When homeschooling, not all of the learning happens at home. But a lot of it does. That means homeschoolers overall tend to spend more time at home than other families. Which is a good thing. Usually.
With so much togetherness comes more opportunities for learning, true. But it can also mean more time for children to make mistakes, as well. Having a good set of house rules provides a framework for addressing behavioral matters at home. House rules don’t just make family time more enjoyable, but they are useful for communicating expectations and reinforcing what you value overall.
Families each handle house rules a little differently. Some parents write them down on paper and hang them in a prominent location for all to see. Others adopt a set of rules and issue verbal reminders whenever rules need to be invoked. Still others list not just the rules, but the consequences for breaking, and the rewards for meeting them as well. Rules may look like lists, charts, detailed explanations, or anything at all — whatever works.
For obvious reasons, customized house rules are best. However, consumers may also purchase rules that have been published specifically for this purpose, and tweak them just a little bit to make them fit.
Whatever the method, house rules should be explained in advance, discussed as a group, and reviewed often as a family. Never assume that any child — no matter how old or how intelligent that child may be – understands what is meant by each particular rule. Using examples and demonstrating house rules through role-playing are two very effective ways to communicate house rules, but use whatever means are needed to fully explain the rules so that nothing is left to doubt when a particular behavior occurs and needs to be addressed.
Finally, revisit and revise house rules every so often. As children grow and learn, though old behaviors may be put to rest, new ones may unexpectedly appear. Many a parent has begun with a short list of rules, only to realize the list seems to grow longer and longer each year as first children grow and additional children are added to the family. While there are benefits to keeping the list short, covering all of the bases is important, too.
For useful tips about house rules, visit the following articles to help get started, being sure to locate plenty of additional resources if these do not match your lifestyle or personal philosophy. These links have been selected solely to provide examples and a variety of perspectives for those just beginning to develop house rules:
[Photo: Free Digital]