Monday, 16 March 2020 12:59

Homeschooling 101

Overseeing your child for a month (minimum) while they do work sent home by the teacher is not the same thing as families who choose to home-school full-time. Full-time Home-schooling parents have the opportunity to spend many months planning their curriculum and preparing for the year. What you are being asked to do is much different, and comes with it’s own unique set of challenges.

While every family has different goals, motivation, structure, and expected outcomes, we spoke to a local homeschool group and asked them from tips and guidelines to help you navigate your way through these uncharted waters.

Saratoga TODAY will provide you with additional tips and/or ideas in the upcoming weeks. Good luck in this adventure. Just remember, take a deep breath, stay calm and make it fun.


Academics, while important, should be secondary. Take this time to really get to know each other and genuinely enjoy each other.  Limit the time spent on phones, computers…view this as bonus time to bond as a family. 

Don't put unwarranted stress upon yourself to live up to teaching standards that you think you need to live up to.  Don't stress and get upset if your children are having a difficult time learning material. Changes in routine can affect the learning process. Impatience can lead to frustration for everyone and could lead to hurt relationships. 

The internet has so many programs that it's easy to get overwhelmed. Sticking to books can be more liberating and easier to control, especially with kids who may end up just playing games on the computer!

Write down a schedule or routine and share it with the family. Keep it general and make sure getting outside every day is part of the agenda!


Have a family meeting each day to go over plan for the day.  Kids know their school schedule, but this is a new routine.Everyone will work better if they know the schedule and expectations. 

Make sure each child has a designated place to work within your view, and give each child their own checklist of schoolwork they should get done each day.Be available to help your kids, but let them do what they can on their own. 

Get required schoolwork done early in the day, then use the rest of the day to bake together, plan a garden, declutter/spring clean, makeover a room in the house... Enjoy each other's company!

Admit that you are learning together. Take the lead, but be flexible and responsive to whatever the family needs most.

Set small daily goals.

Make it interesting and take school outside -practice math facts while throwing a baseball, writing math facts or spelling words on hopscotch squares…go for a run and discuss the book they're reading. 

Read outside while lounging in the sun- the Vitamin D is good for you!

Look around your house with "home-school eyes."Which books, games, and toys are educational?  Do they cover a certain subject? You may have more resources than you realize right under your nose. Gather them up and use them- Learning should be fun! 


Netflix and Amazon Prime have some wonderful educational and historical programming. Spend this time watching things you otherwise would not watch. Following are some great programs to get started with:

The Men Who Built America
Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford are names synonymous with innovation and big business in America. They all built empires and created advances in technology. They helped shape the country in its early days by doing things such as developing the models for modern railroads, creating the modern financial system and making cars accessible to the masses.

Washington tells the story of how a fatherless young soldier full of personal ambition becomes a leader of men willing to sacrifice all for the common cause. How a once-loyal British subject rises to battle an empire in a liberty-or-death campaign to forge a new nation. And then how, at the zenith of his power, the victorious general voluntarily steps down, becoming what King George III would call “the greatest man in the world.”

Inventions That Shook the World
Go on a decade-by-decade voyage of discovery through life-changing inventions, like the radio that made the world smaller, the machine gun that made it more dangerous, or the parking meter that made it more expensive. Witness the discovery and creation of billion-dollar inventions and financial disasters - all players in the most innovative century the world has ever known.


Have your kids keep daily journals to practice their writing skills.  Kids can write about what is going on, how they feel, observations they make about society during this time, and what they do as an individual and as a family during this time.

These will become primary documents for the future and could even be used in a book later. 

Let the kids sleep later than normal- you'll be surprised at the growth spurts you'll see when they aren't getting up at the crack of dawn for an early bus! But don't get in the habit of letting them stay up later than normal, that often leads to crankiness in everyone the next day.


Relax! If some days go down the tubes, let it go and start over tomorrow.

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