With some parents these days feeling torn between paying through the nose to send their kids to private school or dealing with the challenges of budget cuts and other government red tape related to public school, homeschool may begin to sound like an appealing alternative. Of course, it can be daunting to think about where to begin, so many parents reach out to others who've taken their child's education into their own hands.
For some solid advice on how to do it right, look no further than Michelle Duggar. Yep, the reality star mom of 19 Kids and Counting is also a veteran advocate of homeschooling. Here, seven things you can learn from Michelle about teaching your kiddo under your own roof ...
- Remember that you can cater to your child's needs. What may be seen as a huge benefit of homeschooling is a parent's ability to zero in on their child's specific learning needs. Michelle prepares and personalizes each child's curriculum to help cater to their requirements as a student.
- Set the stage for school time. As Michelle explained to Alpha Omega Publications, the organization from which the Duggars purchase their homeschool curricula for grades 3 through 12: "We have a schoolroom/playroom with lockers and storage bins for each child. Plus, computer stations are set up throughout the house for individual learning study."
- Know when to have fun. Michelle notes that when she started with her son, Josh, and her first twins, Jana Marie and John David, she was "chomping at the bit" to get started and buy tons of heavy-duty guides and resources. But the best advice she got from a veteran home school mom was to "just have fun" for the first year. "We’d play phonics games, and we’d play Go Fish and learn the names of these letters and the sounds," explains Duggar on her blog.
- Standardized testing still applies. Not every kid excels at standardized tests, but honing the skills necessary to take them or using them as a learning tool can be helpful, even at home. Michelle has each child -- from third grade through ninth grade -- do a standardized test in May. "We’ll celebrate with ice cream after they finish. That’s a big milestone every year!" she writes. And once they finish their high school education, they take the GED test. "I like them to do it because it’s good for them to have that certificate. That’s their equivalent of finishing their high school education."
- Consider field trips. Homeschooling doesn't have to mean being stuck indoors all day, every day with your kids. As part of their curriculum, Michelle takes her children on special educational field trips as a family.
- Get your kids involved outside of the home. You can easily facilitate opportunities for kids to socialize with their peers by encouraging volunteer work or other similar activities. The Duggar kids, for instance, are involved in homeschooling organizations in their area.
- Impart to them that learning doesn't have to be limited to their school years. One of the common themes Michelle teaches her children: "I want my kids to never stop learning. There are opportunities to learn everywhere." What's not to love about that?
How do you feel about homeschooling?
Image via TLC