For many, the global Coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed our lives; many countries are under some form of lockdown and lots of schools have closed to prevent the further spread of the virus.
As a result, many parents are now suddenly in charge of teaching their children — lots of you have become homeschoolers overnight, with no clue how to make our small children sit down, concentrate, and follow a curriculum.
If you’re completely new to homeschooling, it can be pretty terrifying (and exhausting!). Luckily, we’ve got a few top tips to make things a bit easier adapting to homeschool life.
Here Are Five Top Tips For Parents That Are Completely New to Homeschooling:
1. Create a Homeschooling Space
If you’re completely new to homeschooling, then that means your child is too! It can be unsettling for a small child to go from their school environment with teachers and plenty of friends around to staying at home for their lessons — especially when the current climate is as strange and stressful as it is.
Creating a designated learning space will help to give your child a bit more structure, and will hopefully help them (and you!) to separate their school day from their home life, which can be tricky when you’re trying homeschooling for the first time.
Decide on your child’s learning environment early on and stick to it. It’s generally best to have them sitting at a table — it could be your kitchen or dining room table, or a study desk if you have one. Of course, as long as your child is able to focus and learn, it doesn’t strictly matter whether they sit on a chair at a table to study; they might be more comfortable sprawled across the floor or curled up on the sofa.
The most important thing is to clear a space for learning and remove distractions — we’re talking toys and cellphones, or TVs and loud music in the background — so that kids can concentrate and perform better.
2. Don’t Expect to Get Into a Routine Right Away
Kids are used to having a structured day when they’re at school, so it makes sense to follow suit and replicate that at home if you are now homeschooling. A structured school day provides stability and routine for children, which will help them to feel settled, more confident, and more focused — as well as helping you to manage their learning and fit everything in.
However, while it’s important to create a daily schedule for your child’s
homeschooling, don’t expect to get into a routine right away. This is a big change for everyone, and kids, in particular, are probably going to struggle with concentration and focusing on their schoolwork.
Try to stick to your lesson plans, but if kids need a bit more time to fully understand something or stuff needs repeating so that it sticks, don’t sweat it. And don’t be afraid to take a break if your little person is really struggling and needs to burn off some energy! We’ll go into that more later…
3. Incorporate Play Into Your Homeschooling Schedule
Often, we write off playing as something kids do in their spare time when they’re not learning. But in actual fact, play is how kids do a lot of their learning, especially at a young age. Play is so important for children; it’s how they learn about the world around them, develop essential social skills, explore their own creativity and individuality, and grow in confidence.
There are a million reasons why children benefit from play, which is why it’s so important to incorporate play into your homeschooling schedule — particularly for little ones.
You could do this by including regular play breaks between different subject lessons, and by dedicating some time every day for guided play — so you set up tasks and activities for your kids to complete individually, with siblings, or with you. This could be anything from building a den, practicing a play, or spending time on arts and crafts.
Signing up to a kids subscription box like SagoMini Box is a great way to guide crafting playtime; each box comes with activity and craft ideas to help kids learn and have fun at the same time. Make-and-play activities like this are perfect for adding play into your child’s school day because they give kids the opportunity to lead playtime and express their own creativity, while still learning valuable skills like problem-solving and emotional intelligence.
4. Work Together With Your Child to Create Shared Plans and Goals
Homeschooling is going to go much better if you and your child work together to create a plan and goals. You’re never going to be able to exactly recreate the normal school day, so why not tailor their days learning at home to them instead? Give them some ownership over their learning and their day — what do they want to do (within reason!)? What are their favorite subjects and how can you spend more time on them? And what are their goals? Working together to come up with some targets will help to keep them focused and interested in their own learning journey.
You’ll still need to incorporate certain subjects into their curriculum, but there are ways you can do it so that they will appeal more to your child’s specific likes — such as using cooking to teach math (weighing out ingredients on scales etc), or painting their favorite toys or family members for art. There are lots of ways you can make those not-so-enjoyable lessons sparkle for your child.
5. Get Outside and Move About!
If you’ve got small kids, then you’ll know that they have a lot of energy! This can make homeschooling pretty tough for parents — how the heck do you get your kids to stay still long enough to complete their work?! It can be especially hard when they’re stuck in the house without the social stimulation of their classmates or the excitement of the playground or playing fields to run around in.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you break up lessons and learning time with lots of moving about. If you can’t go to the park like you normally would, you’re going to have to get creative, but it is totally possible.
Playing in the backyard is the perfect way for kids to have fun and burn off some of their energy, and you can even make this time outside educational! Either by teaching some physical education by doing a Joe Wicks video together (great for kids of all ages) or with a biology lesson — get your kids exploring the outdoors with nature bingo or by growing your own plants together.
If you’re brand new to homeschooling and you feel like you don’t have a clue what you’re doing, it can be pretty daunting. The tips above can help
homeschooling newbies, so bear them in mind next time you’re stressed
because you’re trying to write a learning schedule or your seven-year-old won’t sit down and do their math. We’re sure you’re already doing a great job!