Why Homeschooled Students Need Structure
Structure originates from the Latin word structura which means "a fitting together or building." When students work on assignments in a homeschool environment, it is important to have a set of rules. Research suggests that a student’s learning abilities improve in a structured environment. If students follow the schedule and stay productive, they may accomplish more within a smaller window of time.
Rule 1: Set a desk in the open area. This will allow your student to be visible while you do your own work. When parents and children work simultaneously, it instills good habits in them. Avoid setting your student’s desk in their bedroom—a room designated for rest. Also, continually checking in on your student to see if they are staying on task might be frustrating for everyone involved. In an open area, you have more control over being sure your child is on task.
Rule 2: Minimize outside noise while your student is working on school assignments. The brain functions best when it concentrates on one task at a time. Students may use technology as a tool with your permission when school work is being done. However, some limits are necessary: 20 minutes for an elementary school student and no more than an hour for a teenager. As parents, it’s your responsibility to help your child to develop the needed skills for life.
Rule 3: Have a schedule in place. Let your student start with easy assignments first, such as their Bible lesson, then English, math, history, and science. Why is science recommended as the last subject to work on? Science has some more complex projects, so parental help might be needed. Also, science projects might be time-consuming, which is why it is important to finish other subjects for the day first. Be sure to put short breaks between lessons in your child’s schedule and a longer break after all school assignments are completed. You can walk together around the neighborhood, go to a nearby park with a playground or sports equipment, or participate in another planned activity.
Rule 4: Plan your child’s friends’ visits on weekends. Though it is important for your child to have friends, they should not bring a distraction while your child should be working; playtime can be arranged after schoolwork is done for the day. Plan your weekends ahead of time. Every season has its own adventures. Based on your budget, you may visit nearby farms, go hiking, set a family movie time, or visit your child’s grandparents if they live close by. Church attendance is important as well since it supports your child’s spiritual well-being; it will also allow your children an opportunity to connect with others in Sunday school or youth ministry.
Rule 5: Proper sleep is crucial for your child’s development. A minimum of 8 to 9 hours of sleep is needed for healthy brain function. The ideal time for an elementary school student to go to bed is between 8 and 9 pm, and for teenagers it is around 10 pm. Waking up before 8 am is recommended, as the brain functions best in the morning.
Rule 6: Healthy diet. We are what we eat, say nutritionists. Be sure that your child has enough vegetables and fruits, and it’s best to try to limit sugary items. Ask your child to help with dinner preparation. Family time around the dinner table is great for socializing and sharing what happened throughout the day. Children learn by example. Be a good example to your child in how you act and eat.
Rules 7: Start and end your day with a prayer. Spiritual health is vital for well-being for parents and children. Daily Bible reading will benefit your family as you seek together to honor Christ in your every word and deed.
I hope that these seven simple reminders will help you with structuring your child’s education in a home setting.