How to become your child’s educator- in 3 simple steps
Home education begins with homework. I don’t write on my blog to try and convince anyone to home educate, however, I want to support and encourage parents to be more involved in their child’s learning and education. Before I decided to take the plunge and home educate my children, I always took on the role of their main educator while they were still in school. From my perspective, their school teacher was my teaching partner and they supported me. When you begin to see yourself as your child’s main educator, things will change for the better, because I saw myself this way, I was able to initiate and reinforce their learning. Your child might be in school, you might be considering home education or already home educating, regardless of how you choose to educate your child, here are 3 tips to help you along in your journey.
1. Be aware of your child’s level
As a parent, you will know or be aware of where your child is in their holistic development and what they can do. Don’t worry too much if you do not feel this way, just start observing them doing what they usually do, and you will soon pick it up. I am not saying to compare them with other children, please don’t do that. I just want you to see them as individuals and know what they can do. I am not saying to take it to the extreme and be like ‘oh, check out my child, she/he knows 200 words and they are only 20 months old’. I mean, you should be able to say the shape/colours they recognise, if they are good at sharing, how they interact with other children and how well they communicate. That sort of thing.
There are so many ways to support your child, for example if your child is in school, ask for the curriculum so you can see what they are learning and when. This will allow you to support them at home, if your child’s school has a website, it might be there. As parents, we must try and be proactive in our children’s education, for instance, if they are about to learn about a country or black history month, you can go to the library or the internet to learn about it and discuss or do an activity with your child. This way when they hear if from the teacher, it reinforces what they have learnt, and they can ask questions to extend their learning. Start with 5-10 minutes a day, it might be talking to them on the way to school, or during a walk to the park or while driving to swimming lesson. Incorporate it with something you currently do, don’t start off doing it for 1 hour per day and not carry on after a week.
I spoke to their teacher and she assessed their reading level and moved them up two levels! Eventually, they started taking them along with a handful of other children to year 2 for English classes because they were ahead. I don’t say this to show off, but to reinforce the importance of a parent knowing where your child is developmentally and what they can do, in order for you can take action and meet their individual needs. Even if you have very young children, get them picture books and surround them with it (not to the point of overwhelming them) they will pick it up and have a look. Let them develop a love for reading and for books. Put books in the car and use your local library, it will save you money and kids usually love going to the library especially is they have a good children’s section.
2. Read with your child or get them to read often
Ideally reading everyday is great but realistically, as often as possible. Extend their learning by asking them questions about the book. For example, ask them to tell you what the book is about, the characters in the book and their favourite bit or a funny part of the book and why they liked it. I remember when my children were in school (year 1), the books they were being given by their teacher to read at home was below their level. You might ask, how did I know this? Because they read it too quickly and did not find it challenging at all and as a result, it was boring for them.
3. Play with your children
As simple as it might sound, not everyone can do this, but it can be learnt; and I am still learning. They are full of energy and they will wear you out, play wisely. I remember when my kids were still in school, I would often take them to the park close to their school or the one close to home to play. Being a home educator, I sometimes join in their role play, or just create an environment that encourages play and creativity. I also enjoy taking them out or going for a walk. I am not a very active person, in other words, if I can do it so can you.
I am sure you can think of many more ways to play with your child and the things that they enjoy doing with you. It might be as simple as dancing or cooking. Let them associate laughter, cuddles, kisses, jokes with you and not just shouting, tiredness, always on the phone, always busy kind of parent. I feel like I am all these thing, however, we have to prove with our action that they are very important, more important than our phone, TV or whatever. Let us challenge ourselves and pause what we are doing (sometimes) and play with our children even if it means we tell that friend that we will call them back, or we might have supper 20mins later. For more tips, read my free ebook (http://ebook.floutlook.com/optin), it will help you answer some questions and read about my experiences as a newbie home educator.