5 Tips for Parents Who Are Now Homeschooling Their Kids

Apr 28, 2020 by

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Across the U.S., millions of parents are homeschooling their children, whether they want to or not. Since the coronavirus swept the nation earlier this year, schools have closed and parents are left with the task of educating their children until school begins again in the fall. Of course, many weren’t prepared to homeschool and may never have done so before now. 

If you’re one of the many Americans struggling to teach your kids at home, here are a few tips that’ll help keep you sane and create a quality learning experience for your little ones.  

1. Know Your Kid’s Learning Style 

Understanding how your child learns will help you teach better and create lessons that actually stick with them. Do they enjoy learning through visuals like videos and pictures? Are they more apt to remember information through reading or writing? Would they rather listen to an audiobook? Try a few methods and pay attention to how well they retain information. Then, develop a personalized teaching method for your child. 

Moreover, it’s also important to find out how independent of a learner your student is. Online and independent learning can be incredibly difficult for some students, especially those who work best in groups or under leadership. If this is the case with your child, consider hosting a Zoom study session with fellow classmates or spending more time learning new topics with them. 

2. Establish a Routine 

When your little ones were in school, they had a set routine. They knew what time school began, when they were to eat lunch and when you would come to pick them up. At home, however, it may be more difficult to create and stick to a routine. Plus, their day will look completely different from their usual six or seven hours in the classroom. Odds are they won’t be doing work that entire time, either. 

Rather, create an hourly schedule with reading time, quiet time, outdoor play and a little bit of homework thrown in. Remember to be flexible as well. You and your kids probably won’t follow the hourly agenda to a T and that’s perfectly ok. Do what you can with the time you have and use the schedule as a guideline for your day. 

3. Utilize Resources

Some teachers are frantically putting together teaching materials and homework packets to give to parents. Even churches are providing curriculums to help children continue learning at home. Where do you turn to for teaching materials if your child’s teacher hasn’t prepared anything, though? Lucky for you, there are hundreds of online resources available for free or a fraction of the price right now. Choose from audiobooks, free lesson plans and learning materials. 

Just don’t get too caught up in trying to integrate every resource you find. There are simply too many to do that. Instead, pick a handful and build upon them. Use what you already have at home as learning tools. Your materials may not be as specific as a typical teacher’s, but they’ll get the job done just the same. 

4. Cater to Your Child’s Interests

In a classroom setting, what your children learn about is up to the teacher. At home, it’s up to you. Now is the perfect time to teach your children about things that peak their interests. For example, if your little one has always wanted to learn more about baking, designate time to make a cake, cookies or bake bread together. Teach them about ingredients and why following the instructions are important. 

The best part of letting your children explore their interests is you won’t have to bug them to do it. They’ll naturally want to learn more. You, then, have the responsibility of teaching them more about their interests. Incorporate whatever they learn into your lesson plan for the day to tie everything together. 

5. Get Outside 

While your kids were in school, their teachers may have given them a half an hour to an hour to play outside at recess. Now, however, they have all the time in the world to explore the great outdoors — while practicing social distancing, of course. Take them to the park or simply explore your own backyard. Look for bugs, collect plants or teach them basic outdoor skills like using a compass or using the sun to tell time. 

Taking your lesson outside isn’t conventional, but sometimes unconventional learning is the best kind. Plus, switching up your surroundings will help the time pass more quickly and give you all a bit of much-needed vitamin D and exercise to keep your immune systems in tip-top shape. 

Roll With the Punches 

As you begin to implement lesson plans and take on the role of teacher, remember to be flexible. Expect the unexpected because things will certainly not go as planned, especially in the beginning. Thus, it’s best to just roll with the punches and take things one day at a time. If you’re having a bad day and nothing’s going right, put on a movie. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re only doing the best you can, so forgive yourself. Tomorrow’s a new day. 

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