Making the decision to homeschool is a life-changing one. But it’s a decision that will make a lasting impact on your child and family. If you’re new to homeschooling, you may feel anxious or intimidated by what’s in store. And we’d be lying if we told you that homeschooling is a walk in the park. It takes effort, commitment, and work–but the end result is so worth it. And we’re going to tell you why in our three-part blog series about homeschooling elementary, middle school, and high school students. We’ll also share our knowledge on the importance of learning styles, what homeschooling requires from you as a parent, and how Bridgeway Academy makes the perfect homeschool partner.
Why Learning Styles Are So Important
Do you know your child’s learning style? Most parents probably have a vague idea of how their kiddo learns best–whether it’s by listening, observing, or even touching and feeling. With elementary school students, especially younger ones, it can be challenging determining how they learn best since they’re so new to learning to begin with. But we make it easy. More on that in a moment.
Let’s take a quick look at specific learning styles and what they mean.
- Visual learning: Visual learners are insightful and sensitive to the needs of others. Many visual learners ultimately understand the solution, but they likely struggle or get frustrated with the steps necessary to get there. They also tend to rely on the right hemisphere — the problem-solving part of the brain — and are charged and ready to go when the material is new and interesting, challenging, or funny.
- Auditory learning: Auditory learners are expressive and able to communicate well with others. They tend to retain information more thoroughly when the information is reinforced through sound, and they learn best through lectures, discussions, and listening to themselves process information. They tend to be left-hemispheric-dominant and are, therefore, verbal, sequential, analytic, and time-oriented.
- Kinesthetic learning: Kinesthetic learners are sensitive and very aware of feelings. They are movers and shakers, learners who need their bodies to be in action in order to learn and master skills. Provide opportunities for them to touch, sort, build, take things apart, or simply move while learning. They connect well with learning that involves emotions, imitation, role-playing, and field trips.
Now that you know the three learning styles, let’s look at why they’re so important for elementary school learners. Go back in time 15, 20 (or in my case, 30-plus) years and try to remember yourself sitting in a classroom during school. Odds are there were many lessons or subjects that you simply tuned out, didn’t understand, or caused major frustration. For me, it was any type of math. For others, it might be grammar or science.
As you’re picturing yourself struggling in that classroom, pause for a moment to wonder…
- Did your teacher take the time to explain something to you (or someone else) individually?
- Did your teacher stop class in order for you to catch up because you were slower to process the information than other students?
- Did you have any friends or notice other classmates in a similar situation as you?
The answers to these questions were likely: no, no way, and absolutely. And that’s because most traditional brick-and-mortar schools teach one way to an entire classroom of students who learn in different ways. This means that some students will get it, but many will not. And, unfortunately, since states require teachers to get through a certain amount of curriculum each year, class will not pause to allow those struggling students to catch up.
This cookie-cutter method of instruction can lead to lack of comprehension, students who fall behind in their studies, and frustration and even apathy toward school. What traditional schools fail to take into account is that everyone learns differently, and what works for one child might not work for another. The thing is, every student in those classrooms possesses the intelligence to excel in school–it’s just a matter of understanding learning style and teaching the material accordingly.
Homeschooling (especially with Bridgeway Academy) allows you the freedom and flexibility to tailor your child’s studies to the way they learn best. And that’s so important when homeschooling elementary school students–teaching them to their preferred way of learning at an early age deepens the learning experience, which makes learning (and school) fun. And when kids have fun learning, they tend to enjoy it throughout their lives.
Before you begin homeschooling with Bridgeway Academy, we make sure every parent and student takes a Learning Style Assessment. Why? Because when parents know their child’s learning style, you can choose a curriculum that’s specifically designed for that learning style, and you can personalize your instruction in the same manner. Our Learning Style Assessments identify:
- Learning style, personality style, and ideal learning environment for the whole family.
- Insights on what works, what doesn’t, the potential struggles, and the incredible strengths inherent in each different learning and personality style.
- The best ways to interact with your child based on both of your personality styles.
Understanding, knowing, and teaching to your child’s learning style starting in elementary school is an impactful way to spark their lifelong love of learning.
The Parent Commitment
Many new homeschooling parents ask about the level of commitment they need to provide when instructing their children. It really depends on the child’s age, the type of instruction they’ll be receiving, and your schedule.
Younger learners, such as elementary school students, obviously require more time, attention, and instruction during their homeschool day. You’ll need to work more closely with kids in kindergarten through 3rd or 4th grade. Once they reach that point, you’ll likely feel more comfortable having them work on their own during the course of the day–which may provide you with a few moments of quiet and solitude (bonus!).
How you homeschool your child will also determine the time you need to put into actual instruction. For example, self-paced online courses won’t require a major time commitment from you; you’ll simply need to be available if your child has any questions as they go through their lessons on the computer. More hands-on learning that involves textbooks and printed materials will likely increase your involvement during the school day, as your child will need instruction and guidance from you in order to get through lessons and work on assignments.
And when there are assignments and assessments, there is grading and report cards. The good news? If you homeschool with one of Bridgeway Academy’s Total Care elementary programs, you don’t have to worry about grading or instructor’s guides or teaching materials because we take care of it for you.
Your level of commitment will also come down to your lifestyle. Homeschooling means you don’t have to conduct an 8:00 am to 3:00 pm school day. You can have school from 10 to 12, take a two-hour break, then pick it back up again from 2 to 4. Or you can begin your school day at 6:00 pm! Homeschooling offers the flexibility of teaching and learning when it works best for you and your family.
So, to sum up, yes, you should expect a certain level of commitment as a homeschooling parent–especially if you have a younger child. But once you start teaching and you see them grasping it all and loving school, you’ll realize that any time commitment is truly worth it.
Bridgeway’s Total Care Blended and Live Blended Programs – Perfect for Elementary Students
Bridgeway Academy offers the perfect homeschooling options for elementary school students. Our Total Care Blended and Total Care Live Blended programs provide the ideal combination of both hands-on textbook learning and online learning. Total Care Blended mixes the best elements of online learning with the proven benefits of pencil-and-paper activities to increase engagement and keep kids busy with experiments and other activities.
Total Care Live Blended, for grades 1 through 5, offers a similar online/textbook experience, but with the extra benefit of live, teacher-led learning added to the mix. With this program, you and your student enjoy all the advantages of Total Care Blended, plus a live classroom experience that offers interaction with a qualified teacher, collaboration with other students in a virtual classroom environment, and scheduled “meet-up time” at the end of each week for lab presentations, virtual field trips, and more!
Here’s the best part! Both programs include:
- Accreditation that is recognized around the world
- Unlimited support from expert homeschool advisors who are with you every step of the way
- A complete year of record-keeping, including report cards, transcripts, permanent records, honor roll, and that valued diploma upon graduation.
Yes, homeschooling an elementary school student can be challenging. But with the right tools and support (not to mention an expert homeschool partner like Bridgeway Academy), your entire family will truly appreciate the advantages homeschooling provides, and you’ll love every single step of the journey.
Call Bridgeway Academy today at (800) 863-1474 to speak with a homeschool expert about our elementary school options.