HOW CHILDREN LEARN
We are frequently taught in our culture that academic experts are the most knowledgeable. There is value in using trusted sources as references but as we like to say, no one loves and wants the best for a child more than the parent. Even in education, there is no place like home!
The advice given here has been customized from a range of online and printed sources that we've accumulated throughout our time as homeschoolers. Links to some of our favorite publications and websites are provided.
At CHSRC, our mission is to encourage and equip families for a successful homeschool journey. We hope this provides you with a few more tools to aid you in your quest.
PRE-K THROUGH 2ND GRADE
Most homeschooling parents are undoubtedly well aware that play and interaction are the best ways for young children to learn. Maintaining a regular schedule might also help your children avoid feeling out of control. In light of this, you may help your young child prepare for homeschool by following these simple suggestions:
1. Regular bedtime– Adequate sleep has a direct impact on learning. A child of this age needs between 10 and 12 hours of sleep per night to maintain overall mental and physical health. It's crucial to establish and stick to a regular nighttime routine. Ideally, the ritual should begin each night at the same time. Bedtime routines are a great opportunity for parents to enhance their home’s nurturing environment. Even with older children at home, as dusk falls, the entire family benefits from a “wind down” period which can include brushing teeth and getting into pajamas. After getting ready for bed cuddle up and read your favorite bedtime stories together. That leads us to one of the most enjoyed and favorite activities of homeschool families, reading together.
2. Reading together- Early exposure to books is crucial to the development of literacy and concentration skills in young children. Plus, it's a lot of fun! When reading aloud to your child, give the characters voices, make up extra details about the illustrations, ask your child questions, answer their concerns, and talk about the stories you both find most enjoyable. We are major admirers of Go Global curriculum creators Colleen Lewis and Heather Haupt. They have a fantastic site with lots of recommendations for books to read to young kids. Naturally, the significance of reading actual books brings us to our next piece of advice, limit screen time.
3. Limit screen time-It is best to limit screen time for young children. There is evidence that exposing young children to screens negatively affects both their physical and mental health. Although some of the homeschool curriculum can be completed online or on a computer, it is preferable to keep screen time for children aged 2 to 5 to no more than one hour per day during the week and three hours on the weekends. We recommend Thomas Kersting's book Disconnected: How To Reconnect Our Digitally Distracted Kids for further details on this subject. With screen time reduced, you'll have more time for our next recommendation, exercise.
4. Exercise– Physical education sometimes gets lost in the busy homeschooler's day. However, young children need plenty of time to run around and move their bodies. Regular exercise not only benefits health but it improves sleep and academic performance. Children who regularly exercise also become more resilient to both physical and mental challenges. Spending 30-60 minutes each day doing activities such as riding a bike, hiking, or playing ball can have a huge impact. Families also utilize competitive sports teams and homeschool P.E. classes to encourage and teach physical ed. One of our favorite authors, Heather Haupt, has a wonderful book on this topic called Brain Breaks. This brings up our last suggestion, open-ended play.
5. Open-ended play- Homeschooling families tend to excel with open-ended play! This type of unrestricted play allows kids the freedom to learn on their own. Making choices, using their imagination, and finding new ways to use the things around them are crucial to their development. The best part is you don't have to provide expensive toys or electronics. Old school toys like blocks, art supplies, blankets, or other household things make the perfect resources for open-ended play. Your children will learn to use them in a variety of ways, such as building forts, producing art, making up stories, and dancing. Here is an interesting article we recently read on the amazing subject of young brains and the importance of play.
3RD THOUGH 5TH GRADE
By the age of 7, learning differences between pupils begin to level off, and the majority of students have mastered the fundamentals of reading before focusing on comprehension. Most kids who haven't learned to read yet should be able to do so by this age. Every other subject can be learned by reading. Because of this, reading is prioritized from third through fifth grades. The focus of reading education shifts from letter and word decoding to fluency and vocabulary development. These abilities are crucial for reading comprehension (understanding what you read.) Here are some suggestions to assist your family in making reading a priority and providing your kids with good literacy abilities.
1. Talk about what you read.- Reading is complicated. It necessitates mastering a variety of individual skills before combining them all to comprehend what is read. One of the best ways to help your child is to talk with them about what they are reading. Here is an article that can help you understand reading comprehension skills and determine which, if any, your child struggles.
2. Model good reading habits. - We are all aware of how skilled children are at imitating what they observe. Your child will surely notice the cherished moments you spent reading yourself and be encouraged to do the same!
3. Make libraries work for you. - Even if some libraries aren’t as family-friendly as they used to be, most libraries still can benefit your homeschool. To save time you can reserve books online and pick them up at your convenience. Many public, as well as, university libraries have non-resident/student borrowing privileges. Contact them to find out more: Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Maricopa County, Flagstaff, Prescott, Tucson- Pima County, ASU, U of A, NAU.
4. Finding help. - A lot of children, especially boys, are late bloomers with reading skills. A favorite story was when one young mother was worried because her son was not reading as well as her friend's daughter of the same age. I told her, “Yes, but can your friend’s daughter leap from the banister, make a mid-air somersault, and stick the perfect three-point superhero landing without breaking a bone…or a lamp?” Sometimes, other skills—like motor acuity or math—take precedence over reading abilities. That's okay. The majority of girls speak a lot and pick up language, particularly reading, more quickly. Boys (and some girls) will get there. The parent's responsibility is to track development. You can be confident that your child is learning and will catch up as long as they are moving forward, even if it is slowly. Sometimes using a different teaching method is necessary. Here are a couple of our favorite reading resources: Crushing Dyslexia by Carol S. Fitzpatrick and, Reading Strategies for the Struggling or Non-Reader by Andrew Pudewa.
6TH THROUGH 8TH GRADE
9TH THROUGH 12TH GRADE