In this time of uncertainty, there is another level of stress. How are you going to keep this kid from climbing the walls fed without eating all the quarantine supplies in a day, and oh yeah we should probably throw a little education in there too.
Well hopefully these 8 tips on homeschooling will get you started and alleviate some of your anxiety!
1. You are not their teacher, you are their parent! Please don’t expect things to run as smoothly at home as it does in school. And let’s be real, it’s not always peaches there either! It’s not the same setting and usually not the same rules. Adjust your expectations and set clear simple ground rules and routines.
2. Establish routines! They will save you. Try to keep it simple - wake up at the same time and set times for snacks and meals, so it doesn’t turn into an all-day snack fest. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same time every day but shoot for the same order when possible. If you’re still working and have help, delegate responsibilities, and schedules. After breakfast, take a walk or do a physical activity, then pass off reading time to a spouse, for example.
3. Break it up. Young children do not spend their entire day sitting in the classroom. Don’t expect that at home and give them plenty of opportunities to get their wiggles out. Think of wiggles as mogwais - feed them at the right time so they don’t turn into Gremlins. So, mix it up! Do a desk activity, then get active. Try not to have them sitting for more than 20-30 minutes at a time.
4. Remember play is important. Children learn through play, so make time for guided play. Sit next to them, ask open-ended questions, and throw in some juicy words, even if your child isn’t able to speak yet. It’s a great way to build vocabulary. For the little ones, be a sportscaster. Give a play- by- play of everything they are doing, even what you are doing. This helps them identify things in their world.
5. Use screen time wisely. While we try to avoid screen time as much as possible, it’s OK to use it intentionally and in short intervals. Try to aim for 20 minutes or less if possible for children under 5 years old. You can make screen time more engaging by asking them questions about what’s happening in the show and why they think this is happening. Let them explain their thoughts and ideas about the characters - who do they like and why do they like them? There are a lot of organizations that are trying to be helpful to families during this time. Take advantage of that. You can visit a farm virtually, meet a scientist or have a virtual tour of a museum!
6. Start small. This one’s big. You don’t need to try and fit a full day’s schedule in on day one. Again, you are not your child's classroom teacher. Try not to overwhelm yourself or your child.
7. Read! Reading is extremely important as we all know. Make it fun. Read everything, books, signs, magazines, anything that interests your child. You can mix it up with audiobooks as well.
8. Have fun. Don’t force anything. If it becomes stressful, leave it out. Can’t think of anything to do? Google, Pinterest, Instagram, even other parents, and relatives are all great resources. USE THEM! Be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter too, where we let you know about our favorite caregiving tools and new resource finds!
This is a great time to slow down. We have to make the best of the unexpected situation and remember children are affected by it too. They have less capacity to understand and sometimes even adapt. So let’s try and make it as smooth as we can for their sanity... but mostly ours!