parenting tips

Whether to Homeschool or Not?

Homeschooling has become more mainstream in recent years, but it is still a rare thing in today’s world. As education becomes more widely available to people from all walks of life, homeschooling is still a thought on many parents’ minds. There are many reasons why parents and caregivers may choose to go the homeschooling route, but there are certain things that you need to keep in mind if you are thinking of doing the same for your children.

Define Your Priorities

For many parents, it is their ideology that drives them to consider homeschooling. If there is a particular set of ideas and values that you would like to impart to your child that they may not receive in another setting, then this is the first thing you have to do. Not only will it help you ultimately make a decision but it can also help shape the way you approach homeschooling if you go down that route.

Know Who You Are

In the same vein as above, it helps for parents and guardians to figure out who they are and what their approach to homeschool is. There are a lot of stereotypes out there, but ultimately you are your own person and your approach to homeschooling will be entirely your own. Knowing what your goals are and what your approach will be can help you make a decision, however, it will have a huge impact on how you go about educating your children as well.

Get Acquainted with Curriculum

Even though you will have more control over what your child learns and how they go about doing so, learning more about curriculum styles and requirements can provide you with guidelines when it comes time to creating your own curriculum for your child. Give yourself some homework and read up on the educational philosophies of homeschooling. Certain ideas and approaches may jump out at you and resonate with your thoughts on homeschooling and why you want to consider it in the first place.

Define Your Time

As a homeschooler, you will need to dedicate a lot of your own time to educating your child, but there are other types of time you may need to allocate as well. For many kids, school is more than just about education but it is also about activity and socialization. It is important that parents take these important types of developmental time into consideration before making a tentative schedule of your own. Will you be able to handle scheduling learning time with these other activities? Doing so can help your child become more well-rounded and aid them when it comes to developing key physical and social skills, so it is vital to keep these other types of learning in mind.

How Will You Support It?

This is perhaps a more pertinent question for parents choosing homeschooling over public schooling, but in any case, homeschooling is a full time job. It demands time, supplies, and resources, too. Parents who might otherwise send their child to private school can allocate those designated funds to support homeschooling, but since public school does not require tuition, the time and effort put into it will need to come from somewhere.

There are many things that parents need to consider before homeschooling. For some, it is a personal choice whereas for other parents, kids with special needs (whether they be related to medical requirements and limitations or learning and behavioral disabilities) or with special circumstances may get the most out of homeschooling because of their needs or because of accessibility. There are plenty of resources for parents to check out, and sometimes medical professionals can offer advice if the choice to homeschool is related to a child’s medical or behavioral needs. Reach out to others, gather differing opinions and ideas, and try to make an educated decision before taking the leap.

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How to Choose a Summer Camp

Summer is ripe with adventure, and there is no better way to highlight the season than summer camp. Summer camp can be extremely exciting for kids. It allows them to spend some time away from home to grow and learn, but also to have a fun time. These days, there are summer camps for every price range, specific interest, and summer schedule. There are a few things you may want to keep in mind before getting started on your list of potential prospects for your little one.

Kinds of Camps

The two main types of camps out there differ on their duration. Resident camps are the camps mostly featured in movies and are more often referred to as “sleep-away camp”. Many of these camps offer a variety of programs and activities for children as young as seven and many of them offer features that focus on specific programs or activities. Some are basic and have a little bit of everything, but specialty camps may specialize in a specific sport or other activity with the goal of improving a specific set of skills.

There are also day camps for parents who may be looking for a babysitting or daycare alternative or for kids who are not ready (or simply uninterested) in sleeping away from home on their own. Day camps offer programming for kids as young as four years old and they generally run on the same, or similar, schedule to the average school day with afternoon programs and other activities for kids who wish to stay longer or to accommodate parent work schedules.

Camp Features

Some parents may be concerned or have a preference regarding the types of activities camps offer or what other kinds of perks and features they have. Some camps focus on building academic skills or knowledge in fields like science, music, or religion. Others may focus on sports, the outdoors, and other topics.

Special needs campers should not be discouraged from considering going to camp. There are many camps that can easily accommodate kids with special needs and there are camps that cater only to kids with certain conditions, offering specific programs that can be just as enriching, fulfilling and fun.

Camp is in Session

Depending on your needs as a parent or on your child’s desires (and ability to be away from home), camps also offer various session lengths for you to choose from.

For kids who are comfortable being away from home on their own, longer sessions for sleep-away camps can be fun and exciting, but shorter sessions may be preferable for kids who are not as comfortable or new to the experience. Day camps are generally very flexible when it comes to session length, and their daytime duration depending on when kids can be dropped off and picked up. Most day camps run from the end of the school year to the beginning of the next one.

Session length may also depend on your budget, which is another important factor to consider. Especially since there are plenty of things that can affect how much money you are willing and able to spend.

Camp Costs

Each camp option, duration, specialty, and other options will add to your total at summers end. Depending on the type of camp, session duration, and any other travel costs or expenses, your costs could vary. However most camps will work with you and your budget depending on what you are looking for you child to get out of the experience. Some community centers offer special programs and other options you may want to consider before looking at camp, and make sure you have an idea of what your own summer schedule looks like before you book. Camp costs will vary depending on where your child goes, but many are affordable the more you customize your child’s stay.

 

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Questions to Ask Your Child to Boost Reading Comprehension

When it comes to building reading skills, what better than actually reading? However knowing the words, sounding them out, and reading them aloud is only part of the skill set that reading requires and can it help enhance the experience if done correctly. Being able to read is one thing, but retaining information, making inferences and forming opinions is another important aspect of this activity – especially in regards to academics. It is important that kids are not only able to read, but that they are also able to take something away from the experience as well. This can mean learning new things, but it can also mean connecting with a fictional character on a personal level or being inspired to engage their imaginations and do something new.

There are some ways parents can help kids boost their reading comprehension skills to get them in the habit of thinking actively.

Ask Their Opinion

This is straightforward, but it can help. After story time, whether it is the parent reading to the child or the child reading aloud, asking questions about the book or the chapter that was just read can help a lot. Not only can asking questions help engage their minds, but having a discussion about the story can help boost kids’ memories and encourage them to engage with the material more personally.

Ask them who their favorite character was and why. Ask them why they think the character did what they did in the story, and what they might have done differently if they were in their shoes. You can even ask your child what they think might happen next or what they would write if they were in charge of the next chapter or sequel.

Encourage Them to Keep a Journal

Kids don’t necessarily have to recount their days; kids can write about their lives, the things they read, school, or anything they like. The important thing is that they are writing. Writing is inherently related to reading in nature, and writing can help children better understand written material. Not only that, but writing can help boost communication skills, empathy and emotional understanding.

Give your kids prompts to answer in their journal, whether it is about their day, what happened at school, or what they think about the things they are reading. Ask them engaging questions and see what they come up with.

Have Them Tell You a Story

Sometimes, bedtime includes a story from mom or dad and not from a book. Storytelling in any form can be beneficial, plus it’s a great way to spend time together and form wonderful memories. But next time at bedtime, ask your child to tell you a story instead – and don’t just listen in, be an active audience member. Ask your kids about their characters and the events of the story, ask them why things happen or why a character did something a certain way. These are the same questions you may have asked your children after reading a book, but asking them about their own stories can help to further engage their active sense of reasoning and understanding. These skills will come in handy when kids are reading on their own and once they begin to ask themselves these questions, they will become more active and understanding readers.

Below are some starter questions you may consider asking your child before choosing a book, while reading a book, or when you’re finished reading:

Picking out a book

• Why did you choose this book?

• Did you like the picture on the front? What’s happening in the image?

• What could this book be about?

Before reading the book

• Can you point to the title? or What is this? (pointing to the title)

• What might happen in the story?

• Talk about the different parts of the book (ex. front cover, back cover, title, author, illustrator, etc.)

• If it is an informational book, ask them what they hope to learn and why

While reading

• What has happened so far?

• What might happen next?

•How do you think the story might end?

• What sort of character is….? How would you describe them? Would you be friends with them?

• How would you feel if you had been that character? Has anything like that happened to you? What would you do if this happened to you?

• If reading an information book: Have you learned anything new? What else would you like to know?

At the end of the book

• What was their favorite part? What was the most interesting/exciting part of the book?

• Why did that character do … (give a situation from the story as an example)?

• What happened in the story?

• Who are the main characters in the story?

• What character would you like to be?

• Did you like this book?

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