Homeschooling Your Preschool Child

homeschooling-a-preschooler-naomi-mc-laughlan

Each child has unique interests and learning needs, not to mention attention spans. Therefore, if you are wondering whether homeschooling is suitable for your child or children, it is best to do an initial evaluation of what your preschool child’s needs are.

Several online resources provide lesson suggestions for preschoolers. You may find these materials very helpful. However, consider them only as a guide to give your child’s learning some direction. It is highly advised to be aware of the learners’ interests, be it an inclination to writing, sports, arts and crafts, or any other subject. You can then incorporate these interests into your list of “things that a home schooled child should know.”

For different age groups of children, you may need to employ different methods and techniques for homeschooling. And in order to know which methods and activities best suits your child under a specific age group, this short list may be of help.

Children of age 2 are found to be the most difficult. The child often gets bored and at times frustrated when being taught. Stimuli are needed in order to catch their interests. Children of this age group are most eager to learn, often walking around, and climbing steps. Common behaviors of this age include self-centeredness and possessiveness. Their sense of humor also develops. Do activities relating to these capabilities of the child.

Homeschooling a 3 year old is even more trying. At this point, the child is more physical in affection and in play. They don’t mind change, love having friends to play with, and they take verbal instructions very well. Use these to stimulate them to participate in learning activities. At this age, they are already capable of communicating their needs.

Children of age 4 are usually capable of working with scissors, hopping around on one foot or skipping. They start to learn to draw and possess a lot of physical energy. Let them try new things, as this will be their number one interest. They are very imaginative so give them an opportunity to develop and express this creativity.

Remember that all children grow at their own rate,

and in their own ways.

To achieve maximum benefits for the home schooled preschooler, you should trust your child’s own intuition of their momentary needs and wants and give them sufficient freedom to explore, inquire, and ultimately learn.

I invite you to take part in the Professional Home Educator Academy, which is an online based training program for parents who like to set up a successful home-school environment. I have been a homeschooling mum of three for many years now, and I have highly enjoyed every step of it.In the program I share not only my experience, but also easy to follow steps and strategies on how you can make homeschooling integrate into your own family setup.

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Let me know what you think in the comment section below!
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All the Best,
Naomi xxx
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How to create Social Tales for your Autistic Child

 

Social Tale Blog Post Naomi Mc Laughlan

Social tales are created to teach your child a skill, elaborate a situation or invite to consider usual and unusual events, for example a visit to the dentist, how to understand other people’s feelings and what their body language may communicate and much more.

I have created stories to explain and prepare my youngest child many times in the past and I have found them to be very helpful, as I have found that I can create them in minutes and re-use or adapt them if I have to for future use.


How to create a Social Tale in 5 Simple Steps;

Step 1 Consider one topic or topic area

Step 2 Write down one to three aspects you want your child to take away from the tale

Step 3 Outline the tale (the beginning,main part and end)

Step 4 Write simple, short and focused sentences that describe what happens or shall happen. You can personalize your tale by using your child’s name and by adding names of places or his or her favorite toys etc. to it. State the ‘best case scenario’ and make active, positive statements, rather than negative ones.

Step 5 Illustrate your tale or add clipart to enhance your message visually

You don’t have to be extremely creative, but rather focus on the main goals or objectives you are trying to accomplish, as the tale is meant to teach or explain, rather than entertain your child. Although, you may want to create a mix of stories, some which are more descriptive and others that show a situation in a more detailed approach.


A couple of years ago, I wrote a story for my little girl, because she was very anxious of noises, insects and the like. Initially, I created the text and asked my son to illustrate the pages just for us, but eventually realized that it may also help other children who are on the Autistic Spectrum and suffer from fears and phobias. Eventually the book was published in 2012 as ‘Judy no need to be scared’, and has since helped hundreds of children to overcome fearful situations through reading and listening to the story.Judy no need to be scared Naomi Mc Laughlan Kindle book cover

The book is available at Amazon, as a paperback or Kindle version, so I invite you to have a look.

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All the Best,

Naomi xxx

Homeschooling Success – A Pround Mommy Moment

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Does homeschooling REALLY work?

YES, it does! How though, that may be the better question…From personal experience of homeschooling my three kids at different stages, I can say that is works perfectly, if you are willing to plan well and you are organised.

Does homeschooling work for EVERY child?

Each child has strengths and weaknesses and while in mainstream schools the goal is to teach all children at the same level and speed in classes defined by age, not ability, in homeschooling that is not the primary objective. So, I believe that home education works greatly for each child, due to the opportunity of setting up a learning environment that is specially designed for the individual child.

Does homeschooling work for children with SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS (SEN)?

Children who have complex learning difficulties or mental or physical disabilities have the chance to be taught at a level that is suitable at the time, which can, depending of their needs, be adapted at any given time in a homeschool environment.

My youngest child, age 7, has proven that home education with learning goals that are specifically outlined for her, with lots of love and time to develop at her own speed works very well; despite her disabilities she is very capable of learning; at her own pace and in her unique way.

I am so happy and grateful that we were able to make the right choice for her, so I wanted to share this short video with you, in which she reads two pages of a reading Level 4 primary school book.

Let me know what you think in the comment section below!

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All the Best,

Naomi xxx

P.S.: If you wonder about how to start homeschooling, I invite you to check out the Professional Home Educator Academy online program, which I have created to teach parents and carers how to set up a successful homeschool environment.

Homeschooling and Socialization – YES it works!

 

Toys on a Bench Naomi Mc Laughlan

When I initially started home educating my three children, many people asked me repeatedly whether my kids lack socialization due to being at home. After some time it really drove me nuts, having to explain to everyone that first of all they are three anyway, so they obviously have each other at home to start off with, and in addition even when they were younger they had quite an active day including being outside. I taught them in the morning, so we were either at home or we would make trips to the local zoo, beach, forest, park or swimming pool, depending on how it fit into their lesson plans.

Kitchen Toys Naomi Mc LaughlanWe lived in a large neighborhood, so after the mainstream schools finished in the early afternoon there were plenty of children outside, so of cause my kids joined them as well. In addition, I organised plenty of playdates, we organised the neighborhood Halloween party one year and my kids had sleepovers with their friends. In addition, each child has found a hobby club, so again a great opportunity to make friends and socialise, while doing something they love.  At weekends we would have family over, for example my sisters and their kids, and we joined the local family church morning session.

So overall, I believe children have endless opportunities to socialise whether they are in a mainstream school or are educated at home. After all, children do not get to choose who their classmates are in school and may only pick one or two kids as their friends anyway, while  homeschooled children have the option to socialize solely with children they really like. As talking during classes is prohibited by teachers with a ‘Shh, we don’t talk during lessons’, main-streamers are left with recess (break time) only to socialize which accounts for few hours a day at most.


 

Here are 8 Ideas on

How to initiate new friendship opportunities for your home-schooled kids:

 

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate mainstream schools as well, as I believe that each child is unique and may blossom in different environments at particular stages in life. And while I still teach my youngest daughter at home and my son studies at University online from home as well, my oldest daughter has joined the local high school.

If you are thinking of starting your homeschool journey, I invite you to check out the Professional Home Educator Academy, which is an online based training that shows you how to get started or organised, if you have started but feel lost.

Let me know what you think,

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

 

How do Children learn best?

How do children learn NaomiMcLaughlan 2

Have you ever asked yourself what the best approach may be to teach your children new knowledge and skills?

Especially if you are a homeschooling parent like me, this thought may have crossed you mind too.

I have prepared an outline for you, including the learning theories and styles which are most referred to and associated with learning.


How children learn best NaomiMcLaughlan 3

Learning through Sensory Stimulation

According to the sensory stimulations theory effective learning occurs when the senses are stimulated. In relation to this theory the VARK questionnaire was established which tests a persons’ preference for learning best. Most people are multimodal learners which basically means that they prefer all learning styles, Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic, but some more than others.

Children learn best if their senses are stimulated while learning and this could be achieved by changing learning materials and learning activities to keep them actively interested in the lesson. In Waldorf schools children form letters out of play dough and experiment a lot with different materials during their lessons. Some of these lessons take place on the actual place of action, for example a visit to a farm to learn about the work as a farmer and the animals.


Learning through Reinforcement

The reinforcement theory developed by B.F. Skinner outlines that desired behaviour will be learned by positive reinforcement in the form of rewards, either verbally or through tangible rewards. Some schools use this technique by mentioning how well a child has done something to the child directly or written under the child’s work. During assemblies special certificates are handed out to children who have done especially well during the week, most of these certificates are for rewarding good behaviour in class or during break time. This way of reinforcement can easily be incorporated for a home educated child.


Learning through Facilitation

The humanist approach or facilitation theory, outlines that learning will occur by the educator acting as a facilitator, which means that children have a natural eagerness to learn and will do so, if the teacher (parent) and learning environment offers a stimulating atmosphere. This approach is the basis of Montessori schools worldwide, which was founded by the Italian educator and physician Maria Montessori. Children are inquisitive from birth onwards; they try to understand the world around them; by asking chain questions, trying something new, and keeping themselves busy all day long.


How do children learn NaomiMcLaughlan 1

Learning in a Homeschool Environment

Home schooling works wonderfully by using a mix of learning styles and approaches to engage your child during a lesson, because sometimes one approach could work for some children but maybe not for all children.

Most children enjoy experiencing new concepts, engaging in a new activity and  using their imagination to solve a problem. Their interest can be enhanced when they are able to access a variety of media, in form of books, brochures or EBooks, looking at or producing posters, graphs and videos during the teaching sessions.

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If you are not a home educator yet, but would like to start homeschooling your child or children, I invite you to visit the ‘Professional Home Educator Academy‘, which will help you to set up a successful home-school environment.

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

How to promote expected behaviour, values and attitudes in a home school environment

In order to demonstrate expected behaviour, values and attitudes it is important to be consistent in every aspect of the home school environment.

Palytime NaomiMcLaughlan

Make your child or children aware of the expected behaviour, rules and sanctions.
As a teaching parent or carer, promote a positive behaviour yourself by treating every child with respect, without favouring one child over the other and by promoting equality and accepting a diverse capability of your children. Children often feel treated unfair if a younger child is allowed to take more breaks, for example, this can be avoided by explaining to the elder child the reasons for it.

Desk NaomiMcLaughlanHere are three major things to consider:

1. Keep the teaching area ‘classroom’ tidy
2. Be well prepared at the beginning of each lesson (lesson plan, required books etc.)
3. Keep interruptions to a minimum (phone calls etc.)

You could create a visual reminder for your child or children by making a poster of your desired behaviours. Include aspects like: Good behaviour is seen as being friendly, kind, polite, and careful, during lessons children should be working in a quiet manner and children are asked to being helpful to each other, to consider and accept the different needs of others.
Remind your children often of what is expected of  them, by using prompts to assist them to remember your rules etc.
Praise good behaviour in front of siblings in your ‘classroom’ and treat your child with special certificates as well or other prompts like sticker charts, or the possibility to collect team points to get a rewarded.


How do we deal with unacceptable behaviour?

Sad NaomiMclaughlan

In the case of unacceptable behaviour there have to be sanctions in place and your child or children should be aware of them.
At the end of the lesson speak to your child, which can mean that the child loses some of his/her free time. In some cases a detention / extra work can be given, for example if the child has not done his/her work or has repeatedly disturbed the lesson.
If normal systems are not successful an Individual Behaviour Plan (IBP) could be a way to monitor and evaluate the situations and behaviours of your child. An easy way of drawing such a plan is to list negative behaviours over a period of time, then to think of reasons which might have caused the undesired behaviour and lastly to make a plan on how to address these behaviours appropriately.

The most important aspect though, is to communicate with your child on a regular basis that good behaviour is highly valued by yourself and therefore give more attention towards good behaviour then towards bad behaviour. This will automatically reinforce your child to behave him/herself better.


If you are not a homeschooler yet, why don’t you sign up for The Professional Home Educator Academy online training?

It will teach you everything you need to know to start home schooling your child or children!

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All the Best,

Naomi xxx

How to contribute to maintaining and analysing records of your Home-schooled child or children

Teach PHEAEven though as a home educator you are not legally obliged in the UK to keep records of your child’s progress or take tests, it might still be highly valuable for you and your children.

In other countries, like in some states of the US you do have to keep a log book / portfolio of your child’s home-school journey. Whether you decide to keep records or not, please regularly check with you local educational authority whether any requirements have changed, for example on an annual basis.

Records and tests do not have to be as stressful and formal like in mainstream schools and can be part of a regular routine without being as pressurising as usually for children in mainstream school provision.


By incorporating worksheets that you either design yourself or buy in form of test books etc. could become a part of your home-school structure, for example at the end of each month, or before you take a holiday- or term break several times a year.

During the lesson you can monitor your child or children by;

  • Observation,
  • designing tasks and tests
  • keeping work samples, portfolios and projects
  • use standardised tests books or print-outs (SAT’s, GCSE, A Levels)
  • take notes of incidents and monitor your child’s responses to activities and modify approaches accordingly
  • peer and self-assessment

You can then evaluate and analyse the progress. You can use your findings to designed follow-on lessons and provide focused support and feedback to your child or children.


Having written records can sometimes be helpful, if you either reintegrate your child back into the mainstream school system or if the local educational authority requests to see evidence of actual home education. Both instances might not be applicable to you at this point, but I believe being prepared might be best in any case.

And not to forget that your child or children might want to apply for an apprenticeship or at University one day and require some form of written portfolio of their past education.

Tell me NaomiMcLaughlan

If you are thinking of starting to home-educate your child or children, I invite you to visit the Professional Home Educator Academy, which is an outstanding online training programme, which gives you everything you need to create a successful homeschool environment.

All the Best,

Naomi

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