Are you thinking about homeschooling? Jennifer Elia has some great ideas on tips parents need to know in order to make this important decision. Jennifer has worked as a college professor, in the public school system, as a homeschool mom for the past 10 years, and now helps other homeschool parents. In this episode, Jennifer defines what education really is, and helps parents know how to teach their children.
Jennifer has homeschooled her four kids for the last 10 years. She studied education, worked as an educator, and teaches other parents how to homeschool.
Jennifer was a French Professor at the local college and taught in the public schools also.
She wanted a different educational experience for her kids and she wanted them to have more choices.
She and her husband decided to start homeschooling when their first son was in kindergarten.
Now, 10 years later, it’s been a great experience. It has also been a learning experience because it’s not school; it’s a home education.
Jennifer says she believes in lifelong learning and a mastery of what you want to learn, not just checking things off the list.
Home Education; not School at Home
The difference between school and education is that you can get an education at school but school isn’t the only place you can get an education.
There is education beyond school, and we are built to be curious. If you have the opportunity to learn how to learn than you can continue your education beyond school.
The school is set up to make sure everyone learns a set amount of information without wiggle room for the kids who learn at a different rate.
It’s not the teachers fault, they are dealing with so much; they are doing the best that they can. To have a real education is to understand what you learn and to expand on what you learn.
Making connections is part of education, and continuing to find more information about things that spark your curiosity.
Life as a Homeschool Mom
Being a homeschool mom, Jennifer says she’s learned how much she didn’t know.
She didn’t realize how much deeper she could go on certain subjects.
She also didn’t know how different kids could be. Seeing the way each child learns things is completely different. To see how differently a simple lesson can go and the journeys it can take you on is amazing.
Jennifer says, "The deeper that I got on what education could mean, it taught me a lot and I have become a student of my own school. I learn something new every year. It’s incredible to listen to my children teach me things I didn’t know. The conversations are really precious because that is the culture that we’ve built in our home."
What Prospective Homeschool Parents need to Know
1. You don’t have to do everything the first year
I wanted my kids to know a lot of things, so I had a long list, Jennifer says.
It’s okay to have reams and goals, but you can’t do it all in one year. You can’t even do it all in thirteen years.
2. Think about your child and what they need.
All children have special needs and all children have special strengths too.
We can focus on their strengths and help their through their weaknesses. We don’t want to label children at their weakest point.
Stop labeling and start enabling them. We can enable them to do their best. We all need to work on something. Focus on what children are doing well.
Spend extra time on what kids love and find a way to support what they are having a hard time with.
3. Kids learn and grow at all different rates.
For example, reading is pushed heavily.
Naturally, the age kids start reading is from 4 to 9, and that is considered normal. When you push kids into something they aren’t ready for, they resist. So it can be helpful to take a step back for a while and find another way to work on that.
Give them plenty of time to find what they love and what they are good at.
4. Go easy on yourself.
Homeschooling is a full time job. Just because you don’t get a paycheck, doesn’t mean it’s not a career.
Give yourself some grace and space to learn what you have to learn. Know that your homeschool will not look like anyone else’s homeschool. Working with your kids will be different.
5. Find a support system.
It takes a group to keep you going. Find a group online if you don’t have one locally.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.