Public school teachers have learned that making their classroom fun with decorations and a theme can help students get excited about coming in each day. Parents can do the same thing at home if they have a designated room or area and allow the kids to join in the process of choosing a theme for each year. This can be as simple as making covers for their print curriculum and allowing them to decorate any way they want to put posters and fun learning tools on the walls. This way, when they are looking around, they are still seeing the alphabet characters, math facts and other school-related items.
Another way to make homeschooling fun while creating an organized area and skills is to use the backpack, cubby or personalized desk area. Kids can bring their books to ‘class’ with the bookbag so they feel more like a student similar to what their friends do and it adds another layer of personalization and fun. This can be used to teach them responsibility in that they have to remember to put everything back in between studies and take it with them to their room or a designated spot. Take them school shopping for supplies, a lunchbox, pencil pouch and create a special place for them to keep their items.
Print textbooks are the primary format for a 1st and 2nd grade curriculum so it is important to review this prior to committing to a specific homeschool platform. The information should be current, understandable for the grade level and engaging for the student to follow. At this level, pictures and words are combined together to give students a visual display of the concept being taught which can also help parents as they teach. This includes a lesson planner for parents to follow so their child can accomplish a reasonable number of assignments on a daily basis and keep them on task. The benefit of homeschooling is that parents can adjust this based on their child’s unique learning approach and still ensure that they finish on time with passing grades.
Take advantage of creating your own schedule to maximize the student’s best learning time. If they are a morning person than a plan to start early and finish before they hit their ‘low’ in the afternoon; however, if sleeping in gives them more energy and attentiveness then you may want to have a later start time. The goal is to give the student the best possible chance at working through the textbooks and absorbing the information, so they can build skills and knowledge for the next grade. Discuss options with your student and keep adjusting until you find the right balance so they can play with friends, have time to study and still get their work done.
Get creative and don’t stick to just ‘book learning’. Parents who take on the role of part or full-time homeschool teachers for their kids have the advantage of being able to incorporate field trips, hands-on lessons and changing up the environment. If the student is learning about nature, then take the lesson outdoors and allow them to see firsthand what they are reading about so that it makes the information more interesting. Field trips to the zoo, local museums or even theme parks can be used to demonstrate lessons learned in the book and make them memorable, so they are more likely to hold on to what they read.
Interactive electronic games can accomplish two purposes. First, this is always a fun way for kids to learn when they are playing educational games with their favorite characters and using an electronic device like the smartphone, tablet or laptop. A second benefit is getting them used to work online which becomes a homeschool curriculum option starting in 3rd grade. The 2nd grade homeschool curriculum is print because it has been found to be the most effective for kids to learn with this format based on the age and development, but parents can choose either one in the next higher grades depending on which one works best.
Elementary grades are a critical building block in education and setting the student up for success in junior high and high school but they can be fun with some of the best memories created in families. Make these first few years a family event with vacations used as geography adventures, bring history alive by visiting the places they read about and find out what gets your student excited. Homeschooling is the only education form that can be personalized to each individual student by the people that know them best so that it is a collaborative effort for everyone. Partner with a reliable online platform that provides administrative support, quality curriculum and a portal for learning and documents as they progress into the higher grades.