Although my degree is in Education, I taught for a summer ministry during my pre-mom years, and have taught many times for our home business, I haven’t felt like I was using my schooling or experience much as a mom.
However, now that I am starting to embark on homeschool preschool, there are just a couple things that have helped me stay unusually organized. It’s almost come naturally, and since I’m not a naturally organized, I can only attribute it to my education and experience finally helping me as a homemaker! (Yay!!)
I have homeschool preschooled my rambunctious 3 year old and his organized (but her-way-is-the-best-way-even-if-it-means-grasping-her-pencil-in-her-fist-to-write) 2 year old in a structured setting for a year and in the normal mom-way for 2 years. (This is where you read learning books, sing the alphabet a lot, and count things through the day. It’s basically just being a mom.)
I know that not all moms are going to be able to school at home, but these couple points could help with homework too!
1. Determine Your MAIN Goal:
It’s not as simple as it sounds. I had to reevaluate my main goal a few months ago, and it has been a sigh of relief since!
What is your main goal?
-That your child is ahead of the other kids in his play group or class?
-That he learn to become self-motivated with his homework?
-That he learn to love school and look forward to it?
This will determine the amount of time you spend, what subjects you focus on (subjects he loves vs subjects that will help him with other goals etc.), and sometimes even your approaches.
I used to want my son to be better then the other kids, and it frustrated me that he was not writing his name or reciting the alphabet by 2 like a couple of the little girls in his Sunday school. However, upon reevaluation of my MAIN goal, I decided my goal for him as a preschooler, is to learn to love learning. (This may likely change, but let’s avoid burn-out by K-5.) I also realized that it was my pride – not my desire for his growth – that was motivating me to want him to be faster in school then he was.
Realizing that I was using my little son to boost my own ego and determining a different goal has helped school to become a time we all look forward to and has caused me to take some different approaches to it.
Because last year my little kids could only handle an hour of formal school time and because my MAIN goal was that they learn to enjoy learning:
- We limited formal school to 30m – 60m each day
- We limited formal school to 4 subjects
- We used their specific learning styles and interests to make it easier for them
- Visual Learners will need more pictures. (Dollar Store has tons of $1 school visuals!)
- Audio Learners will need to hear concepts spoken or speak the concepts themselves.
- Kinestetic learners will need to touch or move or act out the concepts.
- Goal-Oriented kids will do best with a reward system.
- Music loving kids will learn 10 times better if you turn lessons into little rhymes and songs.
- Artists will enjoy subjects they get to draw in or create with.
- Organizers will do better when you describe everything as having a place. “This is where the ‘A’ goes – in front of the ‘B.’ That’s where it belongs!’ They do best with categories and structure.
And the list goes on.
2. Make a Short List of Objectives at the Start of Every Semester or Season.
According to my college professors, this is something all teachers are supposed to do in each class they teach in grade school through doctoral classes. If you do your job well (the professors in college would tell us teachers in training) you can write your final test from your objectives.
In practice, your students may not hit everything on your list of objectives, they may excel in some areas and not achieve other areas. That is normal.
The reason for list is that it gives you a quick reference as you make teaching decisions through the semester. It also helps you evaluate areas you have not thought of that need attention.
Here’s how it works: If you are going to do a family day somewhere and you remember that your child is learning about monkey breeds this semester, you are more likely to hit that at the zoo.
If you are at the dollar store and see some flashcards, you’ll know that your 2 year old is working on counting to 10 and having some flashcards in your purse for wait times would be helpful.
Here’s How to Make Your Objective List:
1. Label each subject your child will be learning.
2. Write one to 5 goals under each subject about what your child will learn at the end of the semester.
3. Keep it short. If possible, it should not be longer then a page. You want to be able to refer to it easily.
My kids are young so their lists were easy and short. They took me less then an hour to write. I then kept the lists on the frig for a few weeks until I had the hang of them and after that just kept them in their school drawer.
Here is a copy of my 3 year old’s semester goals. I did not write these because I looked up what 3 year olds are supposed to do at that age. I simply knew that these were attainable goals he could reach over the semester. We did better then I planned on some areas, and we did not attain everything in other areas.
The formatting is not perfect on this list, but this is my actual list so I’m being honest here.
I wrote out the character traits because they were important to me, and I had space on my one-sheet list. Having them accessible made those an item that we did the well at in our endeavors.
3. At the end of each day, take one minute to write down what they learned and need to work on.
Then I put my list on my frig and through the day can say to my child, “Do you remember what sound the ‘G’ makes?”
(If I didn’t put it on the frig, I’d completely forget to review with them because I’m an out of sight and out of mine person. Not everyone will need a visual reminder.)
Even on days that I forget to review with them, I still have an easy, brainless reminder when we are starting school the next day.
Here are 3 tips that have helped us A LOT! As a new homeschooler, I would LOVE to here any tips from more experienced moms!!