As a former classroom teacher, I wasn’t too worried about how to teach my children when we started homeschooling. I figured that teaching everything from Kindergarten through 8th grade gave me plenty of wiggle room in terms of being able to homeschool them for awhile. But, aside from the always asked socialization question, the question that comes up most often from new homeschooling parents or those considering homeschool is, “How do I teach my children?”
Rest assured, there are many different methods you can choose from to teach your children. How you decide on your teaching methods comes down to a balance between what you’re comfortable with and how your children respond best. Homeschooling is very different from classroom teaching and, even with my experience, I admit that I stumbled and waded through self-doubt and indecision when it came to choosing the best homeschool curriculums.
In the end, how you teach your children is going to be based a lot on how they learn and what you feel comfortable teaching. Consider the following things when thinking about how to teach your children. They will help make the process a lot easier!
How to Teach Your Child
Consider Individual Needs
This is perhaps the most important difference between homeschooling and classroom learning – taking into account how your child learns and heading in that direction. Plan lessons around each child’s individual needs and learning style. No two people learn in exactly the same way or at the same pace - and that is perfectly normal!
When planning lessons to teach your child, think about how your child responds to lessons and their likes and dislikes to motivate positive learning. If you force them to do workbooks and they learn best through hands-on activities, you’re both going to be miserable! Ironically, I always thought my kids would learn best through hands-on experiences, but they actually prefer workbooks! Go figure.
Be Patient and Take Breaks in Between Lessons
The key with children is patience, especially when it comes to learning. Some kids need more patience than others. Other times, it’s the parents who might need a timeout. Sometimes, when teaching your own kids, it can be easy to want to push them or yourself harder than you should. Be patient and slow down when necessary. We often have higher expectations and lower patience levels than our classroom teaching counterparts, so don’t forget to take a deep breath and realize your child is going to be fine.
Everyone needs a break, both parent and child. This goes along with being patient. When breaks are warranted, take them. When you’re teaching your own child, you can be less strict on the exact timing and scheduling of lessons. That means that if you need to take a run-around-at-the-park for a half-hour break, you take it. The ultimate success of your homeschooling efforts is not going to be based on how expensive the curriculum you buy is, it’s going to be based on how patient you are and how curious you let your child become.
Leave Room for Playing
Life isn’t about just hitting the books – and that comes to homeschooling too. Remember to let the kids play in between and even during some lessons. Playing actually helps kids learn, as well as helps them express their emotions in a positive and constructive way. Play is one of the many ways kids learn to lead a productive adult life.
If you feel weird about letting them play outside in the middle of the day when everyone else is at school, turn the play into something educational. We would play sight word hopscotch or go on a scavenger hunt to identify as many different types of leaves as we could find. Learning became part of the playing that kept them happy and active. And it gave us all a break from the “work” side of homeschooling.
How to Teach Your Child Specific Subjects
There are many resources and books available to learn about different teaching methodologies and practices, but some of the best teaching comes from the heart. If you’re struggling with some aspects of teaching, here are the affiliate links to some of my favorite teaching resources. Many are probably available at your local library as well.
How to Teach Your Child Reading
- Literary Adventures for Kids- Hands-on book studies, poetry studies, and book clubs for kids developed by a homeschool mom.
- The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Childby Donalyn Miller
- From Striving to Thriving: How to Grow Confident, Capable Readersby Stephanie Harvey
- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessonsby Siegfried Engelmann
How to Teach Your Child Writing
- The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Awakening Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Gradesby Judith C. Hochman and Natalie Wexler
- The Writing Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writersby Jennifer Serravallo
- The Big Book of Details: 46 Moves for Teaching Writers to Elaborateby Rozlyn Linder
How to Teach Your Child Math
- Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students' Potential Through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teachingby Jo Boaler
- Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathematician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricksby Arthur Benjamin and Michael Shermer
- Janice VanCleave's Math for Every Kidby Janice VanCleave
How to Teach Your Child Science
- Science Logic Curriculum - hands-on science curriculum designed by a homeschool mom!
- All of Janice VanCleave's Science Books are great!
How to Teach Your Child Social Studies
- Online Social Studies Unit Studies- A wide selection of social studies and history online unit studies for kids developed by a homeschool mom. There are a half-dozen free unit studies listed as well!
- File Folder Games in Color: Social Studies - 10 Ready to Go Games that Help Children Learn Key Social Studies Concepts and Vocabulary - Independentlyby Immacula Rhodes
How to Teach Your Child Music and Art
- Music in Our Homeschool - Lessons about all types of music, music appreciation, and more! Developed with curious homeschoolers in mind by a homeschooling mom.
- You Are an Artist/Chalk Pastel- Hands-on video art lessons for kids from a homeschool mom.
Remember, you know your children best, so don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path and try something new. Combine multiple styles of teaching into one and give your children the help and education they need and deserve. You can do this!
Questions about how to teach your children? Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to help you!