What do you do when homeschool laws force you to teach boring subjects? Get tips for checking boxes without your kids checking out mentally.
One of the biggest homeschooling pros is the fact that we can teach what we want how we want to teach it.
Depending on where you homeschool, your state may dictate some of what you have to include in your homeschool. And, if you have a college-bound teen, admissions requirements may play a role in course planning.
So, what happens when you have to teach something that is less-than-appealing to your student? How do you satisfy state regulations or college expectations without boring your kids?
I’ve got some tips for checking boxes without your kid checking out.
Capitalize on Your Student’s Interests
When the requirements aren’t specific, capitalize on your student’s interests. Let’s say, for example, that your state requires three high school science credits. Just because biology, chemistry, and physics are typical courses doesn’t mean that’s what you have to teach in your homeschool. Consider alternatives such as marine biology, zoology, astronomy, meteorology, forensics, earth science, or geology.
Maybe your state requires two social studies credits. Often U.S. history is needed, but the other credit doesn’t have to be world history. Perhaps your student would be more interested in European or British history, geography, or World Wars. Sometimes a course like psychology will satisfy the social studies requirement.
Seek Creative Ways to Satisfy Requirements
States or colleges may mandate what you have to teach in your homeschool, but not how you teach it. Look for creative, textbook-free solutions for teaching or supplementing. Try:
- Videos – Documentaries, self-paced courses, streaming services, and sites such as YouTube and Khan Academy are good choices.
- Online courses
- Community or continuing education classes
- Field trips
- Local clubs and organizations such as Toastmasters
- Volunteer and internships opportunities
You might also keep an eye out at local colleges or libraries for lectures and events that are open to the public.
When the kids did Apologia’s Constitutional Literacy course, we were afraid it might be kind of, well, boring. (It wasn’t!) I theorized that a boring class would be a lot more fun with friends. So, we started a mini-co-op with Josh’s and Megan’s BFFs.
Even though it turned out that the course wasn’t boring at all, it was a lot more fun with friends. And, we all looked forward to our weekly Friday gathering.
Consider meeting weekly (or more often) with a group of friends for science labs, foreign language, or history projects. You might even want to let your student practice a new language daily with a friend over Skype or FaceTime.
Take Advantage of the Way Your Student Learns
Think about the ways your child prefers to take in new information and work with that as much as possible. Curriculum vendors such as Apologia offer packages with a textbook, student notebook, audio CD, and DVD. So many options make it easy to teach your student whether he prefers an auditory, kinesthetic, visual, or hands-on approach to learning.
An auditory learner may prefer to listen to a CD while doing a quiet activity like drawing, knitting, or building with LEGOs. My oldest carries her knitting everywhere – even to movies. While I would find that distracting, she pays attention better when she keeps her hands occupied.
A visual learner may find it helpful to highlight, color-code, or illustrate text as she reads. Those doodles in the textbook that drive you batty might be the key to understanding for your student.
Don’t be afraid to tweak homeschool curriculum to make it work better for your family.
Let’s face it – some courses are probably going to be boring no matter what you do. But, most of the time, with a little creativity, we can find more engaging, thought-provoking ways to cover the information our kids need to know.