"I just don't know if I could home school."
Those statements and several others are some I hear often from parents who are not happy with their child's current school situation. Anyone can home educate, it's just not for everyone. But sending your child to a traditional school doesn't mean you can't be proactive in their education. Another comment I hear from scores of wanna be home educators is: "I just wouldn't know what to do." Well, I'm going to share some tips and websites that will be useful for those afterschooling. Now what's that? Afterschooling is simply extending the school day beyond regular hours and might include reinforcement activities or supplemental instruction such as studying a subject not taught in school.
Now here are some tips and resources I hope you find useful for enhancing your child's learning experience...
*Cooking can cover both math and science. Let your child help you bake a pie. Measuring ingredients and cutting into parts covers math. The process of going from mostly dry ingredients to a finished, cooked pie covers science. Cooking together will also encourage healthier eating habits.
We've even melted down old broken crayons and blended in inexpensive soap molds to create new colors in fun shapes which makes for a great impromptu and utilitarian science project for young kids.
*Book reports or essays are perfect accompaniments to whatever your kids are reading in their down time. The child's ability should dictate which you implement. This is a great opportunity to encourage reading beyond what's required in schools while making it easier to grasp the concept of book reporting or essay writing. So, if your child is immersed in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, have them write a book report about it.
*Blogging is my absolute favorite learning enhancer. It's so accessible, budget friendly, and gratifying. I plan to let my seven year old begin blogging on my space. I'll have him type his two cents on some of my blog posts so that he gets comfortable with the concept of blogging. In a year or two, I'll set him loose in his own space. Giving kids a space to be creative and articulate themselves is just a gift. If they like legos, let them blog about all of their awesome creations. If they enjoy video games, let them blog about that. Don't be afraid of the internet as blogging is something parents can heavily monitor to keep kids safe online.
Online resources. Kids like visuals and being "connected," so try one of these free websites.
*Khan Academy is an amazing collection of videos teaching every math topic from basic addition to calculus and science topics including biology, organic chemistry, and physics. Concepts are presented in short, simple nuggets. It's the perfect study tool. ALL AGES.
*Book Adventures has tons of reading quizzes on many familiar titles like Frog and Toad Are Friends, Harry Potter, Miracle's Boys, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. These can be used for required and pleasure reading. Grades K-8.
*Starfall will get your preschooler off to a good start with their free online phonics program. This is a staple in the homeschool community. It's a site that kids learn to navigate quickly and easily. Grades PreK-2.
*Head of the Class is a fairly new site that boasts curriculum based instruction for grades PreK through eight (currently PK-3 are available but the other grades have release dates posted). Registration is required but only to keep track of your child's activity as they complete assignments. This is a comprehensive way to compliment your child's day school activities. They cover every subject including Spanish and Art. This would be great for summer reviewing of the previous grade completed or getting ahead on the next grade level.
I really hope these few tips create a jumping off point for those wanting to be more proactive in their child's education. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. There's tons of resources to be found with a little research. Happy learning!