Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Homeschooling and Socialization

Homeschooling, in spite of its growing popularity and acceptance, is still facing some issues. Some of those issues are quite valid, while some are not, and there are also others that are quite debatable. One of those lingering issues is about the supposedly negative effects that homeschooling has on the social skills of children who are educated through this system.
The issue of socialization is a very serious one, considering the importance of proper development of social skills in any individual's life. And when a whole educational system is being questioned about its alleged or supposed negative effects about socializing, it has to be considered very seriously. It is also important to note that this belief has been made and supported by professional educators. However, if it is analyzed any further, it would be proven to be something that's entirely untrue.
What has served as the basis of the belief that homeschooling affects the development of social skills is that those who say so feel that school is the sole place where kids have any chance of learning and developing social skills. To a certain extent, school does help in the much needed development of social skills, but kids who are home-schooled also have opportunities that are not really available to kids who go to a regular school.
Since their time is, shall we way a little more "flexible", home-schooled kids have more opportunities to travel and visit places such as museums, parks, beaches, and even shows. And they are able to do this when it is not too crowded, with just the right chance to socialize and learn about the place and the other people visiting it as well. It has also been shown that home-schooled kids are also active in different sports, are seriously taking up art, acting, music, dance, and many other kinds of classes.
For the parents who are really concerned about socializing but would like their kids to go through a homeschooling program, there are some things that can be done. Some of these things that they or their home-schooled children could do are the following:
  • It would help to seek out others who are also into homeschooling and make friends with them. With the kind of technology we have today, this is pretty easy. Or, you could opt to go the old route and try to meet them in public places such as libraries.

  • There are also groups that you can join, groups such as 4 - H. It is a youth development organization that kids can join and then make choices about the clubs within the organization that specifically cater to his or her interests.

  • Joining and participating in local sports programs and tournaments in your community is an excellent way of being exposed to other people and also developing one's social skills. And of course, there are several other activities that allow kids to meet others who are like them - with their likes and interests - than sports.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Structure the School Year

Now that you have begun your homeschooling schedule, there are various questions that trouble you. Should you study continuously, take a number of short breaks or a long vacation? What about public holidays? When should you take a break?
The answer to these questions and many more like these are actually quite simple: Do whatever suits you best. This is one of the appealing benefits of homeschooling. You do not have a set pattern to follow. You do not HAVE to take that autumn break, or close shop for a prolonged summer vacation. Flexibility is the key here. For some practiced unschoolers, even a definite curriculum is not necessary because lessons are a part of their day- to-day life. But this may not be the case with beginners. Beginners may need to chart out their activities to fall into a pattern.
Before you plan the structure of your classes, consider some of the most important issues. What method of homeschooling will you be following, what is your teaching style and your child's learning style, what are the work and play schedules, what are your vacation plans. Some families plan small 1-week vacations at different times of the year. Other families prefer to go away for a month or more. Consult with the members of your family, and chart out a holiday schedule that most suits you.
There are some positive benefits in following the traditional summer vacation schedule. Firstly, your children can benefit from the various summer activities, camps and classes. Your child's schedule will coincide with that of his school-going friends. A summer job may be possible. A longish summer break also means that both parents as well as children get a break from their daily lessons. This could also be a major drawback, as it is sometimes difficult to get back on track once the classes resume.
On the other hand, there are some advantages to taking numerous small breaks in the course of a year. Firstly, children do not get bored since they get time to explore other interests. You can cover more topics in the extra time that you save. You can also take family trips and vacations during the less popular periods of travel. This means lesser crowd and better prices. But beware if your child becomes restless when other children are enjoying their long summer vacations.
As far as homeschooling is concerned, you and your family are the people in charge. Taking care of the individual needs of the child is the primary focus of this system. So, tailor the school year to suit your child's needs. Periodic evaluation is a must. Set some realistic goals and see if you are able to achieve these goals. Most importantly, avoid burnout - both in yourself and your children.