A few years back we took the proverbial giant leap into homeschooling and I must say it’s been exciting, rewarding and challenging. Here are a few tips we have picked along the way on getting started successfully.
Get online, read books and visit a few home-schools. Learn as much as you can. Find out which organizations provide home based education as well as what the Kenyan law says about homeschooling.
2. Why Home-School?
What things are important to you? A higher quality of education, more time with your children, and learning in a safe environment? We, for example, wanted to nurture our children’s gifts, build their character and help them attain life skills. Your list of reasons should help you develop a vision and goals to guide your home-school experience.
3. Get Prepared
Good planning is crucial to the success of the home school. You will need to plan your time well keeping in mind your various roles as say, a wife and homemaker. Define your education goals and how you will reach them. What do you want to accomplish in the first year? Source for learning materials, plan for field trips, sports, music and more.
4. Create your homeschooling Space
Which part of the house will you use as a class? Some families prefer the dining area, either in the kitchen or living room while others use a spare room. Consider fixtures like book cabinet, a computer, a board and other items to get you organized.
5. Going against the Grid
Although the homeschooling fraternity has been around for decades, it’s relatively new in our Kenyan culture; it still raises eyebrows and draws negative criticism. Build enough resolve to deal with such and more should they arise.
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6. Prepare Financially
Choosing to home-school is a tough decision given the demands and sacrifices one has to make. Are you ready to be a single income household? Contrary to popular opinion, homeschooling is not cheap, be prepared to spend on learning materials, research, exploring your child’s talents, field trips etc.
7. Which Model Works?
Your choice of homeschooling model will vary depending on your goals, personality and interests. Some will prefer a more open approach not tied to curriculums, while others choose a more structured approach. Yet, others opt to combine a few curriculums to cater for their children’s diverse needs. Whichever direction you go, organizations such as Elimu Nyumbani can help you make an informed decision.
8. Join a Community
As a homeschooler, sometimes you will feel like your kids are isolated or missing out. It helps to join a community of other homeschoolers for socialization, encouragement, sharing of resources, sports, field trips and other activities.
9. Be flexible, Have Fun
Finally, keep in mind that children learn best in an atmosphere of love and affirmation. Create a memorable experience for them. Be ready to adapt, adjust and keep improving. Homeschooling is an extension of parenting so make every moment count, both at home and away.
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