Monday, April 6, 2009

Homeschool Advice for the Newbie - Don't Forget the Small Stuff!

We've been homeschooling for about eight years. This doesn't exactly make us old hands - we have yet to cross the high school graduation finishing line with any of our children. But we have been at it long enough to have recognized a few of our early mistakes. For those of you a little newer at this than myself, let me encourage you not to forget the small stuff!

What do I mean by small stuff? It has nothing to do with academics. It's more about daily life.
So your four year old can read, recite Shakespeare from memory, and explain Newtonian Physics, but can he tie his shoes?

Here are a few of the of the things that caught us off guard when we were beginning (and still occasionally catch us unaware). These are the sorts of things that children learn in school by necessity, or from all that mundane busy work they do, more than by actual teaching. However, these are also the sorts of things that everyone just assumes everyone else knows how to do. It can be very embarrassing and frustrating to be the odd man/kid out.

Be kind to your children and teach them:
  1. How to tie their shoes.
  2. Their address and phone number.
  3. How to print their name at the top of a paper.
  4. How to write the date.
  5. How to cut paper.
  6. How to rip a page out of a workbook.
  7. To raise their hands before speaking in a group situation.
  8. How to lock a public bathroom stall.
  9. How to open a single serving carton of milk.
  10. How to sit cross legged.
  11. How to use a wall mounted pencil sharpener.
  12. How to go through a cafeteria line (you could visit a local hospital or eat out at a buffet).

I'm sure by now you get the idea of what I'm aiming at. Because we are often at home, and with our children, there are simply some things that aren't necessary to teach to them. However, that does not mean that they won't find themselves in a situation where it will just be assumed they already know these things. It's so much easier on them if you just take a few minutes out of your academic schedule, and make sure they learn some of life's basic skills.

It's great to be a homeschooler!


Precision Quality Laser said...

Thanks for sharing! Yes, we are just now realizing that we have failed to teach our 8 year old how to tie his shoes...oops. LOL! Fortunately, we are blessed with fast learners ;)

We have been home educating since the kids were little, but this next year will be our official beginning year. I so appreciate all the veterans out there who share their experiences with us "newbies."


Janet said...

I teach a little neighborhood preschool and your thoughts on not forgetting the small stuff really struck home. I enjoy the things you include in your blog and appreciate you sharing.