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Home Schooling - The Free Basics to Getting Started

Jan 11, 2008
Having made the decision that home schooling is the best learning opportunity for your child, you now need to consider some basic steps in order to create that school environment. Follow the easy steps below and you'll soon have a free basic schoolroom in which to get your home schooling experience off to a great start.

1. Where is your Classroom? One of the easiest things you can do is to decide which part of your home is going to be the "classroom". It doesn't need to be an entire room, but it does need to be somewhere that's seldom - if ever - used for anything else.

A good thing about having a designated area as a classroom means that once your child enters that place, they know that they are there to learn, and not to play. The "tag" of classroom helps them make the mental shift from "home" to "school". This also shows the level of importance you place on education because you are willing to donate part of the home strictly for this purpose. It sends a positive message about your views of education to your child. So think carefully about the usual use and flow of your home and then pick a study area that will be kept out of bounds for anything other than home schooling.

2. Setting up your Classroom: You need to have room to sit down with your child while they learn. There needs to be a table for their books and shelves for reference material. Ideally having a lot of natural light would be good to help your child focus, but if this isn't possible, then adequate electric light needs to supplied. If possible, having at least one wall area that you can pin things on is a great advantage as is the use of a computer within the "classroom" area.

If you don't have space in your home to give an entire area 100% to your classroom, then make sure that the area you choose does have the ability to keep school things such as charts, reference books, etc. in the area at all times so that you don't have to keep pinning things up and moving them around. Some of your other audio visual materials, for example an easel, globe or whiteboard, may have to be stored elsewhere when you aren't actually using them, but the less you need to move things around, the more time you will have for teaching your child.

Your child is going to spend most of his time sitting at the desk or table, so make sure that the work surface is at a good height for him and that the chair is comfortable. If possible, make a storage area beside the desk for him to keep his study materials in so that again time isn't wasted in collecting these each day before school begins.

3. Setting up the Rules: Having set up the physical area, now you need to establish the rules of your school. In a normal classroom environment the rules are there simply to keep order among a large number of students, but that doesn't mean that home schooling should be without rules. Think about the rules a normal school has - such as asking if they may go to the bathroom, or no music, or the correct way to ask a question - and then consider which of the rules you want to keep within your own schoolroom.

Some of these rules may seem petty in a small environment, whereas others may be a good foundation for later in life when your child will be expected to know how to wait his turn for something. Decide which rules your home schooling environment will implement, write these down, discuss them with your child, and then ensure that you enforce them.

4. Setting up the Study: You will need to create your own study timetable, even if you are following a set curriculum offered by one of the home schooling organizations. To do this, read their information carefully and allocate the right number of hours per subject per week. The beauty of home schooling is in its flexibility, but you must ensure that you cover all of the material required for the academic year, and to do that, you must ensure the right number of hours per subject.

You know your child best. You know his strengths and his weaknesses. You know where you're going to find it difficult to keep his focus, and the subject's he'll focus on all day if you'd let him. Use this information when scheduling his study time; it could be that four half-hour blocks in subjects he doesn't focus well on will be more productive than two one-hour ones. Set the initial timetable and run it for a trial 2 weeks to see how it works, and then tweak anything you think could work better.

A successful home schooling experience comes from good planning, organization and a positive, flexible approach to learning. Use the steps above to put the foundation blocks for this into place and you'll be off to a good start.

You need to have room to sit down with your child while they learn. There needs to be a table for their books, and shelves for reference material. Ideally having a lot of natural light would be good to help your child focus, but if this isn't possible, then adequate electric light needs to supplied. If possible having at least one wall area that you can pin things on is a great advantage as is the use of a computer within the "classroom" area.
About the Author
Jane Saeman runs an In-Home Tutoring service called Aim High Tutors. Find out about how to help your student reach their full potential at http://www.aimhightutors.com/blog
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