By: Krystle Crossman
Kris Bales is a home-school mother of three. She began home-schooling in 2002 with her oldest child and said that she certainly made some mistakes along the way. Her children are now 16, 11, and 10 so she has come to learn what to do and what not to do when it comes to home-schooling. She has shared her experience on SimpleHomeSchool.net and tells about some of the biggest mistakes that she made when she was first starting out.
Her first mistake was thinking that home-schooling had to be like public schooling. She made her oldest say the Pledge of Allegiance every day. She had a schedule that was much like the one you would find in a school. After realizing that those were not things that she needed to do she felt that she had things under control. That is, until she began home-schooling the two younger children.
Bales thought that once her two youngest children were able to be home-schooled it would be easy. She thought that putting them all in one room and teaching them all at the same time was going to work well. Unfortunately she realized that she was the lone teacher with three kids who were on different grade levels. She tried having blocks where all of the kids would learn math and then in the next block they would move on to a different subject. She quickly realized that this would not work well. Each child needed help on different thing at the same time and she was having trouble giving them the individualized help that they needed.
A practice that she found was much easier was to have one child on a subject that she could work one-on-one with them on and then had the other two working on a subject that they could do independently such as reading a book for a writing assignment that they would do later. She also found that exercises in handwriting were useful at this point because the kids could sit and practice writing while she was helping another sibling with a more intensive subject. Once she implemented this learning system the kids all got the one-on-one help that they needed without anyone being neglected.