Tuesday

Things Homeschoolers Do That Everyone Should Do

Homeschoolers are a wealth of information, but if you don't know anyone who homeschools you are might be missing out.  I'm sharing some of that wealth of information here.  Below you will find some of my favorite things homeschoolers have taught me.  These are the things that I think everyone should be doing.

 Use the Library
   
Lots of people use the library, but homeschoolers take full advantage of the local library.  I've seen homeschoolers take laundry baskets into the library so they could check out as many books as they like without worrying about carrying their loot.

Our local library has a 50 book limit, but if you get your kids their own cards you can check out 50 books per person!  Obviously, that's a lot of books, but what a fun afternoon to sit down on the floor with your kids surrounded by piles of books.  We try to do this once a week.  If we don't read everything it's OK, but sometimes we get in the groove and my kids are begging to go back to the library the next day!

 Continue to Learn along side their Children
   
Homeschoolers are always learning.  One of the best parts of homeschooling is that you become acutely aware of every learning opportunity, and you try to capitalize on them.  Every parent should be doing this.  Children are always learning.

A trip to the grocery store is a great learning opportunity if you take the time.  Cooking is chemistry, cleaning teaches responsibility, weather is Science, and time and money teach math.  If your child asks a question that you don't know the answer to think of it as an opportunity to learn something new.  Stop what you are doing and look up the answer.  Not only will you be showing your children that you are always learning, but it will show them how to find answers.

 Create their own classes
     
Before I started homeschooling I thought I had to find the best classes for my kids.  I can't tell you how many homeschoolers I've seen take an idea for a class and invite over friends and do it themselves.  There is no reason to feel like you can't afford great classes, with the Internet and library you have all you need to teach your children anything. 

If you feel like it's a lot of work, why not invite some friends to join you?  You might be surprised by how many other parents want to do this too.  Before you know it you'll have your own little co-op going! 

 Curriculum
   
Homeschoolers tend to have strong ideas about curriculum.  It would be hard to find two families doing the same thing.  Although, opinions about curriculum are strong, most homeschoolers love talking about different programs.  I think those who don't homeschool would enjoy getting in on the conversation too. 

Lots of communities organize used curriculum sales a few times a year.  Usually, at the beginning of the school year and at the end.  Do an Internet search and check one out.  It's a great place to try out new materials without committing to spend lots of money of things you might not use. 

You don't have to homeschool to have great resources around your house!  Just remember, you don't have to read every page or work on every worksheet.  Curriculum is not something just for teachers.  Parents should feel totally welcome to peruse curriculum and find resources for their kids too, even if they aren't homeschooling.

Share Ideas
     
One of the things I love most about homeschoolers is their willingness to share ideas.  Whenever one parent is in need of advice it's very easy to find someone else who has had the same problem.  It's very encouraging.  I think it would be great if all parents and educators learned to share ideas more openly. 

The Internet is becoming a very open community where we can all connect and share.  Definitely plug into a homeschooling group, even if you aren't homeschooling.  The parents will be a wealth of resources for school projects and general parenting questions.

Teach and Learn in a Schoolhouse Environment
     
Homeschoolers know a secret.  They know that you can teach kids of different ages and levels the same things.  We tend to want children grouped by age, but anyone with more than one child knows that the younger often benefits from hearing what the older one is learning.  The old one room schoolhouse works very well in families.  We love to sit down as a family and read together.  We usually pick a book appropriate for the older children, but everyone loves to be read to.  It a wonderful approach that can work for all families.

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