We’re living in unusual times. With restrictions put in place all across the world, kids are being sent home from school with no word of when everything will return to normal. Because of this, parents are finding themselves in an unexpected situation, needing to help educate their children with zero warning or preparation.
No-one imagined this reality with Covid-19, and most parents almost certainly never thought they’d have to think about how to homeschool their child!
So whether you’re a homeschooler feeling extra burden from coronavirus-related pressures, or a public school parent who’s become a homeschooler literally overnight: don’t stress! We’re here to help.
This guide will take you through everything you need to know about teaching your kids at home, even when the world’s turned upside down.
How to teach your children about Covid-19 and why they’re being homeschooled right now
Now, more than ever, it’s imperative to keep an open dialogue with your kids. They’re bound to have more than a few questions about Covid-19, so explain the situation to them — in an age-appropriate way, of course — and allow them to ask you anything they want. It’s important to be upfront and honest, so they don’t have a chance to panic or feel unprepared.
You can even find a way to incorporate the current news cycle into your lesson plans. In health and science lessons, there are many opportunities for you to teach them things about bacteria, viruses, the human body, or good nutrition. Here are some lesson plans and worksheet packs you might want to weave into your at-home curriculum.
- Vaccines Facts & Worksheets
- Immune System Facts & Worksheets
- Respiratory System Facts & Worksheets
- The Human Body Facts & Worksheets
Top tips for homeschoolers during Covid-19 quarantine
Create a dedicated class environment and make it a positive space for children
Whether it’s big or small, it’s important to create a dedicated learning space in your house. Obviously having a whole spare room you can use as a classroom would be ideal, but even just a desk in the living room will do the trick. Having a space that is for school work only will help your kids get into the right headspace, even in these uncertain times. There are some great examples of parents who have turned small spaces into classrooms for their kids.
Go online to find resources
If you have no idea what to actually teach your child, or how to do it, help is at hand. Hundreds of blogs and websites have free worksheets and lesson plans that you can use to teach your children, covering all age ranges and subjects. Free resources will help tide you over for a week or so, but if the lockdown lasts any longer you may need to subscribe to get the best materials for your child. Here are free and paid-for options to get you started:
- Math lesson plans and worksheets
- Science lesson plans and worksheets
- Social studies lesson plans and worksheets
- English lesson plans and worksheets
There are also many great online resources, like child-friendly documentaries, live streams from museums and National Parks, and even educational Netflix shows. This is the time to get creative with your approach to learning.
What you need to know about planning your lessons
Firstly, familiarize yourself with effective lesson planning
You may have all your subjects and activities lined up… but how do you actually teach a lesson? Creating an effective lesson plan can feel overwhelming, but if you take it step-by-step, it’s actually quite straightforward and enjoyable.
- Define your objective. Be clear about what you’re going to teach in the lesson, and what you want your child to take away from it. Summarize this in 1-2 sentences and share it with your student before you start.
- Come up with an overview. It’s easy to plunge right in, but you should take time to draw up a plan for achieving your objective. For example, if you plan to teach about Niagara Falls: start with some fun facts about the falls, then give your kids an interactive worksheet to complete. End the lesson with a quick quiz to solidify their learnings.
- Be realistic. You can teach a whole unit of algebra in one three-hour lesson. But it’s better to break down units into smaller, more manageable chunks. This will help you keep a steady, comfortable pace — just what we need right now!
- Make sure your lesson is interactive. Sometimes kids are full of beans, with wandering imaginations to boot. So it’s imperative that your lesson is as interactive and engaging as possible. Use pictures, diagrams, and charts where possible. Incorporate worksheets and activities into every lesson you do, as it’ll help improve your students’ focus and understanding.
You can find everything else you need to know about lesson planning in this handy guide.
You can let your children help
By involving your child in curriculum planning, they’ll be more receptive to homeschool lessons, as they’ll feel they’ve had a hand in shaping them. This way, you can tailor classes to cover topics they genuinely enjoy — although it’s still important to cover less favored subjects, especially if quarantine carries on for a significant time.
Look online for inspiration
Luckily, plenty of other parents have gone through the stress and confusion of starting to homeschool their kids. There are a huge number of supportive online communities you can join, and helpful blogs you can read to find out everything you need to know. The homeschooling community is a warm and welcoming one, always ready to lend support if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
You don’t have to teach all day long
Most elementary grade homeschoolers only spend about three to four hours a day in lessons — any longer, and it’s hard to maintain focus. Use these four hours to teach the core subjects that they’d be learning at school: math, science, English, etc. Then you can spend the rest of the “school day” doing fun (but still educational) activities. For example, reading aloud, playing brain teasers, completing fun worksheets, or playing online math games. It’s important to ensure they’re stimulated and thinking for at least six hours a day before relaxing in front of the TV.
Lastly: planning ahead will be your savior!
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed or frazzled at the thought of teaching your children during coronavirus quarantine. Even if you don’t have any experience as an educator, your knowledge as a parent is the most important thing. Spending an hour or two planning and mapping out your lessons will save you a lot of time and stress in the long run.
And don’t forget, you’re not in this alone.
We’ll be posting lots of helpful content, around homeschooling and education, over on our blog. And we won’t be going anywhere!
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