This has to be the strangest school year ever. More parents are choosing to school at home than ever before. Here are 8 must-have tips to rock homeschooling, even if you’re a total homeschool beginner.
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Tips For Parents If Your Kids Learn At Home
How are all the new homeschool parents doing?
What a surreal time.
I have a close friend who is single parenting and works from home; she’s sending her child to grade school because that’s just so much.
I have other friends whose kids can’t wait to go to school, and they are comfortable sending them.
One friend is having her kids learn at home for the first month or so. She wants to see what the Covid measures actually are once school starts before she sends her kids to school.
And then other friends who want to keep their kids home this year and have decided to school at home.
None of us has any idea of how this school year will pan out, or what school next year will look like.
Here are 8 must-have tips for parents if your kids are doing school at home. These school at home strategies will help you get organized, get into a routine, and make homeschooling easier on yourself and your kids.
8 Simple Tips You Need for School at Home Success
When schools were closed, school at home looked like video lessons and sending homework by email. Parents that never signed up for homeschooling were suddenly forced to.
This is such an unprecedented situation and teachers and parents who continue to teach at home have to adapt. Whether you are joyfully choosing homeschooling, or for your family there is no other choice and you’re making the best of it, the question is the same:
How can you best help your children to learn at home?
Here are 8 useful strategies if your kids learn at home:
1. Involve your kids in the school at home planning
Especially if your kids are a little older, including your kids in organizing the week will help increase your kids’ motivation to learn at home.
This is the same principle as with a picky eater. Including picky eaters in meal planning, cooking, and even grocery shopping will probably not cure pickiness. But it will often help end a lot of the battles over control. You’re the mom and now also the teacher. Some kids will do great with this, others will battle it a bit more. For those spirited types (I have one!), including them in age-appropriate decisions goes a long way.
Then school at home feels more like a choice, instead of something they have to do.
2. Don’t try to school at home for as many hours as traditional school
Some parents who are new to homeschooling might try to keep to a tradition school schedule. This might look like school from 9am-3pm with an hour for lunch and two recesses.
Don’t do this!!!
You will get burnt out.
Your kids will get burnt out.
You will all hate homeschooling.
School at home is not meant to be as many hours a day as going to school. Since the teacher-student ratio is usually one parent to one or two or three kids, your kids will get lots of undivided attention during the school day. They would not be getting this amount of focused teaching in a class of 25 or 30 kids.
Your kids will learn as much at school at home in much less time than if they were going to traditional school.
3. Plan in space for “life stuff” as well as “school stuff”
Plan the day (time to get up, activities, meal times, sleep) without trying to have as many hours of teaching at home as in class.
When organizing the school week, factor in these other everyday occurrences – eating, sleeping, playtime, relaxing, etc.
You will get to know how many school at home hours work with your particular child/children. Older kids might do 3-4 hours of school at home per day, while younger kids might do an hour.
There will be a bit of a learning curve in figuring out the number of hours of homeschooling per day. You will figure out it over time, so don’t worry! And it can fluctuate from day to day, you don’t have to be rigid with it.
Again, involve your kids in this planning, especially if they are older.
4. Build in “recess” to each school at home day
Kids get recess at traditional school to let off steam, get their energy out, and just play and be kids without having to sit still and concentrate. It’s so important!
Give your kids lots of breaks in their homeschooling days.
Littler kids should have more breaks, and longer breaks, while older kids can probably sustain concentration for longer before having a break. But it’s still important for older kids to reset too.
Give your kids breaks of about 10 minutes every 30 minutes. Adult brains can’t concentrate effectively for more than an hour on average, so how can we expect our littlest humans to not need lots of breaks.
Try to limit screen time during these breaks. Read, draw, sing, and listen to music.
5. If you are remote schooling, work with the teacher as a team
If your kids are doing school at home with a remote teacher, instead of homeschooling with you, try to work with the teacher as best you can.
Remote teaching is something most teachers had to learn on the fly, so try to have patience and kindness during this process.
6. School at home can be a combination of homeschooling and remote learning
If your kids are learning from home with a remote teacher, you can add in your own lessons too.
The goal is not to take the place of teachers if your kids have them, but to keep school at home interesting and engaging for your kids. That might mean special games or exercises or puzzles to help your kids learn something that’s difficult for them, or to enhance a concept they find really easy.
For example, I have heard amazing things about the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. This could be a helpful addition to reading programs.
Overall, be careful that you’re not giving your kids too much work. They don’t need to be overloaded with learning. So much of learning happens through play and free time, especially with younger kids.
7. With school at home for older kids, give them space
It would be tempting to hover over your kids when they’re learning at home, because they are right there.
Normally you don’t get to see what your kids are doing at school every hour of the school day!
With older kids, give them a lesson or assignment, and then give them autonomy to do it. Try not to hover and micromanage. Trusting your older kids and giving them space can go a long way toward them enjoying school at home.
8. School at home can be flexible
Sure, you can set up a schedule to homeschool, and for many parents this is probably a good idea to help with organization.
It can also help many kids to have a predictable structure to their days.
But there is no need to do school at home exactly like traditional school! And for a good reason: we know that school rhythms are not always in line with children’s rhythms.
Adapt to the pace of each child, helping them to work at times of the day when they are concentrated and offering them different activities when they are tired.
Setting up quiet times and offering children artistic or physical activities during the day is essential.
A school at home schedule that focuses on more than school work will boost children’s attention and productivity.
Keeping in mind the whole child will also keep learning at home enjoyable for all of you!
If you’re also working from home while you are homeschooling, first of all mad props to you. Second, here are 21 borderline genius work-from-home tips (not a lot of people know about #20!)