Are you considering homeschooling and feeling overwhelmed? I totally get you! FIFTEEN years ago (I can’t believe it’s been 15 years!), I was a new homeschooling mom. I went to my first homeschool conference in Indianapolis, IN and, while walking through the expo hall, I had a full-blown panic attack. I’m serious. Heart racing, sweating, dizzy, shaking. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement! So. Many. Choices. And that was a long time ago! Now there are even more! So, what’s a new homeschooling mom to do? Here is my #1 tip:
Figure out your child’s learning style BEFORE you buy the first piece of curriculum!
If your child is young, I’d say seven or younger, they are most likely going to be a kinesthetic learner, which just means they are a hands-on learner. They like to do things that involve activities and literally, the use of their hands.. Ideas for this type of learner are:
Have lots of manipulatives in the house. Think: base ten blocks, Cuisennaire rods, Wikki Stix, a toy cash register, a talking globe. Just google “homeschool manipulatives” and you will find more ideas then you ever knew exsisted!
Use things you have on hand: measuring cups for kitchen science, paper towel rolls to make a rain stick, clothes pins with the alphabet written on them to make words. Be creative! You can find a way to use most anything! When my son was little, I made a “fishing pole” out of a paint stick, string, and a magnet. I then put large paper clips onto index cards with site words written on them. I had him stand on the bed and pretend he was fishing. When he “caught” a word he got to keep it IF he could say it.. We had SO much fun with this!
If your child is older, you will want to have them take learning style assessments such as this one. This particular assessment is $39.99, but can be used for all members of your family. While it is my favorite, you can find many free versions by googling “learning style assessment”.
Once you’ve had a chance to look over the report, you can start to look into various programs. I will cover suggestions for specific programs in upcoming posts. Regardless of which one(s) you choose, some things that you’ll want to remember are:
Auditory learners are going to need audible books, CD’s, read-alouds, etc.. If your child has a learning disability, such as dyslexia, you can subscribe to Learning Ally, which is an audio book service. And if you can’t afford to buy a bunch of books on audio, you can always do things the old-fashioned way, and just read to them! Another trick is to have them listen to a book, while reading along with it. This helps retention for auditory and visual learners!
Visual learners are the most common type of learners, and the way that traditional school is usually taught. Visual learners literally need to SEE material before they can understand it. They need to read real live books (not necessarily Kindle, or digital books), take notes, make graphs and charts, use highlighters, anything that makes the information jump out at them.
Kinesthetic learners need to be working with their hands, so any kind of manipulative will be helpful. Also, most kinesthetic learners have a hard time just sitting listening to a lecture, book, etc. Give them something to fidget with while they listen: wikki stix, a ball of clay, anything quiet.
The most important thing to remember, is that taking a learning style assessment FIRST, before buying curriculum, will make a world of difference in your anxiety level AND your bank account! Trust me on this! 🙂
Give me a shout if you have questions, I’d love to hear from you!