Updated: Mar 23, 2020
If you have found yourself tasked with the responsibility of homeschooling your child because of Covid-19, DON'T FEAR! It might seem scary, but take a deep breath and read on. You can do this! Here are a few tips to help you on your new adventure.
#1 - Don't Try To Replicated Public School In Your Home.
Don't worry, I'm not saying that public school is bad, or inferior. It's not. I'm just saying it's different. The setting is different. The student teacher ratio is different. The schedule is different. It's simply different. Don't try to make it the same. When you are home, you can start school at 7:00 am, or at 10:00 am...it doesn't matter. Do what works for you. If you all feel more comfortable doing school in your jammies, then do it! If you are trying to homeschool elementary age kids, their homeschool day (of core subjects) is going to be considerably shorter than a public school day. You can use the rest of the day for real life learning, cooking, sewing, lego challenges, or whatever interests you or your child. You can even do online field trips. Technology has unlocked many doors of exploration.
#2 - Teach To How Your Child Learns.
You might be wondering what that is? There is no one-size-fits-all method of teaching or learning. Kids learn differently, and it's not a bad thing. One child might successfully learn
their math facts through songs and movement, another with worksheets and flashcard drills, while another through playing math games. The point is, they all learned their math facts, it was just delivered in a way THEY understood, and possibly enjoyed. Finding "how" they learn is key in their enjoyment in learning. If your child is wiggly, teach them in a way that let's them wiggle. If they enjoy music, teach them through the use of music and sounds. You'll be amazed at what a difference this can make.
#3 - Be Flexible But Firm
Switching from public school to homeschool can be an adjustment for you and your child. Be flexible, but firm. Set your school expectations and let your child know what is expected from them during school. You also need to be flexible when something is not quite working right. Evaluate and adjust if needed. Often, a change in the way you present something can change the way your child responds. With this being said, sometimes kids just fight, argue, or simply refuse to do their assigned task. This can be tricky to navigate. If you need to take a break to recharge, do it. If they need a break to calm down and recharge, let them. The adjustment to homeschooling can take time. Don't expect perfection from your child or yourself.
#4 - Bribery
I'm a solid fan of bribery. If you think about it, bribery is a common element in our everyday life from allowances to jobs. I figure I'm just attempting to train my kid for success in life. If they do their school work, they get a reward. They might get M&Ms when they get their sight words correct. They might earn screen time if they finish their task by a set time. Whatever your child's currency is, don't be afraid to use it as an incentive.
#5 - Attitude Is Everything
If you have a bad attitude about an activity or subject, your child might reflect the same attitude back at you. You don't have to love everything you have them do, you just have to have a good attitude about it. Honesty here...yes, there are times I have successfully faked my excitement about a project or assignment I've handed my child. My child finished it and we
were done. Success! Admission of guilt...when my "less than stellar" attitude has gotten best of me, my child has responded with tears of frustration, disappointment, defiance, or an equally bad attitude. My attitude successfully sucked the enjoyment and excitement out of her schoolwork. Try to learn from my mistakes. For those days where you just can't do it, take a break. Don't beat yourself up. Just take a breather, recharge, and then move forward.
Your homeschooling journey that you are just now embarking on can seem overwhelming. You aren't alone. Reach out. There are many out there who can help you navigate this new world of homeschooling. Above all else, pray. Pray for guidance, strength, and courage. If you don't pray, meditate or do whatever it is that you do to increase in strength, knowledge and confidence. Our country and world is dealing with issues that we can't even begin to fully wrap our minds around. Let's band together, help each other, be patient with ourselves and each other. Together we can do this. God bless you all!