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Ten Strategies for Success

By Maggie Hogan

Maggie Hogan is a motivational speaker and co-author of The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide,  Gifted Children at Home, and other resource books.  She and her husband, Bob, have been home schooling their boys since 1991.  Involved in local, state, and national home schooling issues, they both serve on boards of home education organizations in Delaware.  They are also owners of Bright Ideas Press, a home school company dedicated to bringing the best practical, fun and affordable material to the home school market.

As you plan for and begin your new school year, consider implementing some of the following steps.  They really can lead to a productive school year.

  1. Be Logical. Use history as your cornerstone.  Work chronologically.  Start where you are and work forward.  Or go back to the beginning and progress onward.  It’s easy to tie in literature and geography (and often art and music) with history.

  2. Invest. Select interesting resources that both you and the kids will enjoy.  Buy kits, game, costumes, etc. for Christmas and birthday presents.   Give the grandparents a wish list. Purchase items that have tremendous appeal and/or long-term value.

  3. Catch-up. Overwhelmed?  Feel like you are falling behind? Take an entire day or more and use it to catch up in one subject.  You can cover an amazing amount of territory in a single day.  Have a special pizza and school night if you and your kids work well in the evening hours.  Then camp out in the school room and play favorite game when everyone’s work is completed.

  4. Delegate. Plan on-going jobs they can do independently.  Use non-school time to train them properly in their chores.

  5. The Big Picture. Keep an on-going map and timeline visible for a constant reminder of where and what your are studying.

  6. Notebooking. Have students keep what they are learning in a notebook.

  7. Get Ahead. Grab an hour or more when you and the kids are feeling on top of things and intentionally get ahead in something.  It provides a great source of accomplishment and is like putting money in a savings bank.  You’ll really appreciate it when you need to “draw” on the time you saved.

  8. Home School Holidays. Take a break for a week or two when needed.  Teacher Planning Days are allowed, even recommended!  Make your own special family holidays and keep them.

  9. Solicit Wise Counsel. Enlist the support of your husband, friend, mentor, senior at church, or someone else to encourage you and/or to be a resource for information and ideas.

  10. Reality Check! Periodically look up from the books and ask questions about your home school.  Are we learning anything?  Are we enjoying the process or getting burned out?  Are we displaying Christ-like attitudes? Stop and pray, then re-evaluate!  Now, with all that said, how do I know if our home school succeeded this year?  Did my children learn?  Do they want to learn more?  Was God honored in our home?

Yes?  Then we had a successful year!