3 Tips to Make Homeschool Customized to Each Child
Do you ever feel yourself wishing you could give each of your children one-on-one teaching during your homeschool days, but find it hard to accomplish on a regular basis? Learning to cater your homeschool for each of your individual children is possible, and is 100% worth the effort.
It will look different for every family, every child. This idea of building multiple, child-specific schedules and curriculum may feel like a difficult goal. But let me ease your mind with three tips that can help you build a homeschool that reinforces your child’s homeschool journey.
Table of Contents:
- Learn Your Child’s Mind/Body Schedule
- Follow Their Evolving Passions and Interests
- Accept Your Own Frailties and Weaknesses
- Homeschooling Is an Amazing Way to Customize Your Children’s Education!
1. Learn Your Child’s Mind/Body Schedule
My first suggestion for creating an individual-child-focused education is to discover and learn your child’s mental rhythm to find their peak times for learning and engagement. And then balance that with their physical needs such as movement, eating, and rest.
Each person has their own circadian rhythm; the natural process of our brain to rest and to be awake, typically on a 24-hour loop. Some start the day early, others later. Some children are active and engaged upon waking, while others need a little time to rise from the grogginess.
A homeschool is a place of learning where we embrace and teach a child to follow their intuitions and natural bodily signals. You, as a homeschool parent, have the ability to guide your child’s life towards independence, where they learn confidence and control of their own schedule. Learning to live in sync with one’s own body and mind is a life skill, and a child will become empowered by your support in learning to live in this way. That is why, dear parent, I urge you to investigate your child’s own mind/body cycle.
Perhaps you have one child who naturally wakes up at 6 am, and another at 10 am? Does your child need a daytime nap or two? Is one hungrier at one meal than another? Do they have trouble focusing or sitting still during certain subjects, or at a specific time of day? So many variables to observe.
If there is not a compelling reason to modify these tendencies, I encourage you to embrace these differences in sleep, movement, and hunger and use them to your advantage. The moments of quiet when siblings may still be sleeping, eating, or playing, might be the other child’s most productive hours of the day. Allow a child options for what to do during this time. Let them embrace their interests or hardest subjects when siblings aren’t around to disrupt their concentration and creations.
When we first started homeschooling in 2020, I was finding it difficult to find a cohesive learning schedule between my two children. To say “Language Arts at 10 am” every day, was like pulling teeth for both kids. Through observation, I came to realize that the resistance I was getting was not because of interest or capability. The frustrations were stemming from the time of day being off!
Each of my kids was in a different mental state than I, and each other. At 10 am, my early riser had already spent three productive hours in her day, and was ready for a mental break and free play. The late riser is my imaginative child, who likewise, was not ready for sitting still and doing bookwork, as her mind was alive with creativity from her recent dreams. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the way I was scheduling our day of learning was not going to sustain. Our home of learning was doomed for discontent in everyone.
So how did I figure out each of my daughters’ learning schedules? I observed and asked them! The feedback was a resounding request for more fluidity. There was a weight of burden lifted from my shoulders when I started to let each child order their own day’s subject matter. Each child now has a list of things to work on, and they each get to choose the when, where, and length of time to tackle this list. Their task lists aim toward our weekly, monthly, and yearly goals.
This semi-structured curriculum can allow children space to recognize their own mental state and energy levels. From our experience, guided autonomy makes learning more enjoyable. Instead of having every aspect of their day planned out, a homeschool family can learn skills of time management, self-starter initiative, and perseverance. Changing focus to individual learning patterns and schedules can help make homeschooling more enjoyable for all.
2. Follow Their Evolving Passions and Interests
The second suggestion for creating a homeschool that caters to your child as an individual is to honor them as individuals. Interests between each child can be as varied as snowflakes. Passion for a topic or skill can be the driving factor to our kids accomplishing remarkable things. As parents, we don’t know what these things will be, until we provide time, resources, and opportunities for growth.
Perhaps you have a STEM-minded child. Who says a 2nd grader can’t understand the beginnings of geometry? Maybe your child wants to build a birdhouse. Their interest in carpentry engineering can lead to discussions of angles and symmetry of sides. With instruction on how to use a protractor and ruler, they could create a blueprint of their own design. Hands-on experimentation can solidify these mathematical concepts in their mind, with failure being just as important as success.
Mixing a child’s current interest, with pieces of knowledge and meaningful application, the child will suck up that information like a vacuum. Perfection is not the goal. A child who pursues their interest learns from experience and retains the information in an unforced way because it was their idea and drive to begin with.
Could you have an artistic/creative, left-brained child? Does your child enjoy coming up with elaborate stories? Teach them to write storyboards. Offer them various media outlets to try out. This could look like a digital camera for stop-go video animation or short films. Learning to direct their family members and stuffed animals. Have you seen them creating clothes for their toys?
Embrace out-of-the-box thinking and together you both could scour the house for creative mediums, such as cupcake liners or aluminum foil. Make a fashion collection with different methods of adhesion, such as hot glue, basic thread, needle stitches, or even iron-on velcro. We can assist our children to learn for themselves the power of creation. If they dream it, they can make it a reality.
3. Accept Your Own Frailties and Weaknesses
For my final piece of advice, dear homeschool parent, please know that you do not need to know or do it all.
Embrace your child’s learning journey knowing that you don’t need to put extra stress on yourself to be the perfect teacher. It is ok to have limitations. If fact, I encourage you to not put too much pressure on yourself but instead be willing to share the teaching duties when needed. There are many online learning websites, such as Homeschool Spanish Academy, that can provide your child with the knowledge or time you may lack.
I myself took four years of Spanish in my teenage years. I remember some basics, but what HSA teachers can provide my children is a native tongue that understands the nuances of the Spanish language. I have confidence in HSA’s curriculum that permeates into my children’s enthusiasm for conversational Spanish. By using a qualified third party for a portion of our Homeschool curriculum, the pressure to know everything is off of me, and I get to learn and practice Spanish right alongside my children.
There is no rule saying a homeschool parent needs to be an expert on every subject to be a successful educator. Parents may not be an expert in complex math, but they are experts in their children. We as parents are invested in the children’s best interests more than anyone else ever could be. This alone is a huge part of a homeschool’s success, the involvement of the parents!
Parents should not be afraid to take the temperature of the learning environment. If feelings of stress, frustration, or fatigue should linger for a long period of time, consider ways to change the dynamics. Just as we encourage children to look at a problem and think outside of the box for a solution, a homeschool parent should be willing to look for assistance in their child’s education. There is no shame in seeking assistance.
A few actionable ideas that may help you give an individual focus to each child, without draining you to the point of exhaustion: Setting up a weekly video call with a grandparent or other trusted adult, that the child may read aloud to or practice math facts with. Find a local STEAM, Lego builders, or robotics club. Enroll in a local dance or art class, or join a sports team. Connect with a homeschool co-operative where other like-minded families join together to educate their children in a group setting. Take field trips to the post office, grocery store, historic sites, and farms. Utilize free resources at the public library. Participate in online classes, such as Homeschool Spanish Academy, or Outschool. Search YouTube and Pinterest for How-to Instruction videos.
There can be real value for your child as they engage in multiple spaces with like-minded individuals, and knowledgeable educators readily available to assist and guide young minds.
Homeschooling Is an Amazing Way to Customize Your Children’s Education!
Each child can feel the embrace of learning in a healthy, happy environment, especially when we individualize their education. As parents, we can show each child that they are not lost from our focus when we:
- Spend time to realize their mind/body schedule
- Pursue their passions and interests
- Encourage child lead discoveries
- Outsource the teaching when needed.
The number of resources available to homeschooling families in 2022 is immense, and for that, we are all blessed. May we remember that success is not dictated by perfection, but in the pursuit of improvement. Best wishes to you and your child(ren) on your learning journey.
Join one of the 40,000 classes that we teach each month and you can experience results like these
“This is the best way for your kid to learn Spanish. It’s one-on-one, taught by native Spanish speakers, and uses a curriculum.”
– Sharon K, Parent of 3
“It’s a great way to learn Spanish, from native Spanish speakers in a 1-on-1 environment. It’s been fairly easy to schedule classes around my daughter’s other classes. The best value for us has been ordering multiple classes at a time. All the instructors have been great!”
– Cindy D, Parent of 3
“HSA offers very affordable, quality, one on one classes with a native speaker. My son has greatly benefited from taking classes. We have seen his confidence increase as well as his pronunciation improve, because he learns from a native Spanish speaker. HSA has quick, personal customer service. Our family has been very pleased with our experience so far!”
– Erica P. Parent of 1
Want more Spanish resources? Check these out!
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- 20 Ways to Homeschool Spanish as a Non-Native Speaker
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- 9 Free Homeschool Curriculum Options with Daily Lesson Plans
- How to Homeschool for Free in 2023
- The Brilliant Way to Homeschool Your Preschool (Pre-K) Child, Ages 2-5
Bryson and Alyssa are passionate when it comes to exploring and learning about the great outdoors. Some of their favorite pastimes include: hiking at Mt Rainier National Park, watching wildlife in their natural habitats, playing on sandy beaches, and spending time together someplace new. They enjoy learning with their children, and are on their second year of homeschool. They utilize museums, nature, good books, and online learning as part of their children's education.
They are excited to share more about their roadschool & vanlife adventures with you on Instagram at @bryson.and.alyssa
- 3 Tips to Make Homeschool Customized to Each Child - May 9, 2022