How to Homeschool- Language Arts
So many moms have been desperately searching for answers as to how to homeschool their kids.
Interestingly, ”pivot” is the trending word right now with everything going on in our world. I’ve mostly seen this word used in regards to businesses that are pivoting in order to meet the current needs of their customers.
However, I believe that it’s time to consider this term in a new light. I want to suggest that you resolve to make a pivot in your perspective of your child’s education.
A Shift in Perspective
If you are new to the idea of home education, you may be one of those moms looking to know how to homeschool.
I am here to tell you that homeschooling is such a wonderful gift and has been the greatest blessing for my entire family.
However, when I first started educating my children at home, I too didn’t really know the first thing about how to homeschool.
Just like so many are experiencing now, I only knew what I knew at the time.
I had grown up going to public schools. I went to a public university, and then on to graduate school for teaching at that same public university. I learned how to teach in an institutionalized system.
It took me years to finally figure out that homeschooling is not school at home. Homeschooling is a lifestyle focused on educating each individual child so that they grow into a thriving adult.
Grace To Take It One Step At A Time
So if you are overwhelmed and searching for answers as to how to homeschool, give yourself lots of grace. Learning anything is a process and does not happen overnight.
With so much information out there, it is to be expected that you may struggle to know where to begin and then how to proceed.
Practical “how to homeschool” steps
Here are some practical strategies that are easy to incorporate into your home. Best of all, these are totally free, extremely effective and stress free.
Think of this time at home as your opportunity to make simple shifts to help your child make huge gains in language arts.
1. Start with the 3 Rs
I consistently recommend to my private community of moms and my clients that when in doubt, focus on the 3 Rs. Yep, I am talking all about reading, writing and good old-fashioned arithmetic.
There is a classic homeschool book out there by this title. You may want to check it out: The 3 Rs by Ruth Beechick.
Today we will focus on the first of the Rs: Reading.
To learn more about my recommendations with math, check out this post and video here.
2. Go Backwards In Order To Move Forward
Whether you are a veteran homeschool mom or a newbie, if you know that your child is struggling in any academic area, I suggest you get on your hands and knees and thank God!
Woo hoo! This is news that you want to know sooner rather than later.
Use this insight into your child’s weaker areas to find the educational gap.
3. How to Homeschool… Find the Gaps
Specifically, if your child hates to read or resists reading at all costs, this is your clue that there is some sort of gap in reading skills. Take your next step… identify where the reading gap lies. Ask yourself:
- “Is she struggling with phonics (letter sounds)?
- Circle back to basic phonics
- “Is it a comprehension issue?”
- Spend time reading together, ask lots of questions & engage in discussion.
- Is he struggling with visually tracking the text?
- Find books or texts with larger fonts and less text on each page.
In the end, simply slowing down to spend time intentionally focused on reading skills will be your best bet. Ultimately, my number one tip to help your child get over the reading hump is…
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4. Remove The Learning Barriers
When you first begin homeschooling, it is a great idea to spend a week or so just reading good books TO your kids. Reduce the stress-related anxiety that so many children experience when told that they must read aloud and independently.
Unfortunately, way too many children have been forced to read independently and at increasingly difficult levels way too soon and too fast. They then shut down and begin to hate reading often as a fight-flight-or-freeze response. For more on learning to look behind the behaviors to get the root issues, read Behind the Behaviors.
It takes time for the brain to develop the pathways that allow reading to become a natural and enjoyable experience. We have got to back off and allow children time to develop their reading skills at their pace.
Tragically, that reading stress response becomes the norm in so many children. Reading is the enemy for these “pushed-too-soon” kids.
Children simply need intentional one-on-one instruction from a loving adult. Our kids need to be given the grace to focus on where they really are and not where the “standard” says they should be.
5. Read to your child
With everything in life, internal motivation is the game changer that propels us forward in any endeavor. We want our resistant readers to learn to enjoy the experience without stressing about making mistakes. This is why it is absolutely fundamental that we give our kids opportunities to enjoy books. One of the greatest ways to do this is for parents to read aloud TO their kids.
Read to your child and don’t for one minute feel any guilt about it. In fact, tap yourself on the back because you are providing your child with what they need to move forward.
When you do ask your child to read:
- allow them to choose the book,
- allow them the grace to read a book “below” level with confidence
Each successful reading experience adds up and they will grow as a reader. Check out this post all about the importance of reading as a family and grab our Family Favorites Book List printable.
5. Reading Strategy: Narration
Narration is another great strategy that you can use to help guide your reading time and is an excellent way to strengthen reading comprehension.
This method simply involves you reading aloud to your child. Find a book that your child loves, and spend some quiet time together. Allow your child to ask questions. Talk about the illustrations. Have fun.
Conversations and dialogue between a trusted adult and a child is not only relationally life-giving but also builds up language and reading comprehension skills. Don’t underestimate the power of conversation and the spoken word.
6. Don’t Forget Your Teens
Even older children enjoy being read to and reading aloud to your teen eases the resistance to read a book “just for school”.
We want our teens to develop a love of reading as a form of entertainment that is NOT always a screen, right?
Any extra time you spend getting lost in story with your teen is a relational win AND it is an excellent way to expose your child to greater ideas and concepts about the world.
Find a book that you know will interest your teen and read a chapter together each day. Have deep, meaningful conversations with your teen. Ask thoughtful questions and listen intently to their answers with gratitude.
Bottom line, when you read aloud to your child of any age, you remove barriers to reading, increase foundational language skills and deepen relationship. Win! Win!
How to Choose A Homeschool Language Arts Curriculum?
When homeschooling (and in life), don’t spend the time fighting with your child. Trust me… I am preaching to myself here. It’s just not worth it. Let’s help our kids figure out what they need so they can move forward and strengthen their next foundational skill.
Most importantly, let us encourage our kids to know that God has designed them with gifts, passions and purpose. And how cool is it that we get the privilege of walking this journey with them?! Yay!
So, now that you have the homeschool foundational principles, you may be ready to choose a homeschool language arts curriculum. Check out these top choices as reviewed by veteran homeschool moms. These are especially valuable options for children with learning differences.
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