Homeschool Tips from Daddy Academy
When my wife and I decided to homeschool our son, she immediately began soliciting advice: advice from friends, from experts, from websites, from people trying to sell us things (there was a significant overlap among these groups). For months, we stockpiled spelling books, handwriting books, math books, recommended reading books, activity books, and an assortment of curricula. Then our son started kindergarten and we realized that most of them were completely unnecessary.
A major benefit of homeschooling is that the student is being taught by a parent, someone who knows them well and who can adapt the lesson style, schedule, and content to fit his interests and needs. That advantage is also what makes it difficult, and perhaps undesirable, to give one-size-fits-all homeschooling advice on The Right Way(TM) to educate your children. What works for one family or one child may not fit all families or all children. And since I've only been homeschooling my four children for three years, who knows whether my approach is a good one either?
Despite my reservations, I think there are general principles that can be useful for homeschooling and which I've learned through experience. Feel free to embrace those you find helpful and reject those you don't. Except for the first one:
- Have a Schedule - "if the schedule is directing our work, then there's no point in complaining to Daddy; he's just following the schedule."
- Push Reading First - "Reading is not just another subject in school; it is the way to learn every other subject."
- Schedule 1-on-1 Time - "1-on-1 time is where the bulk of truly new learning happens."
- Use Technology - "if your children are only ever exposed to educational apps, they will be enthralled and will likely not even notice that they're learning."
- Embrace Educational Standards - "without some kind of educational standards, it will be extremely hard to avoid gaps in your children's knowledge."
- Teach Outside of School - "Some of my most pleasant and educational conversations with my kids take place in the car"
- Relax - "Focus on what matters most and give the non-essentials a seat at the kiddie table"
If anyone reading this essay has questions about it or about Christianity in general, feel free to e-mail me at Neil -AT- Shenvi.org. I also highly recommend the book The Reason for God by Tim Keller. It is phenomenal. Free sermons treating many of the topics covered by this book can be found here.