The Cambridge Dictionary defines enthusiasm as: “A feeling of energetic interest in a particular subject or activity and a desire to be involved in it, or a subject that produces such a feeling.” As a parent and a homeschooler, you have an “energetic interest” in your child’s education. You want them to succeed and experience the best, most inspiring educational experience in the world.
But homeschooling is a tough job that not only brings joy but also trying times. There will be “stressful” moments and your enthusiasm will wane at times. But you can harness the same power that enthusiasm possesses in your everyday homeschool classroom.
The Power of Enthusiasm
In an article on enthusiasm in the Washington Post, career coach Joyce E. A. Russell states, “Have passion and find inspiration for what you are doing. What’s the purpose for it? How does it help you or anyone else? Passion is critical to keep you excited about your work and to keep your enthusiasm high, even during stressful times. If you’re not passionate for your work, why would anyone around you (e.g., customers, direct reports, etc.) be interested in it?”
You have the passion and you know your purpose for homeschooling your children. Once you convey your passion and show your children how enthusiastic you are about teaching them, they will also become enthusiastic. It’s a natural occurrence.
Here are 5 tips to boost everyone’s enthusiasm when energy levels drop, including yours!
1. Make Your Curriculum More Eclectic
The goal of eclectic homeschooling is to create a specialized educational experience for each child based on their strengths, learning styles, and interests. It’s really like experimentation. You pick and choose different curricula based on what works best for your child. An eclectic approach may include online learning courses, workbooks and textbooks, courses at local schools, mentors and tutors, and various other curricula. It’s a winning medley or recipe that matches your child’s needs.
2. Hands-On Activities
Children of all ages enjoy hands-on activities and they can help bring lessons and concepts to life. So instead of reading about how the pilgrims grew their food, you can plant your own garden. The experience not only brings knowledge, it also provides a life lesson.
The activity ideas are nearly endless. Just find out what interests your children, use your imagination and begin. You can build model cars, sew or knit, learn to use a camera, craft, etc.
Emily homeschools her eight-year-old daughter and recently discovered that she loves the piano. “I bought a cheap used electric piano. I sit with my daughter and learn easy notes and songs, such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. This not only teachers her a skill she can use for the rest of her life, but it also teaches her about timing and rhythm, and keeps her brain active. We love it.”
3. Switching Up the Schedule
Some children thrive on a set schedule (and so do some parents). But if you find that your daily routine has lost its luster and your enthusiasm is suffering from it, try mixing things up.
You don’t have to turn your whole schedule inside out. Small changes shake things up, too. For instance, Melanie, a homeschooler of two children, found that they were losing concentration after lunch. “After my children ate their meals, they become tired and lackadaisical. And that’s when I had the math courses set up on my schedule. So, I moved math to the morning after they finished their chores and rescheduled art and science lab for the afternoon. I found that these active courses kept them more alert.”
4. Utilize Your Child’s Input
Meeting with your child on a regular basis to see if they are enjoying and engaged in their education is important. You should have monthly sit-downs to discuss the curriculum, courses, and schedule. Many parents find that including their children in the educational process lets them feel empowered and more confident. They want to be heard and take part in your decision making. Including their ideas will also help make your job easier.
5. Day/Field Trips
Field trips are a great opportunity to teach your children about a number of things. For example, a trip to the beach or lake allows students to learn about the local environment. They can collect rocks or shells, and take pictures or sketch drawings of the plants and flowers they see.
Other ideas include visiting museums, joining a homeschool group on day trips, even asking a local business if you can visit their establishment to learn what they do and how they serve the community. Once you walk out of the house, the world is one big learning opportunity.
You’ve decided to homeschool your children for a reason, and now that you’ve made that decision, whether you’re a first-time homeschooler or a veteran, you want to give 100 percent. But as the adage states, nothing worthwhile comes easy. Your enthusiasm will wane at times. It’s just a matter of believing in what you’re doing and how important your time with your children really is during the school year.
Time4Learning.com is an award-winning, comprehensive curriculum for PreK-12th that makes learning effective and engaging through animated lessons and activities. The online program teaches and grades lessons, tracks and records progress, and keeps reports to help simplify homeschool portfolios.
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