Homeschooling is not easy but it is rewarding. It is also true that you will only get back what you put in. Below are some hints that may be helpful.
- Set a steady pace. Do not try and rush through work to get students up to “standard.” The truth is that after Primary school most students, regardless of whether they come from a private or state school, need to start at the same place since they have gaps in the following areas: fractions, percentages and decimals; grammar; spelling and the mechanics of writing.
- Mark the work and make the students correct what they have wrong. Marking each time works better than marking once a week.
- Spelling words need to be learnt and therefore each unit is intended to last a week. Spelling helps extend a student’s vocabulary. Just reading books is not enough. Spelling checks do not solve all problems. My youngest is dyslexic and for years the word “does” always appeared as “dose.” The spelling checker was no help with this. Most spelling books have dictation at the back of the book for those who would like it.
- Presentation: some children write neater than others but all children, apart from those with severe learning problems, should be asked to present neat, legible work. Like a lot of other lessons learnt when small, this prepares children for later life. In many situations in life you get only one chance to present yourself. Some academics believe handwriting will not be necessary in the future, but some things will always need to be written by hand, e.g., your signature. These are probably the same academics who said years ago that printed books would no longer be used. E-readers would be used instead. They were wrong. More books are being sold now than ever.
- Complete English, maths and spelling each day. Do not do them in a block of one or two days each. Learning needs to be measured and regular. You can juggle slightly with other subjects. Complete these three subjects in the morning when the student is fresh. There is plenty of time in the afternoon for less academic subjects. I found it easier to have only one activity in the afternoon, e.g., cooking, craft or library etc.
Minimum Amount of Work Completed
Here is a guide to the minimum amount of work a child should complete in one year:
A and B for the level
Easy Learn Maths A & B for the level or
Maths for Living 4 books (high school) or
Understanding Maths 8 and Maths Revision & Practice 2 or
Maths Revision & Practice 3 & 4 or
Maths Revision & Practice 4 and Understanding Maths 9 & 10
1 x Successful Spelling or Revise Your Phonics 1 & 2 and ½ x Successful Spelling
Social Studies or Geography
1 - 2 books (Primary school), 3 books Science for Secondary Students (High school)
Learning to Read
Learn to Read, Write & Spell 1 - 5 should be covered over 2 ½ years, i.e., 2 ½ x Learn to Read, Write & Spell between books.
N.B. This is the minimum. Some slow learners may only accomplish ¾ of this. Bright children will accomplish twice as much. The average child should easily complete this work and have time to do Test Your Maths, Test Your English and Test Your Spelling. Consider them as useful revision and a good way of picking up any small gaps in a child’s education. They are also useful when family are worried about whether your child is keeping up with what they would learn in school.