Expert Advice Before Your First Time Homeschooling

Welcome to the #365Firsts Podcast and the Expert Advice Before Your First Time Series. The show aims to encourage, prepare, and inspire you to do things you’ve never done before and complete your #365FirstsChallenge list. 

In each episode of this series, we give you tips and advice to set you up for success, for specific firsts and new experiences. The guests and topics are as varied as the options and possibilities of new experiences. 

Whether you’re trying to learn a new skill, improve your health and happiness, work on your self-development, add excitement and adventure to your life, or simply have first times, you’re going to love our podcast.

In This Episode

As a global community right now, we are in uncertain times. The current virus pandemic is affecting all of us in one way or another, people all across the world are being forced to radically change their routines and habits. Schools are closing, workplaces are shifting home, and social distancing is being enforced.

Due to all these factors, we’ve decided to change our release schedule to make sure that we’re putting out the most relevant and helpful pieces of content for you. While we realize our lives are changing, we’re big believers in trying to make the best of any and every situation and to help you do the same.

These are unprecedented times to get closer with your family, learn new things, and discover more about yourself.

For many parents, with all the school closings, you are finding yourself having to homeschool your kids for the first time without having been given time to prepare and little to no guidance and direction on how to do properly.

That’s why we went out and found a homeschooling expert for you! Today, we’re lucky to have been joined by Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, a bonafide homeschooling expert who has published more than 30 books on the subject.

The Guest Expert

Our guest expert today, Lee Binz, is an expert in homeschooling, and is known as the HomeScholar. She homeschooled her own two sons, along with her husband, from elementary school to high school, and both of them received full scholarships to their first choice universities. 

Lee and her husband made the decision to homeschool when the 9/11 tragedy occurred, and found it to be a fulfilling life decision for their whole family. 

Her mission is to equip parents with the tools that they need to successfully bring their children through high school successfully, using her unique transcript solutions. She runs a monthly newsletter to encourage, support and inspire people who school their children from home, and aims to educate new homeschoolers wherever possible.

Her intriguing experiences in this field and her genuine love for education made her the perfect choice of expert guest to discuss this topic with on the show today. 

What You Need To Know About Homeschooling For The First Time

Lee started off the episode by discussing the original challenges she faced when homeschooling her two boys (now in their 30s), who she began to homeschool starting from 3rd and 5th grade. She started homeschooling to meet her children’s academic requirements head on, and to protect them from negative environments in school.

Lee noted that homeschooling is incredibly portable, and that it can be taken anywhere, which is why so many families in the military or missionary families choose to take part in it.

Schooling is not normal for anyone right now

Lee really wanted to highlight the current global environment and acknowledg that she doesn’t know any of her homeschooling peers who are simply going on as normal so all schooling is interrupted right now. It’s an international crisis, after all, and Lee emphasized the importance of staying calm and making time to process what’s happening and attending to your and your children’s psychical and mental health is foremost.

First Rule of Homeschooling

When it comes to starting off with homeschooling, one of Lee’s main pieces of advice was to simply know that you are in the best position to educate your child. Schools care about children to a degree, of course, but you love your child and know them intrinsically. Lee noted that your love and invested interest in the success of your child is the primary reason why homeschooling is ideal and most beneficial for children.

Lee listed statistics that show that homeschoolers tend to perform better on tests than public school students. Parents care deeply about their children being successful and fulfilled academically, so they are more inclined to encourage hard work and well, nag, when necessary.  

How to Homeschool

Parents may worry about not knowing how to teach, but Lee noted that teachers go to college to teach groups of children. Teachers learn how to control groups, grade tests and keep students in line. Lee advised parents to think of homeschooling as more of a tutoring exercise, and less of an organized series of lectures.  If you come from a public school background, you’ll need to forget what it was like for you to create what’s right for you and your child.

Something great Lee brought up in this episode is that homeschooling is very accessible. It doesn’t matter what education the parent has, or where they might be from. A parent with a high school degree can homeschool his or her child just as well as a parent with a PHD. Homeschooling can be incredibly fulfilling, no matter what the parent has experienced in their lifetime.

Lee simplified the definition of education and linked directly to literacy e.g. reading, writing and math. She encouraged parents to primarily focus on those areas, and to experiment with using techniques like journal writing. This can be a great way to start planning out a curriculum, and Lee acknowledged that up to high school years, parents don’t even have to worry about specifically finishing up grade years or textbooks. 

Lee introduced us the fact that homeschool material is designed to teach you how to teach it. That’s why you can teach anything and you don’t need to speak Spanish to teach Spanish. Lee gave the example of Latin, she taught her children three years of Latin. Her sons also learned calculus, although, she still can’t do it to this day. There are resources available and many different ways to ensure your child will learn everything he or she needs to know. To include running a science lab from home!

A Typical Homeschool Day

Lee discussed her own methods with homeschooling. She treated the process more as a project manager, starting off with a morning meeting, to touch base on all of the subjects, review assignments, give tasks for the day and to note important vocabulary. Lee advised people to put weak areas first – saying that children who struggle with math, for example, should study it first.

Don’t feel obliged to set out a particular time or day length when planning out your curriculum. Lee’s ‘project manager’ approach to teaching involves setting tasks and giving particular jobs, instead of saying ‘study this for 10 hours’, like they might do in a public school. This is a great way of doing it as it means so the children focus on the quality of the overall work, and not time requirement.

Do Check your Homeschool State Laws

Lee advised people who are looking to homeschool to start off by looking up their local state public laws about homeschooling. Public school law is constantly changing, but state homeschool law tends to stay the same. If you’re a homeschool family, you don’t necessarily have to teach your children in the same way as everybody else. You can choose the learning style that fits your child the best, instead of just the cookie cutter public school approach.

And What About Socializing…

Lee made an interesting point that when homeschooled kids actually spend time with other kids, it is in fact in a socializing and meaningful way and environment. Additionally, when it comes to socializing, Lee noted the focus should be learning positive qualities like respect and managing healthy relationships. Many homeschoolers find children can learn how to socialize in more mature ways, instead of absorbing qualities from other children.

Limit the Use of Technology

Dealing with technology and distractions can be difficult when homeschooling, especially at first. Lee advised parents to focus on more manual techniques, like studying from books or using pen and paper to take notes. She did acknowledge that it can be helpful in moderation, but it can also be distracting – and to manage this appropriately. 

High School in Greater Details

When it comes to high school years, Lee advised parents should try to take continuous education classes for themselves, wherever possible. Additionally, she shared that preparing a child for college is important regardless of their personal plans – some children may want to go to college immediately, some may go in a year and some may go in 10 years so they should be homeschooled to have a transcript to help them get into college. The important areas of focus Lee noted for college prep are;

  • 4 years of English (Literature and composition)
  • 3 or 4years of math
  • 3 or 4 years of social studies (American history, world history, economics and government classes)
  • 3 years of science (with at least one lab)
  • 2 to 4 years of foreign language
  • 2 years of P.E.
  • 1 year of fine art (music, art, theater or dance) 
  • Electives (these can be anything that a homeschool student wants to do)

These focuses are a great way to plan out high school courses, and to make sure a child is prepared for college as well as possible. 

Get In Touch With Lee

If you want to learn more about Lee’s work or ask her any questions, we’re sure she would be more than happy to hear from you. Her book ‘Homeschool Curriculum That’s Effective and Fun’ is available on Amazon here, and it’s a great read. 

Social Media

Website
Blog
Facebook
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Additional Reading and Resources From Lee

Homeschool Statistics Prove Success

Know Your State Homeschool Law

Free Ebook: How to Be a Better Home Educator

How To Reach Us

We’re always trying to create the best content for our community wherever possible, so we’d love to hear what you think about our work. If there’s something that you want to tell us about the show, please get in touch with us today. 

Is there something in particular that you want advice on? Are there things that you think we could be doing better as a team? Please feel free to get in touch with a member of our team at contact@365firstschallenge.com today.

What’s Coming Up Next Time?

New episodes of Expert Advice Before Your First Time are released every Thursday, and we’ve got a wonderful roster of guests lined up to give you more expert advice. 

On the 2nd of April, we’ll be speaking to Naomi Beaty about writing a screenplay for the first time. After that on the 9th, we’ll be chatting to Nathan Hirsch to learn everything that you need to know about hiring a virtual assistant for the first time. 

You can listen and subscribe on Apple, Google, or Spotify. While you’re there – please leave a review if you can. It really does help us with our work, and every single review is appreciated .

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