Even with dismal statistics, today’s parents can find academic, family, and spiritual success. The main determining factor is “How high of priority is it?” Homeschooling is one of the best structures to succeed as a parent.
First, parents really do need to have their act together to consider homeschooling. If the parent’s life isn’t straightened out, homeschooling may be the worse thing for the child. Fixing our own life shows children they are a top priority!
Just by having a stay at home parent, the quality of the family increases greatly. For many, this means financial and other goals may need to be adjusted. Is it better to have a nicer house at the expense of our children’s real needs? Is it better to stay in a neighborhood or city at the expense of our children’s real needs? Homeschoolers that begin at preschool ages will have the best success. Parents that wait until later have many more obstacles to overcome. If you haven’t yet, read the tips in the post “Bringing your child home”. Some parents, especially single parents may need to pursue training and real opportunities for a home-based business, so homeschooling is a possibility. Read the tips in “Single parent homeschooling”.
A child can develop a negative attitude toward homeschooling for several reasons. Parents need to be aware of common causes for negative attitudes toward homeschooling before they happen. This helps to prevent problems. This awareness helps to choose the right structure for the family’s unique situation when first beginning to homeschool.
Here are some common situations that can cause a child to have a negative attitude toward homeschooling:
It is common for many parents to start out with a great zeal toward homeschooling. At first, there is great effort put into it. For some, this zeal wears out. Standards begin to drop and shortcuts begin to appear. If a parent does not truly evaluate the long term commitment and discipline required when starting, several problems develop later that will cause a negative attitude in the child. If unsure of the long term commitment, it is often better to use a program that reduces the parent responsibilities. Some programs cover the basics to leave Mom or Dad to only make sure the child starts work each day and then supervises that the child stays working during the period prescribed or until the daily work requirements are complete. Most programs also require the parent to encourage quality work is being done through incentives and praise. However, these programs free up a great amount of time for the parent to apply to specific areas as the parent has energy, such as creating special projects, planning field trips, focusing on a customized class, or occasionally tutoring more difficult concepts. When using a program, if the parent becomes sick or is sidetracked, the core structure is still covered by the program. A homeschool program will also place some external accountability on the student in a good way that will help achieve a quantity of high quality work is completed.
If the child doesn’t get the proper amount of assistance, he will get frustrated and blame homeschooling. This is often related to the previous paragraph, but is sometimes related to occasional difficult concepts where the parent does not know how to give assistance. This situation can be avoided more by using a self-teaching curriculum that is also called an individualized curriculum. There are even some programs that use an individualized curriculum, plus offer teacher assistance for difficult concepts when needed. This can take the pressure off the parent, plus greatly reduce student frustration. Two examples of this type of program can be found further below.
If a child has already struggled in academics for several years and has developed negative behavior habits, conflict can continue at home. Even if there are no negative behavior habits, an academically struggling child may not understand why he has to homeschool. Usually it is helpful to explain why homeschooling can improve the child’s life, so he knows your motive. Even then, it can be challenging due to the child’s proposed change in social structure.
Is there hope? Yes! Children have to be the number one priority to parents. Even though a parent feels the child is a top priority, actions are needed, not just feelings. Parents may need to change their own life to correct this situation. Today, there are homeschool programs that help with “outside the family” accountability and academic assistance. Children with negative behavior problems need extra attention, incentives, and shown the parent truly cares.
Tips for homeschool structure:
An individualized curriculum should be used. This allows the student to work at his speed and ability level, no matter the ability. This is the most efficient method of education to maximize every student’s learning. This also can prevent gaps in learning that cause future struggles. Every child will occasionally need more time on a particular concept. Rather than advance without mastery in a paced classroom structure, an individualized structure prevents weak foundations. See Why use an individualized curriculum?
For a child to develop absolute morals, a curriculum should not explain God away. A biblical-based curriculum also teaches that children should honor their parents.
A structure to fight today’s negative technology is needed. There has to be something to replace TV, video games, social media, cell phones, and hanging out at the mall. Electives, hobbies, and skill training should be added to the core curricula in the interest areas of each child. The promotion of reading through big incentives will develop future readers. Networking with others who have similar values should be promoted. Getting the entire family plugged into a church that has other homeschoolers is good.