COVID concerns have made the upcoming school year quite uncertain. Many districts are trying to open with precautions, while others are remaining closed.
In either case, many parents are moving to homeschool for the first time. Providing your child an education at home can be tough: follow these 10 tips to make it a bit easier.
1. Create a Designated Learning Space
Common work-from-home advice is to create a designated workspace that maximizes productivity.
The same concept applies to homeschooling. Designate an area of the house for learning activities. Your child may need to move around throughout the day, but try to keep the majority of learning in one or two areas of your home.
2. Build a Consistent and Predictable Schedule (But Be Flexible)
Work-from-home advice once again applies here. Build a general schedule for your child to follow every day, learning their subjects in the same order.
However, don’t be too rigid. It’s ok if your child needs to sleep in an extra hour, especially as they become an adolescent. Additionally, you don’t have to teach the entire day. Four hours of hard learning is a reasonable limit for most children.
Among all this, make sure to schedule some time for fresh air — or homeschool “recess” — outside.
3. Teach Hard and Soft Skills
Much of schooling involves learning “hard skills” — skills and subject matter you can directly apply to employment later in life.
However, soft skill development is just as important. Fortunately, homeschooling presents unique opportunities for children to develop these soft skills.
For example, discipline and time management become much more important for your child when they aren’t on a strict class-by-class schedule. Ingraining these skills early on will help your child grow into an educated, well-rounded, and employable adult.
4. Know That Not Every Day Will Be Perfect
Education is vital, so it’s easy to get yourself down if you have a bad day. But you have to remember that you’re adapting to strenuous circumstances.
It’s ok to have a bad day. Acknowledge what went wrong, think about how it could go better next time, then move on.
Additionally, take care of yourself. If you need a sick day, take it. This is especially important due to all the lockdown-related stress.
5. Let Your Child Pursue Passion Projects
Now that your child’s at home, they’ll have more time to develop their hobbies and interests. This can be an excellent way for them to find what they enjoy doing, but they can also learn other critical life skills through exploring hobbies.
For example, perhaps your child likes building things. Encourage them by getting a Lego set or something similar.
Or maybe they love to write. Set aside some time for them to do some creative writing in a notebook.
If they enjoy the activity, it’ll make the rest of the school day more enjoyable.
6. Schedule Breaks
All people — kids and adults alike — perform best when they can take intermittent breaks. They give some time for your child to become refreshed as well as reflect on what they learned so far.
Make sure to build in a few predictable breaks throughout the day. Perhaps have a mid-morning break, a noon break, and then an end-of day break.
During these breaks, step outside and get some fresh air. Go for a walk to get the blood flowing.
7. Collaborate With Other Parents
At this point, many parents are working from home — and a lot of employers don’t plan on changing that.
It can be challenging to balance work and schooling your child, but fortunately, you can work with other parents (that work from home) to form a small homeschool “microschool”. You and the other parents can take turns teaching and supervising the kids.
8. Stock Up On School Supplies
A no-brainer, but if you don’t plan out exactly what you neeed, you might forget to grab some items. Make a list of everything you need and try to knock it all out in one day. Order whatever you can online to minimize in-store shopping trips.
9. Use Free Online Resources — But Don’t Stop There
In addition to your school supplies, you’ll need curricula and learning resources.
Free things are always a blessing, but they have their limits. You’ll quickly feel overwhelmed trying to sort through all the free downloadable lesson plans and other resources.
A better idea would be to stick with a few solid resources and rely primarily on them. Put your child’s needs and interests first when you do this. Make sure you lean on resources that keep them interacting with your community, such as online lessons and classes.
10. Talk About Your Feelings With Your Child
Both you and your child are likely feeling some uncertainty and fear of the future. Such emotions can make it tough for your child to succeed in a learning environment. Share how you’re feeling about current times, but try to stay positive at the same time.