Usually, when parents decide to homeschool their children, it’s the product of months (maybe years) of thought and preparation.
Homeschooling during coronavirus is a completely different scenario. Parents all over the world have been thrown right into homeschooling, with the vast majority learning as they go.
If you’re struggling to get started and wondering how to keep your kids on track, you’re not alone.
9 homeschool secrets that will help you get through COVID-19 lockdown
As any homeschooling parents will agree, finding the right rhythm takes a little time and a lot of trial and error.
These tips and tricks are usually learned through experience, but hearing them now — at the start of your sudden homeschooling journey — will fast-forward you straight to homeschool success!
Homeschool doesn’t have to take up the whole day
At school, your kids share a teacher with a classroom full of other children. But the adult-to-child ratio at home is so much better.
This one-on-one support and attention means children often get through their schoolwork much faster at home than they would at school.
As a rough guide, seasoned homeschoolers recommend 15 minutes of teaching per day for every year of your child’s life. So you should expect a ten-year-old to do two and a half hours of academic work each day.
Creating a workspace should be first on the list
If possible, creating a designated homeschool space is an important first step. Gather pens, ruler, craft materials, and anything else you think you might need.
Having a workspace helps kids get into the school mindset and means you don’t have to worry about clearing everything away at the end of each session. You also have everything close at hand when you need it!
It’s all about the planning
Coming up with lessons on the fly is difficult, even for a trained teacher. So planning is everything when you’re homeschooling during the COVID crisis.
A schedule will help you to feel more in control. It will allow you to cover different subjects adequately and give you the time to gather any resources you might need.
Make kids aware of the schedule so they know when they’ll be expected to work, and involve older kids in the planning process. If your kids feel invested in the homeschool schedule, they’ll feel more motivated to respect it.
But nothing is set in stone
A routine is crucial for daily structure, and a regular pattern gives both kids and adults a little reassurance — something we’re all in need of at the moment!
But we have to be realistic. Many parents can’t focus entirely on homeschooling their kids. You might be working remotely, not to mention running the home (which is a huge ask in itself).
Don’t worry if the schedule gets forgotten now and then. If a pajama day or an unscheduled walk in the woods helps both students and parents get in a better mindset for tomorrow, then it’s well worth it.
Rewards come in handy
Rewards are a great motivator, so establish a reward plan with your kids. For example, each time they complete a topic, they get a sticker for their chart or a sweet for their jar.
These mini rewards can then translate into bigger treats. Like staying up late to watch a movie, a camp out in the backyard, or — the first thing on most kids’ minds — 15 minute’s more screen time.
Which brings us to the next point…
Screen time isn’t always the enemy
Many parents are worried about allowing too much screen time during the COVID crisis. While excessive screen time isn’t ideal, a moderate amount does give parents a break to answer emails or make a few work calls.
And screen time can have educational benefits, too. The right television shows, games, and apps will support children’s learning in English, math, science, history, and so much more. They can also provide a good starting point for further study or research.
Homeschooling isn’t just about academia
While math and English are undeniably important, homeschooling during the COVID crisis is a great opportunity to get your kids up to speed on certain life skills.
Cook together. Teach your pre-teens how to clean the bathroom or change a fuse. You’ll be surprised how much they’re capable of and how many standard school subjects — math, science, reading — you can weave into this kind of activity.
Helpful resources are out there
Most schools are providing online resources for their students, and these should be the first place you look. But if you feel that the materials provided aren’t filling enough time, or aren’t pushing your child hard enough, there are plenty of other places to turn.
British fitness instructor Joe Wicks is providing recorded PE classes for children every weekday on YouTube. If the family needs a little downtime, Disney+ is currently offering a 7-day free trial. And parents on social media are coming up with some great ideas (or at least some moral support) in navigating these unprecedented times.
Of course, printable worksheets should be in every parent’s homeschool toolbox. The resources available from KidsKonnect cover every school subject and a wide range of ages.
And last but not least, being kind to yourself (and your kids) is the number one priority
If you’ve found yourself suddenly working simultaneously as an employee, parent, and teacher, life is going to feel tough. So don’t be too hard on yourself or your family — you’re all adjusting to this new version of normal.
Accept that homeschool days won’t always go to plan and try to start each day fresh, learning from yesterday’s hiccups and successes.
The priority at the moment doesn’t have to be winning at homeschool. It’s about doing the best we can, making sure our kids feel as secure as possible, and trying to enjoy the extra time we’re spending together as a family.
Good luck on your homeschool journey!
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Link will appear as I have to start homeschooling during the COVID crisis, so what do I need to know?: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 30, 2020