Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Plan Successful Homeschool Field Trips

Field trips allow children of all grade levels to get away from the classroom to learn in more exciting environments. Public and private schools plan a few trips throughout the year to supplement classroom lessons, but you have an advantage as a homeschooling family. You can plan more field trips throughout the year and tailor them to the interests and struggles of your child.
If your child struggles to understand a lesson, a field trip may provide a fresh perspective that helps them understand certain concepts. If your child has a passion for a particular subject, regular field trips will help them explore that subject in new ways. These trips allow children to escape the daily routine and venture out into the world, but they also give you fresh ideas for lesson plans, experiments, and classroom projects.
These trips are essential to the learning process, but they are also a lot of fun. It is one thing to read a book or do a project on a small scale at home. It is another thing entirely to see what those books are talking about in the real world and see those projects at work on a larger scale.
Trip Selection and Planning
Every trip you take should correlate to a lesson you are currently teaching. Research all cities within a reasonable distance from your home and make a list of all museums, state and national parks, aquariums, and galleries that may apply to your child's studies now or in the future. As you develop new lesson plans for your child, add to this list.
Once you find a field trip idea that you want to pursue, the planning process begins:
1. Plan lessons to be covered prior to the trip. This will introduce your child to basic information they need to fully comprehend what they see on the field trip.
2. Plan an activity to be completed during the field trip or generate a list of questions for your child to answer during the trip. This keeps your child focused on what you want them to learn.
3. Plan follow-up lessons to recap everything your child has learned in the classroom and on the trip.
Keep It Simple
Field trips do not have to be elaborate outings. A hike through a national forest and a picnic is one simple idea that can coordinate with a variety of lessons for all age groups if properly planned.
For instance, it may be important to select the most appropriate entrance into the national forest. There may be a reception center, museum, educational trail, or another feature only found at one area of the forest. It may also be important to visit at a particular time of year to coordinate with particular lessons.
Avoid cramming too much activity into one outing. It is better for your child to fully explore one location than to briefly visit three or four locations. Create activities that make the trip more entertaining. For instance, your child may go on a scavenger hunt when you visit a museum. You may have to visit the museum ahead of time, but you can make a list of items to be found in the museum and allow your child to check off the list during the field trip. Your follow-up lesson may hit on the importance of each item on the list.
Share Your Ideas... and Win!
Share your most successful homeschool field trips for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. You receive one entry into the gift card contest just for sharing the details of a field trip you have planned for your child. Share up to four pictures of your field trip and you will earn one additional contest entry per picture.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Homeschooling and Socialization

Homeschooling, in spite of its growing popularity and acceptance, is still facing some issues. Some of those issues are quite valid, while some are not, and there are also others that are quite debatable. One of those lingering issues is about the supposedly negative effects that homeschooling has on the social skills of children who are educated through this system.
The issue of socialization is a very serious one, considering the importance of proper development of social skills in any individual's life. And when a whole educational system is being questioned about its alleged or supposed negative effects about socializing, it has to be considered very seriously. It is also important to note that this belief has been made and supported by professional educators. However, if it is analyzed any further, it would be proven to be something that's entirely untrue.
What has served as the basis of the belief that homeschooling affects the development of social skills is that those who say so feel that school is the sole place where kids have any chance of learning and developing social skills. To a certain extent, school does help in the much needed development of social skills, but kids who are home-schooled also have opportunities that are not really available to kids who go to a regular school.
Since their time is, shall we way a little more "flexible", home-schooled kids have more opportunities to travel and visit places such as museums, parks, beaches, and even shows. And they are able to do this when it is not too crowded, with just the right chance to socialize and learn about the place and the other people visiting it as well. It has also been shown that home-schooled kids are also active in different sports, are seriously taking up art, acting, music, dance, and many other kinds of classes.
For the parents who are really concerned about socializing but would like their kids to go through a homeschooling program, there are some things that can be done. Some of these things that they or their home-schooled children could do are the following:
  • It would help to seek out others who are also into homeschooling and make friends with them. With the kind of technology we have today, this is pretty easy. Or, you could opt to go the old route and try to meet them in public places such as libraries.

  • There are also groups that you can join, groups such as 4 - H. It is a youth development organization that kids can join and then make choices about the clubs within the organization that specifically cater to his or her interests.

  • Joining and participating in local sports programs and tournaments in your community is an excellent way of being exposed to other people and also developing one's social skills. And of course, there are several other activities that allow kids to meet others who are like them - with their likes and interests - than sports.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Structure the School Year

Now that you have begun your homeschooling schedule, there are various questions that trouble you. Should you study continuously, take a number of short breaks or a long vacation? What about public holidays? When should you take a break?
The answer to these questions and many more like these are actually quite simple: Do whatever suits you best. This is one of the appealing benefits of homeschooling. You do not have a set pattern to follow. You do not HAVE to take that autumn break, or close shop for a prolonged summer vacation. Flexibility is the key here. For some practiced unschoolers, even a definite curriculum is not necessary because lessons are a part of their day- to-day life. But this may not be the case with beginners. Beginners may need to chart out their activities to fall into a pattern.
Before you plan the structure of your classes, consider some of the most important issues. What method of homeschooling will you be following, what is your teaching style and your child's learning style, what are the work and play schedules, what are your vacation plans. Some families plan small 1-week vacations at different times of the year. Other families prefer to go away for a month or more. Consult with the members of your family, and chart out a holiday schedule that most suits you.
There are some positive benefits in following the traditional summer vacation schedule. Firstly, your children can benefit from the various summer activities, camps and classes. Your child's schedule will coincide with that of his school-going friends. A summer job may be possible. A longish summer break also means that both parents as well as children get a break from their daily lessons. This could also be a major drawback, as it is sometimes difficult to get back on track once the classes resume.
On the other hand, there are some advantages to taking numerous small breaks in the course of a year. Firstly, children do not get bored since they get time to explore other interests. You can cover more topics in the extra time that you save. You can also take family trips and vacations during the less popular periods of travel. This means lesser crowd and better prices. But beware if your child becomes restless when other children are enjoying their long summer vacations.
As far as homeschooling is concerned, you and your family are the people in charge. Taking care of the individual needs of the child is the primary focus of this system. So, tailor the school year to suit your child's needs. Periodic evaluation is a must. Set some realistic goals and see if you are able to achieve these goals. Most importantly, avoid burnout - both in yourself and your children.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Homeschool Organization - Steps for a More Productive Day

Homeschool organization is a popular topic among parents that elect to educate their children from the comfort of their homes. Organization will assist in optimizing your productivity and your child's productivity each and every single day that class is in session. According to home educators, one of the biggest obstacles faced each day is the time invested in searching for supplies, organizing lesson plans and getting some sort of routine established in the homeschool classroom. While it is true that taking the steps to getting your home organized may prove to be exceptionally challenging, it is also true that taking these steps will lead to higher levels of success. You will be more successful in creating lesson plans, organizing your time and delivering information on important skills and concepts that are necessary for your child's intellectual development. Your child will experience success in areas of concentration, memory retention and completion of assignments and projects each day. In this guide, you will learn some basic homeschool organization strategies that will drastically optimize your level of productivity in your homeschool classroom each day.
In order to understand and appreciate the importance of homeschool organization, it is essential that xou are aware of some basic statistics surrounding organization and time management. Consider the following:
• An individual that has some type of office within the home spends approximately one and a half hours a day searching for items that they require. In a year's time, this total amounts to a six weeks.
• According to, Americans alone devote approximately nine million hours each year searching for things that they need to complete a task.
• According to, up to 80% of what we keep within our homes are items that we never actually use or need.
• has also discovered that approximately 80% of the clutter that is located in each home is due to disorganization and not a lack of space to store the items. Based on this information, if we eliminate the clutter that is present in the home, we could also eliminate up to 40% of the cleaning and other types of work that we have to do in the home. This means, we have more time to dedicate to educating our children and spending quality time with the family.
• If you are interested in homeschool organization that centers around improving time management, you may be interested to know that many parents that educate their children at home are interrupted by technological based communications approximately once every ten minutes.
• According to statistics, if an individual spends just one hour planning, they have the potential to save up to four hours of time on issues such as searching and/or waiting for information, redundancy and tasks that are poorly managed.
Homeschool Organization Strategies
Now that you have a clear picture of how improper organization, planning and time management may negatively impact your day and your performance, it is time to learn a few methods on how to improve your space, time and day in the homeschool classroom. The following outline the most productive homeschool organization strategies, according to parents:
1. The first step to successful homeschool organization is to establish a space within the home that is dedicated solely to the educational endeavor. Most families turn a spare bedroom into a homeschool classroom, or even an office. There are many that may transform a basement or a large attic into a classroom. Then, for those with limited space in the home, a side of a room may be devoted to the task. It is important to have this designated area so that there is consistency for your child, and you have an area where all supplies and other required items for academic success may be kept.
2. There are numerous items that may be purchased that will allow you to store a large amount of tools, resources and supplies in a small amount of space. Examples of these items include shelves, storage containers, storage bins, filing cabinets and items that are similar in nature. If you want to ensure that you are organized and have a place for everything in your homeschool classroom, it is in your best interest to purchase these items.
3. The next step to ensuring appropriate homeschool organization is to ensure that you manage your time effectively. First, you should make sure that you use lesson planners and block scheduling on the lessons that you plan with your child. It is important to schedule regular breaks throughout the school day for your child so that they stay refreshed and you are able to tend to administrative tasks. You should also consider utilizing electronic organizers, and scanning systems to track school supplies, books and other items that are important to your day.
As you can see, there are many homeschool organization strategies that are highly effective for families that elect to educate their children from the comfort of their home. If you want to optimize your success and the academic success of your child, it is essential that you get as organized as possible. By using a bit of creativity and some productive tools, you will be successful in your endeavor to declutter and structure. Not only will you be able to structure your day and your home by using the methods outlined here, you will also be able to structure and organize your time, which is an essential component to successful homeschool organization. Follow these homeschool organization steps today, so that you can experience many productive tomorrows!