After attending a local gym recently and working with a personal trainer, it became apparent that there are several benefits from working with a fitness trainer that apply to homeschooling as well. Focusing on those common denominators in the form of comparison, what tips can you learn from a fitness trainer that will benefit your homeschool program? The core tenets of a training program include pushing yourself harder than you think you can go, keeping yourself accountable to an objective partner in your success, and overall strength and growth training. Focusing on the same vision for your homeschool program will allow you to take your educational program to a higher level and give your students skills that will serve them well in college and beyond.
Most students do not want to push themselves too hard, whether students in school or students in the gym; in fact some do not like to push at all. However, every homeschool student has had one experience or another in which they do very well on an assignment and gain a sense of pride from that work. The “surprise” from finding out that they can do more than they think they can, is a realization that you should be capitalizing upon in your homeschool program. Has your student surprised themselves in this way? Have they pushed beyond an expectation in their homeschooling? If so, be sure to serve as their trainer in education; be sure to emphasize the ability it took to accomplish that goal so that they can replicate that effort. A homeschool student who sees their ability to keep pushing higher will be a student who will learn to set higher goals.
Accountability is another benefit of taking on a fitness trainer, and that is also true for homeschoolers. Most people will fall off the treadmill, figuratively speaking, if they fail to take a partner in their fitness program, and likewise, so will homeschool students. Homeschoolers need to regularly see and have accountability partners in their education. That can come in the form of a parent, a homeschool coach, a friend, etc., but be sure that your student has someone to whom they are accountable with definable goals, measurements, and standards of expectation. Similarly, as the homeschool parent, you should have this type of partner as well.
Scheduling gym sessions causes a person to open up their schedule to make room for that gym time that is important for overall health, and likewise, homeschoolers need to ensure that their school schedule is given a top priority. Medical appointments, sporting practices, and extracurricular activities should be included in a homeschool program, but those events and activities need to be scheduled after the school work is given top priority, not the other way around. It should not be a problem to add in extra activities into a homeschool family’s life, but plan your work first; make it important to your day, and the primary focus and purpose in your homeschool training.
Taking the time to focus on your homeschool program from a personal training model, we can see that the effectiveness and health of your program will increase. Building solid standards for educational achievement, raising expectations beyond the comfortable, staying accountable to a coach, and prioritizing your activities will be skills that your students need to learn as well. Involve them in the planning and visioning of your homeschool goals and objectives. Allow your students to take ownership of their training in this way, and from that sense of responsibility, your students will gain new confidence in their strengths and abilities as homeschool students that can be applied to later learning.
Having the opportunity to push themselves while in middle school and high school, in order to see what they are capable of, while surrounded by a supportive accountability team of parents and advisors, will serve your homeschool student well. This “stretching” and “toning” of their academic muscles is exactly the type of unique gift that homeschool students can take advantage of, allowing for the individualized needs of each student and their distinctive abilities.
Set a high standard for your homeschool program; increase your expectations, and see where your students can perform – then raise the standard again!