One of the obstacles you may discover in making the transition from your kids attending school to Home Educating them is how to replicate a school feeling environment. Kids can often be far better behaved at school than in the home as there are set rules, set times and set consequences for their actions. Some of these reasons are why you’re choosing to take your kids out of school but it can be hard for them if they are used to learning in a particular way and in a particular environment, to make a smooth transition, as suddenly being at home seems more like having a day off. When things like their toys, their electronic devices, surround them and even the home TV they can become distracted. And when there seems to be no hard daily deadlines or uniforms then how do you get them to a place where they feel like they are ready to learn each morning? We have a few tips down bellow of how you can make the transition into home educating as smooth as possible and give boundaries that are firm, fair and conducive to your child’s leaning.
Create a learning Space
One of the biggest hurdles can be getting your child into the learning frame of mind each day. How do they feel like they are able to learn if they are lounging around in Pajamas and sitting on the kitchen table? One of the best ways to combat this is to create a learning space. Depending on the size of your house this can be easy or hard. If you are fortunate enough to have a larger home with room for a study or spare bedroom then this can be perfectly easy. Spend time with your child in doing up the room, putting up posters on the walls. Finding a suitable desk and chair, some draw space where they are able to order their books into subjects. If a child has been home educated from the start they may not need such a space to feel like they are ready to learn but if a child is making that transition then it helps to ease them into things. Having a space where they can be ordered and uncluttered can help separate home life from school life, they know in this room is where most of their core subjects can be done and it is also a place free of distraction. If you have younger kids home then your school age kids need to have that space where they can sit and concentrate on their learning and the tasks ahead.
If you do not have the luxury of a whole room to give your child or children then you will have to get a bit more creative! Depending on the layout of your home, it’s best to try and find a more tucked away corner or something you can even partly partition off. Even if they cannot have a whole room to themselves still having a set desk and some areas they can decorate with good work they have done, times table charts or maps of the world can really help to make kids feel the difference between normal home life and now their education life.
When you are designing your childs learning space keep in mind you do want to make it a nice colourful and inviting place for them, keep it personal and make a space where they will be happy to be, sit and work.
Dressing for learning
School uniforms were introduced for a number of reasons, to help unify the students and mark them as members of a certain establishment. To help put all students on an equal standing and also to mark the difference between school life and outside life. If your child is used to wearing a uniform day in day out and now find themself at home to pull to keeping pajamas on all day may be rather strong. While harmless enough seeming, wearing bed wear through out the day can actually have a negative affect on your child’s learning because there is no separation between lounging and work, staying in pajamas can make it easier for a child to want to procrastinate or stay comfy on the couch for just a little longer. So when you are working out your school hours with your kids make sure that they have a certain time they need to be properly dressed at. This will help put them into a better mind frame to start their daily education.
The beauty of home education is it’s flexibility but being too flexible can sometimes be a curse for parents and children alike. If there is no real structure to your child learning day it can very easily get to late afternoon and you’ll find not much has been achieved. Have a think about the school hours you want to keep, ones that will work well for you and for your child. If they procrastinate all morning and then only start to work when other kids are coming back from school they could be missing out on fun playtime with friends or extracurricular activities such as sport and drama classes. You do not have to be completely rigid and sometimes learning opportunities can open up in different ways and you may take a morning to go on a learning exploration out side of the home, but when working with your child’s core subjects having a starting and finishing time of the day can be helpful, both for you and for them so they will know how much time they have to get their learning work done.
A Daily and weekly timetable can assist when thinking about your school hours. Enlist the help of your child when planning their timetable; ask their opinions of what should go where. If you put down math science and English all in a row they may have a little leaning overload! Part of Home Education is allowing kids to learn the way they want to learn, there do need to be boundaries within this of course but all children learn differently. Your child may prefer to get to work early in the morning and power through their subjects leaving the whole afternoon free, or they may need more frequent breaks between core subjects. Sometimes your subjects may coincide and you could be learning about science through a sports game. Its great to have that flexibility but it is easier to allow for the flexible way of learning if you have a basic map. That’s why putting down a basic time table really helps you and your child keep track of where they are at and how much work they have achieved for each day or week.
Are Boundaries in Line with Home Education?
Some of these ideas of structure and creating separate work environments may seem like they go against the very reason why you are choosing to go down the path of Home Education, but remember, home educating is not about simply fleeting the modern ways of learning, it is about creating a safe and good environment where a child wants to learn and to take learning into their own hands. But you need to always take into account that children are children and going from having a lot of structure in their life to none they will not adapt so quickly on their own or want to give up this new found freedom of no uniforms and no set times. That’s why it is import to help guide them through this transition by setting in place some rules and boundaries as even with home education they still have to pass certain exams and grading and you want them to be learning as well as possible. By giving children guidelines you are allowing them the security them need to grow and take their learning into their own hands.