Thursday, February 16, 2012

5 Ways Grandparents Can Help Homeschool Their Grandchildren

As parents we've probably imagined at some time what it would be like to be a grandparent. Well, that time has arrived for many of us and it is a wondrous experience. Children grow quickly and there just isn't enough time to teach them all there is to know about life or all you want them to know. As grandparents we have a duty to see our grandchildren grow up in a loving, nurturing, safe environment.

Today, however, there is one major difference to the educational aspect of raising children. It is the re-establishment of the parent and family as the primary source for imparting knowledge to the young. It is known today as homeschooling. Homeschooling is not new. It's been around a long time. For centuries children have been taught by their parents well into their young adult lives. Without going into the nitty gritty of the history of education, here are 5 ways the grandparents of today can help homeschool their grandchildren: 

1. Learn all there is to know about homeschooling. Research the pros and cons, the history of homeschooling, and absorb as much information on the subject as you can. If you haven't had the privilege of raising a homeschooled child yourself, you weren't submerged in the day to day nuances of this natural way of learning.  However, you did raise your own child and you developed a common sense approach to learning. In other words, you're wiser! Some good books on homeschooling to get you started are The Homeschooling Book of Answers and Homeschooling: The Early Years by Linda Dobson.

2. Set aside money in your budget for your grandchild's homeschooling. Do you presently donate money to worthy causes? Then make your grandchild's education one of them. Start a special fund and use it to purchase homeschool materials and books.  Use it for field trips or pay for music lessons your grandchild is taking. Earmark a few dollars of that fund to teach your grandchild about money and how to invest it. Some great books for teaching personal finance are Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Increase Your Financial IQ by Robert Kiyosaki.

3. Make your own home child friendly and a learning environment. Keep a ready supply of educational toys, books and materials on hand. Make them available at all times. Take some of your old hats, shoes, clothing or jewelry and create a dress-up box for your grandchild to enjoy. Put together a tool box for your grandchild so you can work on special projects together. Keep child size garden tools handy if you like to work outdoors or equipment for other outdoor activities. Plan at least one special educational experience each time your grandchild visits or you visit them, even if it's as simple as giving them a new book for their home library. 

4. Become a mentor for your grandchild. You are a wealth of information--cash in on it and share what you know. Your grandchild will think you're the smartest person in the world and love you for it. Learning needn't be drudgery so develop your own special way to impart your knowledge that is fun and meaningful. As an older adult you've lived a full life so far and hopefully you've learned many good lessons. Read to your grandchild or teach them how to garden, how to build a birdhouse or how to cook a favorite old recipe. Teach them skills they need to know to survive and thrive in this world.

5. Let your grandchild inherit their history from you. Share with them your knowledge, your experience and your love of their heritage. Tell them about their ancestors and let them know who these people were. Most children want to know where they came from, historically speaking. Did they have ancestors who migrated from another country? Do they resemble a great-great-great grandparent? Pass on to your grandchild the treasures you've kept in a trinket box all these years and tell them the stories behind each old photo, lock of hair, pocket watch or letter. That way, if they should inherit one of those items they'll know it's history and why it was worth keeping. Children love listening to stories, especially when you have a prop to go with it. Become their favorite storyteller. 

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