Learning Beyond the Classroom

Learning beyond the classroom

We are seeing an amazing growth in the number of home schooling families across the South Pacific region. This surge is being fueled by many reasons including the Covid-19 pandemic. A large number of families are taking their children's learning beyond the classroom. Many are choosing not to send their children to school at all because they are now seeing "all of the wonderful benefits" of home schooling.

We are hearing family comments such as:

"Our form of education is self-directed, so we follow our children's interests, and we incorporate learning through all parts of life”.

"We're always talking about numeracy and literacy in everything that we do, so we don't do dedicated lessons to just get to an endpoint”.

Here are a few ideas to support you with your home school experience:

Create a designated learning space

Home schooling is fun, exciting, and often messy. It is a good idea to  keep your children’s study materials organised and designate a specific learning hub—a space where they keep supplies and books. Consider posting a printed schedule at their hub so they always know what tasks need to get done and what goals they’re working on that day or week.

Follow a daily schedule

Kids thrive when they have a basic structure and routine. Consider creating and following a daily schedule. You can always adapt, but a schedule will give you focus and direction each day.

Here are a few tips for making clear and effective schedules:

  • Colour-code by type of activity or school subject to quickly see what you’re working on at any given day or time.
  • If you’re teaching two or more children, use swimlanes to track multiple daily schedules and note when kids are working together on projects or coming together for things like meals and other activities. Swimlane diagramsillustrate a workflow and roles through rows and columns (like lanes in a pool).

Make a simple flowchart to help kids move through their day. A flowchart makes the order of activities clear and focuses on tasks versus time of day.

Pick a system that works for you. Your schedule can be as detailed or as relaxed as you want. The key is having some set routine and structure for you and your child to follow so you can both stay on track.

Map out the school year ahead of time

Map out your school year to track progress on your goals and plan out big projects.

Set learning goals together

Goals are an important part of home schooling. As the parent/teacher, outline some key learning objectives for your child ahead of time. (These will likely be based on state or national requirements, your personal educational philosophy, as well as your child’s age and abilities.) Once you have some broad objectives and benchmarks, sit down with your child and get their input.

Work together to set learning goals broken down by year, semester, and month.

Take learning beyond the classroom

One of the best parts of homeschooling (and one of its greatest advantages) is the flexibility to learn outside a traditional classroom setting.

Look for learning opportunities that take learning beyond the classroom:

  • Play board games.
  • Practice baking and cooking.
  • Learn household management skills like laundry or simple budgeting.
  • Write emails to friends and family.
  • Visit local businesses.
  • Go to the farmer’s market.
  • Go to the library.

Make time for these opportunities in your daily schedule and keep an open mind.

Make learning a family activity

Share your excitement for learning with your kids. Is there a subject or activity that everyone in the family enjoys? Lean into that.

For example, you could:

  • Read together.
  • Explore a new hobby or have a family member teach a skill.
  • Make crafts.
  • Be a tourist in your own town.
  • Go geocaching.
  • Take a family hike.
  • Visit a museum.

Get creative and involve the whole family for a fun and memorable experience.

Collaborate with other home schoolers

Connect with other home schoolers in your area or online to collaborate and share resources. This will enrich your child’s experience and expand their educational opportunities in and out of your home.

Ease into home schooling

For example, consider starting with just one or two subjects the first week and then adding a subject to your schedule each week as you step it up. This will give you and your child a chance to gradually acclimate to the school environment again and to begin building a natural routine.

Remember: Home schooling doesn’t have to mirror the structure and set up of traditional schools. Listen to your child and pay attention to what works well for them and adapt as needed.

Karen Granger Adv. Dip. Early Childhood Education

Karen has over twenty years experience in the education profession including early childhood and special education. Her passion is empowering families to be a vital part of their children’s learning journey.

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