In addition to the stresses of working from home, isolating indoors, and planning grocery trips, we have the added task of homeschooling our children. Educators throughout our country do a fantastic job of teaching and inspiring children of all ages. However, amongst the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures, this duty has shifted, temporarily, to parents. Newly proclaimed parents-turned-teachers can rest assured. We have some tips to help you navigate these new waters confidently and smoothly, fostering the success of your students.
Don’t Strive for Perfection
Today’s teachers are highly trained, many of whom have master’s degrees in education, and spend each day gaining experience in the classroom. Most parents-turned-homeschool teachers won’t have this training under their belts and many will still need to juggle working from home while leading lesson plans. Try not to compare your homeschool environment to others and be easy on yourself and your children if school work doesn’t always go according to plan. It’s absolutely okay to fall short on certain days.
Schedule in Moments of Downtime
Children are constantly bombarded each school day with planned activities including academic lessons, clubs, and sports. Embrace this new season of life by allowing your child some downtime. If they have an online curriculum taking up a majority of the school day, give them the chance to choose their own lunch time or after class activities. It’s also okay for students to get bored. With so much screen time and structured learning, children often don’t have the chance to push their imagination and creativity to the limits. Boredom may drive them to put their creativity to the test and come up with a new game, choreographed dance, or original artwork.
Implementing Home-Based Lesson Plans
Take advantage of this at-home time by teaching your children a lesson or two in home economics. Go beyond the baking or cooking aspect of out-dated home ec classes and invite your children to draw up a budget for their allowance to learn about paying bills. For older kids, have them assist in filing taxes, purchasing stocks, or paying household bills. Give your children a set amount of money for groceries and invite them to create a list, research prices, and find coupons to stay within the weekly budget.
Establish a Routine
Accept that homeschool will be different from regular school and establish a routine that melds home and school life. Create a schedule and post it in a conspicuous place where children are performing most of their lessons. Ask for their input on what they value out of a school day and what they could do without. It’s ok to get flexible with recess, lunch, and downtime so long as children are finishing assigned lessons in time. Teach them about time management and productivity by tweaking the routine as time goes on.
Lean in to Reading Time
Much of the homeschool day is conducted through screens – be it on computers, phones, or tablets. It’s important to give eyes of all ages a break. Build in a reading hour into each day’s schedule and encourage children to select from an audio or hardcopy book. Order from nearby shops to support local business and stock the shelves with wonderful books.
Now that the homeschool day is in check, be sure to encourage virtual socialization between your children and their school friends. Additionally, take the time to check in with other parents and swap tips, tricks, and hacks that have helped improve productivity and focus. While we are all physically isolated, we don’t need to be emotionally alone.