Education doesn't only happen in a classroom. And you don't have to homeschool to help your child learn.
Here are some ways any parent can encourage their child's curiosity, wherever they are.
1. Provide lots of resources, but not necessarily textbooks.
While plenty of families use textbooks and other structured curriculum, these are far from the only materials kids can use to learn. Homeschoolers typically make their houses into learning-rich environments.
You don't need desks and whiteboards as long as you have a wide selection of things to read, do and explore.
Here are just some of the resources homeschoolers rely on:
- Do I Need to Buy a Curriculum?
- How to Put Together Your Own Curriculum
- 6 Learning Tools to Use Instead of Textbooks
- Educational Toys for Homeschoolers
- Create a Home Library With Variety
- 7 Ways to Homeschool With Videos
2. Understand that making learning fun is also effective.
You'll often hear the word "rigorous" used to describe a school program that's meant to produce top results.
But often all it means is lots of busy work.
Kids can be made to memorize facts, but the key to real learning is putting things in context and seeing what they do. That's something they just won't get from filling out worksheets or taking tests based on vocabulary and formulas.
To raise creative children, you need to let them play. That goes for every subject, but particularly for math and science.
Here are some suggestions for bringing out the playfulness in math and science:
- The Problem With "Rigor" in Education
- The Secret to Teaching Math? Make it Fun
- Fun Math Stuff to See and Do
- Math Textbooks With a Sense of Fun
- Homeschool Science
- Exciting Science Reads for Tweens and Teens
3. Give children freedom to develop their own skills and passions.
Not everything needs to be graded. Kids who hate to write on assignment will pour their hearts out if they are writing for themselves, or an audience they select.
And while everything your child does can count towards their homeschooling activities, that doesn't mean you need to turn it into a class.
Kids can often learn much more about a subject on their own than we can teach them, if they are pursuing it because of their own passion. At the same time, you can help them by providing the support they need to carry out their plans.
Here's advice for helping without hovering:
- Everything Counts: How to Translate What You Do Into "Educationese"
- The Best Way to Teach Creative Writing
- Down With the Five-Paragraph Essay!
- Help Kids Create a History Research Project
- Why You Should Stop Playing With Your Children
4. Get out into the community and the world.
Despite the name, homeschoolers spend a lot of time away from home. They go on field trips, take part in community activities, and travel as much as they can.
Here are ways to get your homeschooled kids out of the house:
- How to Lead a Homeschool Field Trip
- Start Your Own Outdoor Games Day
- Why Homeschoolers Love the Library
- Learning on the Road
5. Find hands-on ways to learn whenever possible.
Even the best books, videos, and lectures are no substitute for doing it yourself. Homeschoolers love to take advantage of the chance to let each kid have a real hands-on experience.
Here are hands-on activities that are easy to do at home:
- Improve Learning with Hands-On Activities
- Science Activities for Younger Kids
- At-Home Science Labs
- How to Set up A Homeschool Art Program
6. Integrate learning into family life.
When you learn at home, school becomes part of everyday life. That means lessons sometimes flow into dinner conversation, and every chore and errand turns into a teachable moment.
Here are strategies for bringing education and living closer together:
- Housekeeping versus Homeschooling
- Cooking Tips for Homeschoolers
- Cooking Lessons for Kids
- How to Combine Work and Homeschooling
- Make Your Kids Boredom-Proof
- How to Help Your Kids Work on Their Own
- Teach Kids Organization With a Homeschool Schedule
7. Prepare your student for college.
Homeschooling is great preparation for college. In fact, many homeschooling teens begin college classes before they even finish high school.
Here is what homeschooling parents do to help their college-bound teens:
- Get Ready for College
- Prepare a Narrative Homeschool Transcript
- How to Create a Homeschooling Philosophy Statement
- Write a Letter That Will Get Your Child Into College
- Homeschooling Students and Letters of Recommendation
- Making the Transition to College
8. Help your child stay physically active.
Kids have fewer attention problems when they get the chance to run around on a regular basis. And exercise and sports help them build healthy habits that will stay with them for a lifetime.
Here's a look at how homeschoolers stay fit:
- Phys Ed for Homeschool Kids
- Online P.E.
- Competitive Sports for Homeschoolers
- Homeschooling P.E. Indoors
9. Tailor learning for each child.
Parents are in a unique position to figure out what each child in their family needs and how to provide it.
Here are ideas for giving children a personalized education:
- How to Homeschool Gifted Kids
- 5 Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Ages
- An Eclectic Homeschooling Method
- What is Unschooling?
10. Help kids see the big picture.
History doesn't have to start in 1492. If you'd rather focus on the French Revolution or the Silk Road, dive in! There are plenty of resources, online and at your library. Learning about the whole of human history can give your child a more realistic picture of how the world really works.
Here are ways to provide a world-class education at home:
- Ideas for Homeschooling Social Studies
- Create Your Own History Curriculum
- Social Studies Books (That Aren't Textbooks)
- How to Homeschool a Foreign Language
- 5 YA Books That Will Make Kids Think
- Give Your Kids Tools for Critical Thinking