Welcome to the
Tri-State Homeschool Network

 We are a non-profit organization providing extra-curricular activities for homeschooled children and a friendship network for homeschooling parents.  We are currently headquartered in Newark, Delaware and serve about 400 families living in the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey including, but not limited too:

  • New Castle County, Delaware
  • Kent County, Delaware
  • Cecil County, Maryland
  • Delaware County, Pennsylvania
  • Chester County, Pennsylvania
  • Salem County, New Jersey

How to Plan Successful Homeschool Field Trips

Field trips allow children of all grade levels to get away from the classroom to learn in more exciting environments. Public and private schools plan a few trips throughout the year to supplement classroom lessons, but you have an advantage as a homeschooling family. You can plan more field trips throughout the year and tailor them to the interests and struggles of your child.

If your child struggles to understand a lesson, a field trip may provide a fresh perspective that helps them understand certain concepts. If your child has a passion for a particular subject, regular field trips will help them explore that subject in new ways. These trips allow children to escape the daily routine and venture out into the world, but they also give you fresh ideas for lesson plans, experiments, and classroom projects.

These trips are essential to the learning process, but they are also a lot of fun. It is one thing to read a book or do a project on a small scale at home. It is another thing entirely to see what those books are talking about in the real world and see those projects at work on a larger scale.

 

Trip Selection and Planning

Every trip you take should correlate to a lesson you are currently teaching. Research all cities within a reasonable distance from your home and make a list of all museums, state and national parks, aquariums, and galleries that may apply to your child’s studies now or in the future. As you develop new lesson plans for your child, add to this list.

Once you find a field trip idea that you want to pursue, the planning process begins:

  1. Plan lessons to be covered prior to the trip. This will introduce your child to basic information they need to fully comprehend what they see on the field trip.
  2. Plan an activity to be completed during the field trip or generate a list of questions for your child to answer during the trip. This keeps your child focused on what you want them to learn.
  3. Plan follow-up lessons to recap everything your child has learned in the classroom and on the trip.

Keep It Simple

Field trips do not have to be elaborate outings. A hike through a national forest and a picnic is one simple idea that can coordinate with a variety of lessons for all age groups if properly planned.

For instance, it may be important to select the most appropriate entrance into the national forest. There may be a reception center, museum, educational trail, or another feature only found in one area of the forest. It may also be important to visit at a particular time of year to coordinate with particular lessons.

Avoid cramming too much activity into one outing. It is better for your child to fully explore one location than to briefly visit three or four locations. Create activities that make the trip more entertaining. For instance, your child may go on a scavenger hunt when you visit a museum. You may have to visit the museum ahead of time, but you can make a list of items to be found in the museum and allow your child to check off the list during the field trip. Your follow-up lesson may hit on the importance of each item on the list.

Share Your Ideas… and Win!

Share your most successful homeschool field trips for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. You receive one entry into the gift card contest just for sharing the details of a field trip you have planned for your child. Share up to four pictures of your field trip and you will earn one additional contest entry per picture.

Homeschooling Your Child With a Learning Disability

Making the decision to home school your child is not the easiest decision at the best of times, but what about when the weight of your decision is compounded by the fact that your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability? Firstly, do not despair that your child has been ‘categorised’ as having a learning disability. This may or may not be correct. It may simply be that the classroom that the child is in follows a teaching style not optimal for your child’s learning style. If this is the case, then more personalised and focused attention may yield very different results.

Even if your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability by more than one professional, you must remind yourself that this label should only be used as a tool, rather than an excuse. If categorising or labeling your child does not produce improved results, or worse, your child’s ability seems to deteriorate even further, then what use is this label?

Homeschooling is an ideal environment to provide the sort of one-on-one attention that may be required for your child to thrive academically, whether learning new things is a challenge for them or not. The important thing is to focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t do. And, if your child has some acute difficulties, educating your child at home does not necessarily limit your resources. Acute learning difficulties may need particular strategies to overcome hurdles, so your child’s facilitation may require that you learn some of these strategies from a professional, and continue to employ them from home. Remember, even at a school specially catering to ‘special needs’ children, you will not have the time and resources to give your child the attention that you can.

 

If your child has an acute learning disability, you may need to contact your local General Medical Practitioner for details on what resources are available locally. It is best to at least be aware of what’s available, even before you need them!

It is important to focus on your child throughout his/her education – never the disability or perceived disability itself. While your child may have some more challenges on the educational pathway, it is important that the focus stays where it belongs. The focus is the outcome to be achieved, or the concept to be mastered, rather than the difficulties met along the way. Whatever it is you focus on becomes bigger, so ensure that it is the destination rather than the bumps along the road.

Focusing on the disability itself also practically ensures that the child will not achieve as highly as they are capable. A learning disability is a challenge to be managed rather than an excuse for not achieving. If your child gives their disability too much consideration, it will become an anchor that drags them and may become an excuse to not even try.

Remember, even though as a homeschool parent you are responsible for your child’s education, kids are kids. Sometimes, their attention and behaviour will fluctuate. This is normal and, what’s more, I suggest that sometimes you just go with it rather than trying to fight it. When your child is being extremely uncooperative, this may be your sign to take a break, step back, change gears, and focus on something else. Sometimes a change of subject will suffice. At other times you may need to take a break, have a snack or better yet, go out and do something fun.

Keep in mind, too, that if you are frustrated, your child will pick up on that frustration. Relax, keep things light, and calm. Stress inhibits the learning of new concepts.

Learning is fun, even with a child with learning challenges. By taking responsibility for their education, you are doing the best you can for your child.

Homeschooling Tip – Know Your Child’s Learning Style

If you want to be an effective homeschooler, you must know your child’s learning style. What is her preferred method for grasping information? Most people use a combination of styles but have a decided predilection for one. There are three basic learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic or physical. Adjusting your style of teaching to her style of learning will greatly enhance the homeschooling experience for both of you. So, let’s explore these styles.
 

 
An auditory learner is one who learns best by hearing. She does well in a lecture class or by listening to audiobooks. It is not unusual to hear her repeating something out loud when she is trying to memorize the information. This type of learner is usually good at linguistics. She picks up foreign languages easily, and when speaking with people who have accents, she may subconsciously begin speaking with that accent. My wife has to warn our foreign friends that my daughter and I are not trying to mimic them. We can’t help ourselves. Some auditory learners insist on having music in the background while they are studying. It helps them focus. Ironically, others demand to complete quiet. Any sound that does not pertain to what they are studying is a distraction. Does your child frequently break out in song? Does she make up a melody in order to memorize a poem? When the light bulb turns on in her head, does she say, “I hear what you mean.”? If so, she is probably an auditory learner.

A visual learner is easier to recognize. She prefers reading over being read to. You will often find her drawing or coloring. List making and doodling are common pastimes. It will take her a while to understand a lecture, so putting an outline or notes on the board would be a great help to her. Try to avoid oral testing. She will do better with writing essays or drawing maps. She will be a meticulous note-taker. Her notes will be complete with underlining, color coding, charts, and diagrams. Do not be surprised when you discover her fashion consciousness. This applies to boys, too. If you have more than one child, the quiet one is more likely to be a visual learner. Her light bulb response would be, “I see where you are coming from.”

Kinesthetic learning, or learning by doing, is the most prominent style found in young children. This is due in part to their lack of development. As your children grow, the one that cannot sit still is the kinesthetic learner. She has to experience things and will be bored to death by lectures. She will be your athletic child, always on the go. Spelling and handwriting – forget about it. Give her a nice lab course any day. She will prefer adventure books and movies over the classics. Having her build a diorama depicting a scene from a book will benefit her more than writing a book report. Field trips are one of your best tools for teaching your kinesthetic learner. Most importantly, allow her to move around, and give her breaks throughout the day. With our son, we would occasionally stop lessons and go to the park for an hour to let him burn off some of his neverending energy. Light bulb moment: “I’m getting a handle on this subject.”

It is easy to see the usefulness of adapting your teaching to the child’s style of learning. To not do so would result in a long, difficult, and frustrating school year. You will actually find it refreshing to be able to use different teaching methods for each of your children. It will eliminate monotony. Have fun, and enjoy your kids!

Why Parent’s Homeschool Their Kids

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