Updated: Sep 21, 2021
In the time I've been homeschooling, which hasn't actually been that long, I've had people ask me for advice and their main concern is almost always "I don't think I could have the patience to sit and teach them all day". But homeschooling doesn't have to be sitting at a desk with exercise books scattered around you.
This post is really for the parent who wants to homeschool and wants to teach but doesn't really have the time or feels they might lack the patience, to do it. Some parents don't have a regime as such, some just go with the flow and others completely unschool. I think whatever path you choose is just brilliant, go with your flow, it's the only way to truly make homeschooling work for you and your family.
I create weekly lesson plans and I teach my kids from 8 am-12 pm and then our day is done. I have to, I work and if I didn't include some sort of structure, my kids would learn nothing at all. Don't get me wrong, if things aren't going well, we'll take a day off, and whenever we can, usually once a week, we head out for a day trip to learn hands-on. So, what if you love the idea of having a set period of the day for your children to learn, but you don't think you or they could sit there that long. Here are some handy tips that could make your life easier and get you the result that you want.
GET A MATHS TUTOR
If you can afford a tutor, get one. I pay a tutor £20 per week for a one-hour math session and for that she teaches both of my boys at the same time. I don't think £80 per month is too pricey and it gives me an hour to do whatever I need to do whilst they're busy zooming with Laura. We use Tutorful which I highly recommend.
LINE UP SOME TV SHOWS
No, I'm not kidding. If you're teaching your kids about a particular topic, you will be sure to find a TV show, documentary, or movie that's related to it. You could easily pick something from 30 minutes to an hour and it's a great way to teach. For example, when we've been learning about dinosaurs, we've watched Walking with Dinosaurs, when learning about the planet and our environment, just tune into anything hosted by David Attenborough. Amazon Prime Videos is amazing, they have some really obscure shows you wouldn't even know existed unless you searched for them. For example, we were learning about the continents so I typed it into the search and bingo! I got a whole series aimed at children about the continents. We've even watched movies like Ferndown Gully to understand how deforestation impacts habitats. Just be creative and you can kill another hour. I usually tie this up with a typing exercise. After the movie or TV show, I ask my boys to use their iPad keyboards to type up what they learned. That's another twenty minutes right there.
This is a no-brainer really. Thirty minutes of either telling them to go play in the back garden or exercising to an old Joe Wickes PE lesson from YouTube.
SIGN UP FOR A NEW LANGUAGE
My children do Spanish lessons with an online Tutor from their local area, which will eventually go back to face-to-face meetings once Covid buggers off. We use KidsLingo which is really great value for money. Our tutor charges just £5 per session for both my kids. All you need to do is type in your postcode to find someone near you. This is another 30 minutes' worth of sweat to wipe off your brow!
I scrapped forcing my kids to learn vocabulary when we were all left crying over trying to remember what a subordinating conjunction was. It's just not worth it. I love reading and writing and that passion came from one place, books! I couldn't tell you what an adverb is but I am a published poet. Children pick up grammar, spelling and all the vocab they need from reading and writing for FUN! I decided to invest in some creative writing books and we've been currently working on the Write and draw your own Comic books. This again, is another 20-30 minutes shaved off your educational responsibilities! Click here to see the book bundle which is truly worth the investment at only £19.99.
GO FOR A WALK
Not sure what that's going to achieve? How about naming trees, spotting insects and animals? Finding a river and marking its features or sitting on its bank and drawing a picture? There's plenty to do in the great outdoors and it's another hour or so off your shoulders! The Usborne book, Never Get Bored Outdoors is full of fun activities to do, everything from making games to spotting street names.
Ok so I'm spoiling you now, I've probably given you about five hours' worth of homeschooling without having to actually, erm, homeschool, right there. Apart from just being around, available to answer questions, and checking in to make sure someone hasn't got a pencil stuck up their nose, you should be able to work, sort the washing out or just enjoy a cup of tea and a book. You can pretty much use this format every day and chuck in some other things to make it more interesting, like swapping creative writing for a fun painting activity, or ditching the TV to do some baking or cooking (but make sure it's helping you cook something you will need to eat later, two birds with one stone and all that...)
I hope this has been helpful, let me know if it has or hasn't. Add in a day trip too and get involved with some home ed groups near you and you will realise you don't need the patience of a saint because you don't actually need to have your bottom glued to a chair watching your kids as they try to figure out a lesson you've set for them that you also, do not understand. Nobody needs that drama! Good luck.