I love homeschooling because kids do not have their heads buried in mounds of homework. (You get to do this throughout the day so it is not that huge of a mound, hehehe!)
Seriously speaking though, homeschooling gives more freedom when it comes to learning. When I was still in school, I remember the teachers giving out homework to make sure we were retaining what they were teaching us. The problem was our school sort of maxed out our times in the daytime when we were most active and alert. My siblings and I would need to wake up by 5 in the morning to be able to leave the house by 6.
Why so early, you might ask? The national anthem started at 7:30, and there were late catchers in the corridors who would not be hesitant to mark us tardy in the daily attendance. Traffic was horrible in the morning—the cars would be stopped in the middle of the road. My sister, brother, and I would be forced to walk with our heavy school trollers (We needed trolley bags for all those schoolbooks and stuff.) and pray that the school guard would still let us in just before the warning bell. If we were too late, we stood outside the school gate and were faced with definite tardy marks. And that was the reason we needed to set our alarms for 5:00 A.M.
Classes started at 8 continuing up to a 15-minute recess. Then classes continued until lunch break which was 45 minutes. Afterwards, more classes were covered with another 15-minute recess until dismissal time at 4:30 in the afternoon (30 minutes earlier on Fridays).
Yup, we already had a sense of the 8-to-5 “work hours” even before reaching our teens. So…homework? What energy did we still have for homework? By the time we got home, we would have dinner together then officially start on homework by 7-8ish. Kids need more than eight hours of sleep every night. It is no wonder I would oversleep on Sunday mornings to “catch-up” on the lost sleep.
Do not get me wrong though; our school was a really great one. It was a private school. We were one of the first ones to get hold of a really wonderful Christian curriculum some homeschool parents would surely know about. But then again, the homework setup is certainly not conducive for all types of students.
And this is why I am grateful we are homeschooling our child.
We are able to do other stuff instead of the usual work-on-this-work-on-that-homework after school. Questions are tackled on the spot, and we are not tied to a schedule when we have to finish this subject just so we can get to the next subject.
Experiences to Reinforce Learning
I asked a couple of homeschool parents what they do as an alternative to the traditional purpose of homework to help their kids retain what they are learning. Many say they talk about what they are learning and have discussions. For their more artsy kids, they let them compile their portfolios. In our house, we just do a lot of reading, drawing and painting, nothing that resembles a worksheet—at least at this early age. For nature studies, we water our plants in our small (really, really small) garden—as simple as that! It also acts as a “job” because my kiddo loves being given responsibilities.
Homeschooling is not limited to bookwork and worksheets. There is a lot of flexibility with the kids having a lot of time for other interests. Here are some ideas you can try out as an alternative to traditional homework.
- Write a diary. Have your child pretend he/she is a character in a book. You can use this for creative writing, geography, history, etc. Imagine you are Amelia Earhart flying over the Atlantic Ocean. The skies are literally the limit!
- Make a project related to the lesson. This can be anything under the sun. Cooking, crafting, collecting, etc.
- Have them read what they love (as long as it is related to the lesson and approved by you the parent). Assigned reading is great; but if kids are given the choice, the results might surprise you. Reading is reading.
- Keep a pet (or pets!). Grow a plant. Taking care of a living thing is a learning and life activity in a lot of ways. What do dogs/goldfish eat? How much do they eat? What vaccines do they need? What environment is best for plants? There are science, math and scheduling skills here (among others). You can even turn this into language arts—journal writing anyone?
- Watch a movie or video (again, related to the lesson). I am a very visual person, and I love those book-to-movie adaptations. You could do this as a fun family activity too!
Of course traditional homework has its place even in homeschooling. It is simply wonderful to know that we have options, especially that we chose to home educate our children. The world is our schoolhouse! What are the things you do to reinforce learning? I would love to hear your ideas!
Written by Katherine Tanyu
Aside from God, her family, homeschooling (and books!), Katherine's love lies in stationeries. She and her husband manage growing stationery brands Forestmill®, Prevailed® and Boss StationeryTM in the Philippines. She is also the community moderator of a Facebook group for Office and School Supplies Wholesalers. Katherine blogs at https://kmtanyu.wixsite.com/thiskatwrites.
See articles on The Canadian Schoolhouse written by Katherine.