Tips From a Home Educator
Kids are home from school but it’s not summer yet and we can’t get out and be with friends!
You may be experiencing a sense of loss.
So many events cancelled, so many fast endings and no rituals to add meaning to accomplishments.
It’s ambiguous loss.
Today, I’m going to give practical advice on how to manage school at home. I will address these losses in another blog in the upcoming weeks.
You can do this!
Parents can be the best teachers of their children because you know your child best.
1) Make a routine for your family and for each individual child.
This could mimic a ‘normal’ school day. Here is an example of part of our homeschool day.
8am: Breakfast/take care of our bodies
8:30am: Room time: Tidy your room, make your bed, clean up dirty laundry, clear off desk, etc.
9:00am: School starts-yes we even ring the school bell-this is something they love to do on the hour.
Some subjects we work on together as an ‘all sibling involved’ topic like science, logic, art and grammar.
12:30: We start up more schooling and do subjects like science, history, art, handicraft, homework
Consider using audiobooks for history & literature using Hoopla or Audible.
Do you know that homeschooling your 4-10 year old child only takes a few hours?
Younger children can complete what they need for the day in a few hours because it is a focused study time. In school, children are moving from classroom to classroom, teachers are managing 30 children in a classroom so time is used up to do those tasks. When you school at home, your kids have more focused time to study and have less distractions, so they can complete schoolwork faster and then the rest of the day can be scheduled funtime-to help maintain the chaos. Older students, Middle School through High School,may have work loads that truly take them from 9am -4pm to complete and then an hour of additional study time.
2) Stagger subjects for each student.
While one works on math, the other works on art or spelling. This way you can spend longer time for a math question while the others work on something where you are not needed. If you have students similar in age and you can have them work together and move from one subject to the next together. Plan for some educational tv time to give you time to do your own work.
Did you know there is no law on what time of day you have to school children?
So if you are a working parent, you can ‘start’ your school day at a time that suits your needs. Maybe your children can start their on-line learning at 10am-noon, you can help answer their questions as you eat lunch together. Then they can continue on-line learning after a recess time or take a longer break and do the rest in the late afternoon.
3) Make a schedule according to your child’s needs. Write it out on paper and stick it up on the frig, so they can look at it and know what to expect. Put times on it or draw a clock, then they can have practice telling time.
Younger children work well with 20 minute ‘classes’, then have breaks, snacks and lots of run around time. Be creative, older kids can read aloud to younger siblings. Include craft time, game time, Lego time, music time-even if it’s just forming a mini band with random instruments. Have a gym time, computer time, puzzle time. Have older siblings play a board game with younger ones or have them blow up balloons and play indoor volleyball.
4) When your child gets stuck on a problem or tires of studying, encourage them to stop and take a break.
1) Get up and drink a glass of cold water
2) Get up and go run around the house-literally run laps around the house or jumping jacks
3) Eat something
4) Take a quick shower.
5) Always end a subject on a happy, high-five note. Always.
Even if you have 10 more math problems to slog through and your child is feeling defeated, consider ending sooner on a problem they get right and feel good about. End on a positive happy note, take a break and move to the next subject. Can also use a reward to encourage them.
6) Provide social contact beyond siblings.
Skype with friends, call, write cards and letters. Older students can use Scratch and make e-cards and send to friends and extended family members. My 10 year old daughter just mailed her BFF an invisible ink pen to send secret notes to during this time.
7) Take care of you! I try to practice ‘everyone alone’ time each day.
This is 30 minutes to an hour of each child going into a separate spot in our home, be it their room or downstairs, outside, wherever. They must be ‘alone’. In this time they can do whatever they want, read, play, create art, Legos, listen to music. It’s like an extension of nap time when they were little. After being home 24/7 together, no one is a happy camper, so plan alone times when everyone gets their own space for a bit.
Happy Homeschooling is what I always say!
These next few weeks can be treasured moments as we spend concentrated time with our children.
The days are long but the years are short.
Let’s make every moment matter!