With the entire planet on edge as a result of the recent Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent orders to remain at home, you may be wondering how to suddenly morph into a home school mom’s success story of the year.
Many parents like you who have never homeschooled are learning to do so on such short notice. The truth of the matter is that being thrown into a homeschooling situation is going to take more than a little bit of adjustment.
However, it might be all-new and a bit overwhelming for you, but new doesn’t have to be bad at all. Here are some tips for easing into the role of homeschooling parents so you can help your children make the transition to virtual learning.
Establish a set schedule and stick with it
Some parents and kids might be thinking that with school being out for several weeks at minimum and a good chance of it not being back in session for the remainder of the year, summer vacation’s “no routine is a good routine” can go into effect. This is possibly the worst thing you can do for your children, your family, and, most of all, your sanity. Without structure and order in their daily lives, your kids (and you) can quickly become mentally restless, emotionally unhinged, and set on a path to avoidance and procrastination — also endless anxiety and family fights. Your job as a school teacher in training, then becomes a slippery slope situation.
Setting and sticking to a daily school-at-home schedule is one of the best things you can do for your children. The traditional school day as we know it breaks up into various segments and a variety of activities for kids to rotate through as the week proceeds. Starting the day at a reasonable morning hour gives your child a head-start on school work with time for physical activity, cultivating interests, screen time, and imaginative play for the rest of their waking hours. This ensures a good balance of activities to exercise different parts of the brain and engage both the mind and body.
Check in frequently with teachers
At a minimum, parents should be logging on at least once in the morning to get the heads up from their child or children’s teacher(s). It will be helpful to know what type and quantity of work your child will be expected to complete and what the timeline may be for various assignments and projects. How often you engage in addition to the daily check-in might depend on the type(s) of students you’re instructing as well as the personality and preference of your children’s actual school teachers who are teaching them remotely.
In addition to being on top of your child’s schoolwork agenda, you might also want to keep in touch with the teacher just to offer some moral support. Many school teachers are making the shift into virtual learning for the first time. They may be struggling at home just as you are, trying to balance family life with keeping on top of their professional priorities, which is to continue educating our kids despite this sudden and strikingly different change in format. Some teachers may even feel self-conscious about talking and been seen on video or having the added pressure of working the technology while simultaneously instructing the children.
Don’t leave out “specials”
Traditional school, as we have known it for many generations, has been much more than just academia, and perhaps we take that for granted. Children are provided with opportunities to develop their talents, express themselves creatively, and cultivate a life survival skill set that may one day help them become self-sufficient or pave the way to a thriving career or business. Music, art, gym, and computer class all help your child develop into a well-rounded individual. Home economy and woodworking supply needed life skills.
If you’re picking up where your child’s teacher left off with the recent stay-home order from world health officials, then make sure to include a good variety of subjects in addition to the expected reading, math, science, and social studies. Singing and dancing to music, exploring music from different genres, engaging in arts and crafts projects, and even hosting at-home gym class can all be included in the daily activities that your children can look forward to during their home-bound school day.
Abide by the teacher’s remote schedule
Your child’s teacher may decide to host a morning meeting or do a bi-weekly check-in. She might request that the children log on and test out the chosen tech tools before a particular session or lesson is held on a specific platform. Many teachers are asking their students to arrive at their virtual meetings with prepared materials to go over and review. And they are also hosting fun and engaging activities to help kids maintain a positive attitude about their education.
Attend to your children’s details
The level of attention that school children may be receiving might vary depending on each teacher and unique situation during this trying time. After a tough school year where children were forced to work from home, your child’s teacher could end up being extra sympathetic during extenuating circumstances. Even though she might be inclined to give your child a good grade based on effort alone, you’ll want to stay on top of kids to be sure they’re attending to the critical details of doing a good job.
Have kids proofread their work several times before handing in assignments. If your children’s tests are returned with corrections made by the teacher, go over where they may have made errors and try to help them understand why the mistake happened and how they might avoid making the same error next time.
Where to get more advice on homeschooling?
If you feel like your teaching skills can use a bit of finessing, download your FREE copy of the Suddenly Homeschooling Survival Guide packed with useful tips from education experts, child psychologists, and homeschooling experts.
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