Many of us have been forced into the role of homeschool “teacher” since our schools have been out of session due to COVID-19.
I am not a teacher.
I can help my second grader with his homework, but I didn’t get a degree in education. Some schools have sent out packets and others have switched to online work.
I know firsthand that it can be difficult to keep the kids engaged in schoolwork while we are at home with so many distractions. Here are nine tips to help with homeschooling.
Make a schedule
Being organized is so important. Trying to teach my son without a schedule was extremely hectic. You can print out a schedule online and fill it out or make your own. If you’re not a “schedule person,” you can plan out the order of your day instead. Instead of saying “Math is at 9:00am,” say “After breakfast we do math, then we read before we do an activity.”
Have a designated area for schoolwork
It is easier to focus when lessons are done in a specific area. Kids are less likely to be distracted when sitting at a table with all their supplies. If you’re trying to work while sitting on the couch in front of a television, your child may be distracted.
Take a break when needed
This is not a normal situation. You need to be patient with yourself and your child. It is so easy to get overwhelmed in a high-stress environment. If either of you is too frustrated, take a break. The lesson will be there later.
Use online resources
Here is a list of companies offering free subscriptions right now. Pinterest is also a great place to search for both activities and advice. My son loves experiments, so we like to search for fun experiments together. However, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of resources and activities shown on social media. Choose a few resources or website and a couple of activities at a time. You can always go back for more when you’re ready.
Do activities and projects
Not all schoolwork has to be lessons. One of the best ways to instill a love of learning in children is to nurture what they love. If your child loves science, try some STEAM experiments. If you have a child that loves animals, watch documentaries on Netflix or Animal Planet. If you have a child that loves to cook, have them help you plan a meal and cook it.
It is important to schedule a daily recess or PE (or both). Go outside whenever possible, but you can also do exercises indoors. Taking a walk is a nice break for both of you. You can even include an outdoor lesson about plants, weather or animals.
Determine your child’s learning style
Everyone learns differently. The seven types of learners are visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary. If you aren’t sure, check out this article that describes the seven learning styles. Once you determine the type of learner your child is, you can determine the best way to approach lessons. My son is a physical and visual learner. We focus on activities and drawing out pictures/diagrams when necessary.
If you have multiple children, think of lessons to involve everyone. You can do one lesson and ask age-appropriate questions to each child. If you have an only child, try to set up a Zoom or FaceTime lesson with one of your child’s classmates. Many students miss the group work at school, so this option is great for them.
This is especially important if you are also working from home. You may have to do some schooling in the mornings and again later in the afternoon. Homeschool doesn’t have to take place during the same hours of regular school. If you have set hours for working from home, plan around that. Some days will have a different schedule depending on what you are required to do for work. On those days, you may have to be extra flexible.
The most important thing to remember is that this is a very stressful situation. It’s not a competition to see how much can be accomplished. Take this opportunity to relax and spend quality time with your family.