Thanks to the coronavirus, you’re now stuck at home—with kids, who need help understanding math concepts you haven’t touched since fifth grade. Most schools across the country are closed until fall to prevent the spread of COVID-19, leaving the job of teaching to so many parents and other adults.
If you have recently found yourself in the new role of homeschool teacher, you may have come up against any number of challenges. Forgetting how to do long division or multiply fractions, for example. Or maybe just getting an energetic 8-year-old to sit still long enough to complete his schoolwork, competing against the lure of warming weather and video games. For most parents, homeschooling during the coronavirus pandemic is not easy.
Temporary teachers, take heart: this guide offers homeschooling tips to help keep your child focused on homework and busy during “school” hours.
Tips for Homeschooling During Coronavirus
Your child’s teacher likely has a degree in education and has been doing this for years. You, on the other hand, are new to the homeschool scene, and on top of keeping your child caught up with her class, you’re trying to juggle working from home and added financial stress. These homeschooling tips will help you stay organized and keep your child on track.
1. Keep a Schedule
Your day at home with your children will go much better if you keep a structured schedule, at least on weekdays. Specify wakeup and bedtimes, meal times, and time for each school subject, homework, chore, screentime, crafts, and play. For buy-in from your children, ask for their input in creating the daily schedule.
2. Spread Out Instruction
Don’t feel like you need to force hours of school work all at once. Break up your day into small bursts of learning. Maybe a bit of math in the morning followed by video games, with reading and science in the afternoon, followed by time outside. If your child has a big project due, break up work on it over a few days instead of trying to get it all done at once. Most full-time homeschoolers don’t teach seven hours straight—aim for two to four hours of school per day.
3. Use Your Resources
Most public schools are still in session, but online instead of in the classroom. So you aren’t alone. You may be the front line in making sure your child gets their work done and shows up at online class meetings, but your child’s teacher will provide resources and assignments. If you need extra support, reach out to your child’s school and teacher. An internet search is a great resource for helping you remember grade school concepts your child needs help with.
4. Designate a Space for Learning
Pick one or two spots in your home for doing schoolwork. A physical transition may help a child zone into learning time. Keep their school things in a basket that you can pull out when “school” starts, and pack up when it’s time for play.
5. Don’t Stress
Be forgiving of yourself and your child. This is a hard time for everyone, and bad days are almost guaranteed. Don’t feel bad if you need to throw out the schedule and take a day off to watch movies or go hiking.
Kids’ Homeschool Activities: Extracurricular Time
What do you do with the hours when homeschool isn’t in session? Kids (and adults) can get a little stir crazy when there’s nowhere to go. These kids’ homeschool activities can help you keep your children entertained and still learning.
1. Teach What You Know
So maybe you don’t remember metaphors or mitosis from high school — so make time to teach them what you do know. Having the kids at home is a great time to teach them how to make grandma’s bread recipe, garden, or build a wooden birdhouse.
2. Passion Project
Let your child pick a topic they are excited about, such as dance, cooking, or drawing. Give them time each week to pursue this passion, making their own “elective” course that wouldn’t be possible at school.
3. Go Outside
Encourage your kids to get outside every day. If they are younger, get some sidewalk chalk and let them draw, practice their letters, or create an obstacle course to keep them entertained. If they are older, encourage them to walk, jog, ride bikes, or skateboard to get some exercise in.
4. Video Conference with Friends
Your kids may not be able to hang out with their friends in person, so encourage them to use technology to socialize “face to face.” Children are social and care a lot about their peers, so make sure they have the chance to keep up their friendships.
5. Take a Quiet Time
Schedule a daily “quiet time” or “nap time.” Younger kids can nap or play quietly in their rooms, and older kids can read or go on a walk. Enjoy your break from the kids with a nap of your own, or use it to get some cleaning or work in. Homeschooling is exhausting for everyone, and you will all benefit from a break from each other.
Homeschooling during the coronavirus is a challenge, and you aren’t alone in your struggles. The biggest homeschooling tip is to just do your best, and remember that this arrangement is temporary. Take it day by day, and before you know it, you’ll be sending your children back to school.
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