Ensuring that learning doesn’t stop at the school gates is a particularly challenging task that most parents engage in on a regular basis. For those who choose to take the homeschooling route, it’s even more of a challenge. Finding the right content to suit a particular child, issues of trust with resources, and maintaining student engagement on a one-to-one scale are struggles that I’m sure every educator can relate to. The growing community of homeschoolers is committed to providing the youth of today with a flexible education that is specifically attuned to specific learning needs, styles, personalities, and interests. Parents also engage in homeschooling on a regular basis even if they don’t bravely decide to commit to it full time.
So what challenges do parents and homeschoolers face in terms of educating their children to the best of their ability? And how can technology make a difference?
5 Big Challenges of Homeschooling
Homeschooling is no easy task. For those brave parents who choose to take on the simultaneous role of teacher, a number of challenges continuously present themselves in their efforts to combine the family home and the learning environment.
- 1. A common and recurring concern for all homeschoolers is time management. Multitasking is not an art that everyone can master, and as a homeschooler you can’t manage without it. Having to juggle a number of kids in one room for an entire day, all at different levels, learning at different paces, presents a nightmare of sorts. On top of this, the added duties of parenting, cleaning and cooking are still expected, despite your newfound teacher-status.
- 2. Another challenge that every single homeschool parent will face at one stage or another is keeping learners motivated. While teachers do face this challenge every day within the classroom, can you imagine attempting to keep a four year-old and a ten year-old motivated and engaged, both studying different subjects and content at different levels, and cradled by the comfortable surroundings of home?
- 3. Engaging siblings in creating a collaborative and cooperative learning environment is undoubtedly another major challenge. Siblings working together in a confined space for long periods of time can be a recipe for disaster, posing a threat to their learning.
- 4. Juggling all the duties of a parent with those of a teacher in a combined environment makes effective organization a priority. The general organization expected of teachers still applies, (managing lessons, activities, assessments and resources in such a way that you are provided with a clear view of student performance and progress), with the added task of having to be extremely diligent in terms of time management and keeping the home in order.
- 5. Apart from these particular challenges that homeschoolers face on a daily basis, the general difficulties of finding engaging resources that align to state standards are still cause for concern.
3 Simple Solutions for Homeschool Parents
Technology can open a number of doors for a homeschool parent that faces the outlined challenges, and more. While many educators remain reluctant to integrate technology for fear of over-complicated software or the safety issues that may follow, there are systems that offer you exactly what you need, without the cause for concern.
1. Online lesson planners and learning management tools can support homeschoolers in saving precious time and in maintaining a consistent flow of progress and performance to help their children succeed.
2. Bringing social media into your teaching engages learners easily as a result of the embedded ‘fun factor’, while allowing you and your children to exchange content, ideas, resources and support. While they may be learning at different levels and paces, being able to communicate and share ideas and resources they find interesting and relevant to one another will ensure a cooperative learning environment and ease any hostility that may exist between siblings.
3. Finally, the right resources that are standard-aligned, engaging and suitable for each and every individual learner are few and far between. While the internet does provide us with a range of interactive resources that keep learners on their toes, what often happens is we end up spending days trying to source them all. With a learning platform like Fishtree, all resources are not only interactive and engaging, and automatically standard-aligned, but are all available from the one place.
By integrating technology, you can save time, engage your kids, and manage it all easily so that you can regain control of your teaching, your parenting, and your life. By starting off with an easy-to-use system like Fishtree, you can do all of the above and more. While a homeschool parent’s job is admirable in more ways than one, nobody can do it all.
Let technology provide a helping hand, and share the responsibility. The benefits are sure to outweigh your hesitations.
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About the author:
Lorna Keane is a teacher of French, English and ESL. She specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Subscribe to her blog or follow her on Twitter.