Home-Schooling Tips to Share with Parents
With schools closed across the U.S., many parents and caregivers are having to find creative ways to keep the learning going at home. While some districts are able to deliver remote instruction, others are providing parents with a variety of enrichment resources. Either way, this new routine can be a bit overwhelming.
To help caregivers navigate this challenging period, we asked home-school parent and Demco coworker Patrick Mardian to share what his family has learned over the years. Patrick offered the following tips that you can share with caregivers to help them make the best of this new situation and alleviate some of the stress that may come along with it.
1. Remember: Rhythm, Rhythm, Rhythm
Children THRIVE on rhythm, and days at school typically keep kids moving from one event to the next in a regular pattern. Maintaining a similar rhythm in your new home-schooling arrangement will help your kids know what to expect. And when you deliver on that expectation, you’ll get remarkable results.
Get started by sketching out a weekly calendar that lays out what needs to be done and when. Don’t sweat the details yet. Just include several slots at the same times each day for routine events like meals, snacks, and playtime. Then decide when school and work will happen around those events.
2. Be Consistent
Once you’ve established when something is supposed to happen, do your best not to waver from that time. Admittedly, being consistent isn’t easy, but deciding what tasks or events matter most each day can help. The more you value the task or event, the more consistent you should be.
As most parents know, kids are very good at finding loopholes. Inconsistency can often lead them to test just how valid the boundaries you set really are. So, if you’ve set up dedicated work time, try your best not to allow screen time or other free play during this part of the schedule. Consistency is truly the key to less testing from your kids and more on-task time.
3. Build in Playtime
Make sure playtime stands out on the calendar, as it gives your kids something to look forward to. Kids love recess. And if they know that there are breaks in the morning and afternoon when they can grab a snack and play, they are generally much more content in between.
Playtime is also a great time to get your kids active and moving. Besides the obvious health benefits, physical activity during playtime can go a long way toward helping kids focus during work time.
4. Tailor the Learning to Your Child
No one knows your child quite like you do. Taking charge of their education is a wonderful opportunity to tailor the learning to your child.
Is your child artsy and creative? Try adding drawing or crafts to routine lesson work. Empower your more independent child to do lessons on their own while you provide occasional check-ins. Does your child get lost in books? Great! Help them find an e-book to supplement a topic they’re studying. Some kids are high energy and will thrive when you incorporate play into learning.
5. Have Your Child Share in Responsibilities
Often at school, kids take on various classroom housekeeping tasks. This is a great way to give kids a sense of responsibility and help them take ownership over their environment and their learning.
To get the same benefits, try adding age-appropriate tasks in your schedule. You’re all in this together, so it’s a great time to reinforce responsibility by having your child clean up after a task, set up the next learning activity, or help get snacks or lunch ready.
6. Don’t Stress About Not Being a Good Teacher
Cut yourself some slack. This level of involvement in your child’s education is new to you. Keep in mind that your kids will not suddenly lose all their skills if you aren’t the perfect teacher. You don’t have to be a math or science expert or a great storyteller. Just make the learning fun and on-topic.
The fact that you read this far suggests you’re an above-average parent who cares deeply about your child’s education. Keep to your schedule, stay as consistent as you can, and you and your child will be fine.
7. Stay Cool
This new arrangement will likely test your patience and resolve at times. Give yourself, and your child, time to be alone to regroup.
Listen to music that soothes you, read a book, or get some exercise to help relieve stress. Whatever you choose, just remember that it’s important to provide time for everyone to take care of their mental health as well. Sometimes the work can wait.
8. Carpe Diem!
Your school closing is an unprecedented event. It’s normal to feel worried and stressed, and it can be challenging to see the positives. But, although life is different at the moment, you can also look at this time with your children as a gift. Learn together. Eat together. Play board games together. Laugh. And know that you’re doing your best, and that is a wonderful thing.