Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the globe have been forced to shut down and move their operations online. With nearly one billion students missing school and traditional curricula being completely thrown out, parents are taking a more active role in their children’s education, whether they are making sure they complete their online assignments or actively teaching them. For many parents, this is their first real exposure to the homeschool experience, and while some have taken to it quite easily, others have found it overwhelming and stressful.
If you are a parent who is struggling with the homeschool experience, consider these 10 helpful tips to mitigate the challenge and make teaching that much more effective!
1. Figure Out What Kind Of Learner Your Child Is
There are four main learning styles: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Every child has different preferences and learning styles, and since you have the advantage of operating outside of the traditional learning environment, this means that have the opportunity to identify your child’s preferred learning style and adapt to it.
2. Take Advantage Of Online Resources… But Don’t Over Rely On Them
The internet already had a near-endless supply of free online sources for teachers and parents before COVID-19 came around, but many companies have gone the extra mile to provide even more resources for those trying to teach during the pandemic. However, while you should definitely use these helpful resources, don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices available to you. Just pick a few that work for you and go for it!
3. Encourage Your Kids To Pursue Their Personal Interests
One of the advantages of not being bound by a traditional educational format is that it’s possible to go off the beaten path and learn about things that aren’t on the standard curriculum. If your child has a personal interest in something, considering using this as an opportunity to learn more about it.
4. Find Fun Ways To Teach Important Subjects
When it comes to younger children, the best way to get them to learn is to make the act of learning fun. Regular household activities can teach important lessons: Grocery shopping can teach them anything from math to color or shapes, while working in the garden can help with biology. Even popular games like Minecraft have been used to teach a variety of subjects.
5. Build Breaks Into The “School Day”
Although the more open structure learning from home can be freeing, it can also be a bit overwhelming due to a lack of clear starting and stopping points. Although you don’t have to be as strict as traditional schools typically are, you should have a rough schedule planned out, including regular breaks to keep your kids from getting stressed out.
6. Help Kids Build Their Learning Environment
One thing that helps with the learning process is having a regular space to work from. In school this would be your child’s regular seat in the classroom, so try to make a similar spot at home, whether it be a desk in their room or a space at the kitchen counter.
7. Keep Distractions To A Minimum
When your child is in the middle of a lesson or doing some research, do whatever you can eliminate unnecessary distractions. This means no TV, loud music, or phone calls that would pull them away from their studies. Set a good example during “class time” by not answering phone calls while you are teaching.
8. Build A Support Group
Something that’s important to remember right now is that even if you are feeling stressed about the current COVID-19 situation, you are not alone. Nearly every child in America is learning from home right now, which means there are plenty of other parents going through what you’re going through. Share strategies you’ve learned with friends who also have kids and consider joining (or even starting) a Facebook group for parents to provide support and advice during these tough times.
9. Don’t Beat Yourself Up!
Whether you are a student, a teacher, or a parent, what you are going through right now is a completely new experience, so you need to be willing to cut yourself some slack. It’s easy to get hung up on mistakes or let the stress get to you, but you aren’t going anyone any good if you beat up on yourself when things go wrong.
10. Make Sure To Practice Cyber Safety Strategies.
Since so much of learning from home involves the internet, it is important to make sure that your children are protected while they are online. Even if they are already pretty tech-savvy, you should make sure to go over strategies to avoid scammers, viruses, and other potential dangers. Additionally, if you’re worried about your kids running into inappropriate content while studying or doing research online, consider investing in Clean Internet software, which can block out such content automatically!
The COVID-19 crisis has been a struggle for so many people, and many parents are finding the transition to homeschooling a challenge. Yet while it is a challenge, it is also an opportunity to become closer with our children and to better understand their educational needs. For many families, this is their first exposure to a whole new world of educational opportunities, and even when the pandemic is finally over, there strategies and lessons learned now that will remain relevant even when everything goes back to normal.