Welcome to the 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents blog hop! I’ve joined together with a whole lot of my friends from the Schoolhouse Review Crew to bring you a week of tips and advice for homeschooling parents. I hope you’ll come back every day this week! At the bottom of each day’s post, I’ll include the link back to the Crew anchor post so you can find all of the other blogs that are joining in this week. Without further ado…
Tips for homeschooling parents with elementary aged children
There are so many things to think about when you begin educating your children at home, that parents can get easily frustrated or overwhelmed. Don’t let this be your fate! There are a few things you DO need to focus on, and a lot of things you don’t need with young children.
My friend Katie refers to elementary aged students as “littles.” Over the years I’ve adopted this term myself, as it separates those children who really need you to do most of the work with them, from those who are mature enough to start working independently. Some littles like to work on their own, but their ability to do so is still limited by time, experience, and reading ability. These truly are the formative years: for your teaching style, their learning styles, and the two-way communication you’re going to need before they reach High School.
Here are some tips to help you stay focused:
1. & 2. There are two major things you do NOT need in the Elementary years: technology, and comparison. For a better understanding of The Dangerous Comparison Game, click over and read my post from week 3 of my Working and Homeschooling series. The second thing you do NOT need at this age is technology. Don’t shoot me before you hear me out!
Technology teaches along a different neural pathway than reading does. When your children are littles, you need to be reading to them, reading with them, and teaching them how to read. I understand that there are a lot of quality apps out there that are available to help you, but you don’t need them!!! YOU need to be spending time daily with your children. Stow the technology away for special events, or when you’re desperate because someone in the family is on-the-couch-all-day sick, or you loose your voice.
3. Littles thrive on Mom and me, or Mom and us time! They also love Dad and us time. Do something together. What the activity is isn’t as important as that you’re doing it together! Read a book out loud, play Candyland, count birds, whatever you can find, do it together. If you are educating your children at home you want to be the biggest influence on their lives ~ you can only accomplish this by being there!
4. There are a few things you do need to educate your littles: a Bible, lots of prayer, a Library card, and a few basic school supplies. I mean basic supplies people, not fancy decorator things. When the girls were little we homeschooled with used math books, a library card, and about $25 of school supplies from Wal-Mart. If you shop during the back-to-school sales in late July and early August, you can still get quite a few supplies for $25!
Here is a good list for supply shopping:
FISKARS safety scissors (seriously worth the extra $1- they last for years!)
construction paper (mixed package)
Elmer’s school glue
Crayola crayons 24 pack (buy two per child, give them the new package half-way through the year!)
Wide lined notebook paper, or wide-lined notebooks
Elementary lined writing paper
a few three-prong pocket folders
tape (scoth and masking)
hand-held pencil sharpener
a package of white printer paper for “art class”
A few other tips:
5. As the parent with little children, you must teach yourself how to relax. This is (hopefully) just the beginning. It is a long way from First grade to graduation! God has a plan for your child, and He will reveal it in His timing. The only way to follow His path is to search for it, listen for it, and pray about it.
6. No two children are alike! You are going to be doing a lot of encouraging strengths, and working patiently to overcome weak areas, in the coming years. What works for your first child may or may not work for your second child. This is why I am a big proponent of NOT purchasing a lot of curriculum for elementary aged children. Library books are wonderful. You can check them out, read them together, and then return them. Stop thinking about how YOUR elementary education went, and start thinking about a better method. Strive for a better education for your children by letting them be children. Let them explore, let them move around, take them outside: to the park, to the woods, to the post office. Then take them home and read to them. You’ll teach them to read a little bit at a time, and you’ll work on math a lot, but your children will still have wonder in their hearts for this great big, interesting world that God has made. Cultivate the wonder!
Take time to be you!
7. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the education of your children and forget to take time to be you. Not time for Mom or Dad, but time for Mary or Joe, Susan or Ralph. If you take just a little time each week to work on some adult thing that you enjoy, whether it’s sewing or fishing, fixing cars or learning to ski, you will be a better parent. Parents of littles who set aside a small time each week to ‘just be adults’ seem happier, healthier, and less prone to lose their cool when their children start pushing their buttons. And they will ~ they'll push your buttons. It’s a part of learning about boundaries. Be the parent, and still be your own person, and you’ll be better able to model healthy boundaries in your own life. For more about "Mom and Dad time" read my week 2 post about homeschool schedules.
8. Finally, my number one tip for homeschooling elementary aged children?
Prayer, lots and lots of prayer, and then some more prayer, and maybe a little nap.
Come meet some of my friends and read their tips for homeschool parents:
Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Jennifer @ A Peace of Mind
Jennifer @ Faithful Homestead
Joelle @ homeschooling for His Glory
Joesette @ Learning Curve
Kari @ Random Acts of Boyhood
Katie @ Katie's Daily Life
Kemi @ Homemaking Organized
Kim @ Homestead Acres
Kylie @ Our Worldwide Classroom