Letters of intent are filed. Groups are meeting again. Online communities are abuzz. Homeschooling has definitely started for the autumn. As many programs are now being organized and beginning, and as someone who has attended and run many a program, I would like to offer some advice for homeschoolers who attend programs.
- Don't assume the instructor is being paid. I faced this with my own storytelling group. There were many parents who assumed the library was paying me, so they didn't take it seriously. If an instructor is giving you the benefit of their knowledge and experience, be grateful and supportive. How? Keep reading...
- Get to the program on time. This seems like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said. If you are late, you are cheating families who arrived on time. You also set a bad precedent if the instructor decides to wait for latecomers. Why come on time if the program is going to start ten minutes late to accommodate late arrivals? Even if the program starts on time, any late arrival is a disruption to the group. It's very easy to lose attention and time is wasted getting everyone refocused. If you are chronically late, perhaps it is best to rethink whether this is an ideal program for your family.
- Pay for programs on time. I don't run many paid programs for homeschoolers anymore because I hate dealing with money issues. I have seen programs get cancelled because too many people were late paying for their family. I have also had to make up the difference to pay an instructor when someone in the group didn't pay on time.
- Make sure your child is paying attention. Remove them if they are disruptive.
- Model good behavior. I understand the need to socialize with other adults, but the instructor is not there to babysit your child. If you need to talk with your friends, take it away from the group (preferably in another room.) If you are asked to prepare your child for the program in any way, do so. I can't express how hard it is to run a class on storytelling when no one has any stories to tell. If you do the extra work the instructor requests, it makes for a much more rewarding and enriching experience.