' wheels turn. Don't forget to be outside, often. What a luxury it is. When they were little, my kids really loved to go on rain walks. Spend time on a fitness program. Go swimming, biking, hiking, walking, skiing, kayaking, canoing, whatever you like to do or never tried before. Being physically fit promotes mental fitness. Data shows that fit people truly are better learners. A healthy lifestyle is a great life long gift to give your kids and yourself.

The second piece of advice and possibly AS important as the first is to find other homeschoolers. If possible, spend a day watching another homeschooling family doing their thing. Look at the books and the kids' work. You may not follow their example but it's a great way to get initial ideas. Find a local support group and be ready to graze around. Locate other families or family that you click with. You and your kids will like and need the connection with others like you. The conventionally schooled kids and their parents can sometimes be isolating or even unkind. Thank God homeschooling has become more popular now and others are easy to find.

I see that I rambled on some, but there really are just two recommendations buried in those paragraphs.

Good luck
homeschooling since '97: daughter, 18- away at college, son, 16 and daughter 13
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Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 180
Location: Boise, ID

PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't try to hs like a school the first day. If your kids haven't seen the curriculum let them look through it. Be excited about it.

My first day of hs six years ago was a disaster because I tried to treat it like a school. My kids have never been to school but I should have introduced the curriculum, let them know what I wanted to do and my goals. I should have said the reason we are doing this is because education is so important for the future and gave reasons why.

I should have started, for example, math with doing the page together instead of making it like a school where the teacher explains it and then the child just works on it.

I should have kept it easy and simple and try to get the excitement of learning introduced to my kids instead of just pounding it into theirs heads that this something they have to do whether you like it or not.

Now, things are a little different. My sons do their math, usually two to three pages per day and ask me questions when needed. When they get done they move onto the next subject with my help if it is new, and I grade their math.

School is getting easier then it used to be. There are still complaints and bad attitudes now and then. But, it is easier. I think what is getting harder is some of the subjects that I have to relearn or even learn to teach. It takes more prep time for me or getting help from someone else.

I don't treat school like regular school in the fact I am standing up and teaching. I teach only the areas they don't understand. However, this process is teaching in the way they need to learn that they need to be able to be assertive in the work they do. They are learning, without them knowing of course, that when given a project to do they must find out all the information they can to get the problem figured out and accomplished.

Looks like I rambled too.
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