Homeschooling is something that an increasing number of parents are doing around the world. A number of factors combine to make this happen. Irrespective of these, homeschooling, if done in a positive and upbeat manner, is accepted to be a good thing that children can benefit from. Several things are extremely important to successful homeschooling, and playtime is one of them.
Why is Play Important?
We can liken homeschooling to working from home. People love working from home, but often find it difficult to escape the feeling that they are always in the office.
Swap the word office for classroom, and you will start to understand the importance of play.
Of course, homeschooling can go in the other direction, too, where the feeling of being at home is very relaxing and leads to not a lot being done. The first scenario is by far the more regular, however, so it is crucial that your child gets the downtime they need in order to play with their toys and have the perfect balance between home and school.
Critics of homeschooling will often point to the fact that children following this path get less interaction with peer groups than those who attend a traditional school. It is impossible to argue against that point, however it can easily be negated if the homeschooling process is managed correctly.
Playtime is one of the biggest opportunities for children to develop their social and emotional skills, especially if they are playing with a specific type of you that promotes these, such as dolls for girls that they have to care for and look after. By doing this, children who are homeschooled can learn about empathy, emotion, dealing with feelings, and develop at their own pace around these.
If anything, homeschooling becomes a benefit in this sense, because the child is free of pressure to keep up and can develop at their own pace, both emotionally and academically. This is a big problem schools around the world struggle to deal with, particularly when they have a group of children all at different developmental stages.
Although we have been clear on the benefits of play, they will be felt a lot clearer if the parents doing the homeschooling have made a conscious decision to get involved with playtime, too.
When this happens, the danger of these benefits plateauing can recede. After all, while a child might have a vivid imagination, it is only going to stretch as far as the things they have been able to discover themselves. Parents can introduce new ideas and problems at playtime, enabling children to further enrich and challenge themselves to want to learn more.
Simply saying “playtime” and sending a child off to play alone will have some benefits, but nothing like as many as this approach will.
Getting it Right
Homeschooling is a challenge. However, by being clever and knowing how to use and get involved with play during the process, parents and children everywhere will have a much happier experience that will bring huge benefits on both sides.
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Karen is interested in child development and is currently considering whether homeschooling her own children is going to be worthwhile.