Routine is key for kids and parents new to home-based learning, expert says

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CHICAGO — Last year there were approximately 2.5 million children homeschooled in the US. Right now, every American enrolled from pre-kindergarten through their post-doctorate is getting a version of home-based education.

Dr. Brian Ray, an expert on home-based education said parents should try and think of homeschooling as a blessing not a curse.

“In a homeschool setting you get to do what school teachers only dream of getting to do,” he said.

Dr. Ray is a former teacher and professor of education. Homeschooling is his specialty. Nowadays, with kids at home and parents playing the role of substitute teacher, he suggests tailor-making it to work for your kids.

“One of the great advantages of homeschooling is customizing it for your children. Each of our kids have different strengths, weaknesses, dreams,” said Dr. Ray.

He said you and your kids need to get a good night sleep and start your day with a routine: breakfast, chores, exercise, then hit the books. The toughest subjects whenever is sharpest and save the fun and creative stuff for the afternoon.

And always make time for reading.

Dr. Ray maintains what takes 6-7 hours plus homework in a classroom setting suddenly becomes more efficient when done at home.

“Now there are fewer distractions, less paperwork. Maybe parents will realize they can accomplish in 2-4 hours what would have taken all day long in a school to accomplish,” said Dr. Ray.

He believes one of the problems with a school-based education is the stress of tests and the rigorous schedules that go with it.

Dr. Ray also suggested carving out reading time for all of your children. Let them choose the book. And everyone could write more: letters to neighbors, grandparents, even members of congress.

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