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A Father-To-Be’s Guide To Having A Baby

A Father-To-Be’s Guide To Having A Baby

If you have recently received the news that you are an expecting father, congratulations and welcome to the fraternity.  The nine month period packed with all of the excitement and anxiety that surrounds having a baby is a rite of passage.  Be careful though not to downplay the situation too much either.  Fatherhood is a job not to be taken lightly, and popular media doesn’t always portray the experience realistically.  As a father-to-be, here is one thing you should do, one thing you should be prepared for, and one thing you should avoid to reduce the stress before the big day.

One Thing You Should Do When Having A Baby

When having a baby, make every medical appointment a priority. The mother of the child will greatly appreciate the gesture, and my wife and I discovered on just about every occasion that we remembered different details of the appointment.  It was much easier to ensure we were both informed as things progressed.  Your attendance may adjust with later pregnancies, but if this is your first try to make each one.  If you cannot arrange to make every appointment, here are some highlights of which appointments may be of more paramount importance, from the perspective of medical professional.

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Tip: Write down your questions before you go to each appointment, especially if only one of you can make it.  For the most important appointment, the trip to the hospital, do everything you can to be ready.  As the mother-to-be begins packing like she is going on vacation for several weeks, it can become easy to make jest of the scene, and think all you might need is a toothbrush.  The truth is, you have no control over how long you may be in the hospital, or even necessarily when you go, and once you are there, you will find it difficult to step away for very long.  I brought one change of clothes, we ended up being in the hospital for 3 nights.  Lesson learned.

One Thing You Should Be Prepared For

A medical professional will probably say something to scare you at some point. This is not done intentionally but, as I quickly discovered in sharing my own experiences, seems to be quite common.  Mike Stanley and his wife were having a baby who’d been diagnosed with dwarfism prior to birth, and had just been cleared by a pediatric cardiologist for normal heart function, when another doctor came in following a skeletal ultrasound to deliver different news – “I have to be honest with you, your child has some very serious issues going on. But, you never know. He could surprise us and make it.” When he questioned the different report, the doctor turned to the sonogram tech to ask about the chest measurements. “He hadn’t even read the results of our ultrasound or echo that we had just driven 3 hours for,” said Stanley.

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Tip: Expect the unexpected. At some point, you may be told something scary. Before accepting diagnoses or news as final consult with the mother-to-be, ask questions, do some research, and seek out a second opinion if necessary.

One Thing You Should Avoid

Taking unsolicited parenting advice as truth or fact. Just because some technique worked for another couple and their child, does not mean that it will fit your circumstances. Adam Griffin, father, received his most memorable ‘advice’ in the form of a message through social media from a stranger.

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“After our son passed away, someone I didn’t know wrote on my Facebook wall a stat about the percentage of marriages that end in divorce after the loss of a child. A small part of me was grateful because it made me more aware, but for the most part I was befuddled why someone would choose those words at a time like that.”

Tip: Though every piece of advice is not right for your family, don’t be so quick to ignore it. Listen carefully, they are only trying to help. You may need their advice later, and your parenting approach will likely be a blend of everything you’ve experienced, read, and heard.

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Featured photo credit: anieto2k via imcreator.com

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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