As the Coronavirus, (COVID-19), continues to spread across our country, millions of school children have found the doors to their school closed and parents have found themselves in the drivers seats of their education as substitute teacher, having to homeschool, embarking upon uncharted waters.
Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) March 16, 2020
Although homeschooling is new territory, don’t fret, the experts have weighed-in with tips on how to successfully navigate teaching your children at home.
According to TODAY Parents, here are five tips, that will help you both not miss a beat.
1. Hold a family meeting. Gather everyone involved and outline expectations as you all embrace your “new normal.” Communicate with your children, letting them know that even though they are at home, they are still in school. Create a structured schedule that will work for all of you.
“Talk to your children about this ‘new normal,’ and communicate with them that while they may be at home, there are still assignments that must be completed in a timely manner,” said Heather Bowen, a homeschooling blogger, to TODAY Parents. “Since your child is coming from a structured school environment, I would definitely continue on with providing structure for both them and you.”
2. Ask your school for support. Your school should be able to guide you and point you to the resources that are needed for at home lessons. During this time, schools may even send work home via email or hold online tutoring sessions. Find out what your school is doing to support your homeschool endeavors and take full advantage of it all.
“I would highly suggest that you reach out to your local school district and determine what resources, in terms of curriculum, online learning platforms, supplies, etc., are available to you,” Bowen suggested. “Talk to your child’s teacher and find out exactly what is expected from them in terms of assignments and school work during this time.”
3. Create a learning environment. School time should look different from play time or anything else. Create an environment that reflects learning. If the environment reflects school, then they will feel more like that’s where they are.
“Help them create their own work space — at the kitchen table, on their bed, in a comfy chair in the living room — and know that you may find a rotation works well for different subjects, especially for those students accustomed to visiting a different classroom and teacher for math, English and electives,” said Leah Duke, who has been homeschooling her three children since 2004, to TODAY Parents.
4. Take Breaks. Kids take breaks at school, so why should they not take breaks at home. Homeschooling is an adjustment in and of itself. If you don’t give your child, and yourself, time to adjust to your teaching methods, the new atmosphere, and the lessons themselves, nothing will stick and you all will be more frustrated than not.
“Whether it’s while they’re changing classes or while they’re waiting for other students to finish their work, your child has several moments of downtime throughout a normal school day,” said Amber Mathison, founder of ABC’s to ACT’s in the TODAY Parents interview. “Remember to give them the same while they’re at home. Believe me, when you’re struggling through a math assignment, a quick 15-minute break can do wonders for both your patience and their ability to get through the material.”
5. Make it fun. If a student is struggling with a particular concept, find a way to relate it to real-life and make it fun. Making lessons fun with out-of-the box concepts will do more good than not!
“Grocery shopping can be lessons on everything from color, shape and sizes for the young ones to multiplication and percentages for your older ones,” said Wendy Moores to TODAY Parents. “Taking a long walk can be a lesson in botany or biology. And those experiences that you seek out become field trips that will be a blast and something special because you are schooling your children.”
Make sure to not be so hard on yourself and give your kids a break as well. Homeschool is new and difficult, yet it is truly rewarding and you may never know, after you try it, you all just may like it. If not, when your kids return to school, you just may beat them through the door with that shiny new apple in appreciation for their teacher! For more tips on how to successfully homeschool, click here.