If you’re spending most of your time these days wondering how to balance home, schooling and work, you’re not alone. Covid-19 has got parents around the world trying their hands at homeschooling. Nearly everyone is quarantined indoors, working from home and helping kids with homework.
Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to make your child study at home.
First and foremost, know that despite everything you do, your children will probably not settle down and lock into their books like they do at school. Home just isn’t school. Staying focused at home is difficult, and your lessons won’t be as professional as the ones they are used to.
Nevertheless, the good thing is, you know your children better than any teacher, so just relax and keep in mind the following as you get started.
Let your children be part of the decision-making
Schools are giving assignments and setting the tasks. Ask your children how they’d like to go about getting these done. By involving them in the decision making, you’ll get their acceptance from the get-go. It means there will be lesser tantrums, disagreements and conflict down the line.
Beyond asking for their views and opinions, take them seriously by really listening to them and guiding them so their ideas and suggestions can be used and applied.
Every child has different needs and each will react in their own way to these stressful times. Getting their agreement will help everyone ease into the changes needed for homeschooling. Allow for the process to be gradual and be ready to tweak things as you go along.
Use online resources
Help your child make the best use of study time by learning through videos and podcasts. With Covid-19, everyone – from institutions to individuals – is pitching in with free online educational resources to help with homeschooling. And fresh resources are becoming available every day. You’ll find plenty that are educational as well as entertaining and will keep your children hooked. Try to find websites, YouTube channels and podcasts where everything is free and no login or membership is required.
Once you’ve done your research through the many free resources, shortlist the ones that work best for you and your children, and stay with them. Try not to get overwhelmed by the endless options available on the net and keep homeschooling simple.
Have a schedule
A schedule or routine creates order, and it’s much needed in these chaotic times. It makes things predictable and creates a sense of stability and security. You can start by trying to follow your everyday schedule – the time everyone wakes up, gets dressed, study time, meal times – and change it as you go along to whatever works best.
At school, children are used to a schedule. Having one at home too will create a sense of familiarity in the new study at home environment. Display the schedule prominently where everyone can see it. A plan for the day will help them know what’s coming up and what’s expected of them.
Set up a space for learning
Recreating the traditional school is not just difficult, it’s nearly impossible. The school system has a cafeteria, gym, teaching aids and bells. Your home school should just allow learning to happen in a easy, relaxed way.
So find a space your children will be comfortable in, and designate it as the study area. This area should have all the things needed for learning. They will include textbooks, notebooks, calculator, pens and the like. Children should be able to reach these without getting up from their seats.
Try to reduce distractions by turning the mobile phone on silent and remove things like the video game console and snacks. Good lighting and the right temperature also make a difference. Turn on some soothing music, if that helps.
Most importantly, allow for this space to change as long as it increases productivity. If things need to be moved, or your children are more comfortable on the sofa rather than the desk, that’s alright. Do they like to change over to another space to study midway through the day? That’s alright too.
Take time off
Try to keep to the schedule you’ve prepared, but allow everyone time to adjust. Be flexible with the arrangements and plans that have been made.
If you’ve got younger children, they may only be able to focus on a task for a few minutes. So they’ll need frequent breaks – a time to play a game or sing songs.
On the other hand, your older children will be accustomed to a recess during school hours. At home, a break every 30-60 minutes can work wonders. It can help make them more productive and focused, and ensure they don’t get bored or lose interest.
If it helps, allow more breaks. Or more television and more chocolate. Or maybe let everyone sleep in for a bit.
Also, try to schedule in some alone time. Read a book. Or exercise. Whatever you do, just make sure you are also able to unwind.
Accepting that these are unusual times is also essential. Keep in mind that it’s alright to feel unsure and uncomfortable about taking on the responsibility of schooling your children.
Thankfully, for parents who are new to the concept of homeschooling, there is a lot of help at hand.
At Talentnook, we’re also providing online tutoring now. So despite Covid-19, your children can continue achieving their learning goals and stay productive with private tutors. Our teachers are qualified and verified and even taking group classes so you can share the cost with other parents. We’re here to support your child’s learning and would love to know if there’s anything we can help you with. Please let us know in the comments below.