The COVID-19 lockdown has changed the way we think of work, hygiene, and even school. This last one may present parents with more problems than they realized.
With schools going exclusively online, parents are finding that they now have to pull double duty as teachers. Since most have little experience in the field, they could benefit from some tips.
This guide hopes to provide those homeschooling tips for parents that need them. School may have moved to the internet, but your kids are still expected to pass their classes. Since they may need your help, you may need these tips for homeschooling them to keep your house running smoothly and your kids’ grades where they should be.
One of the best Homeschooling tips we can give you is also one of the best parenting tips in general and it’s to emphasize reading in your child’s life every day. Numerous studies, including this Neuroreport published by the US National Library of Medicine, emphasize that reading has major psychological and developmental advantages over learning through screens.
Your children will be tempted to use screens even more than usual now that school is online. One of the best homeschooling tips for parents concerned about their child’s development, their attention span, or their productivity is to encourage reading as much as possible.
By making it fun, choosing books that your child wants to read, you can help them choose to read all on their own. Even if the reading has nothing to do with their schoolwork, it’s a mentally productive way for them to spend their downtime. As opposed to a phone or computer game, reading keeps the learning centers of their brain firing and will help them stay attentive with their assignments and be productive all day long.
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Boredom is their friend
Boredom is not your friend. If your child simply can’t grasp a lesson or doesn’t know what to do, you could be frustrated because you just want them to get it done. However, if you’re looking for homeschooling tips and tricks, this one may be a little difficult to get down but it’s pretty useful once you do: embrace their boredom.
What this means is that during an assignment, for instance, your child may be bored because they’ve read too much today or they’re confused. These moments are chances for growth where they might figure out something on their own or learn a little self-dependency.
If you switch immediately into helper mode or give them some other stimulus to get their mind off of work until later, you could be stifling their ability to grasp material on their own. Not every kid gets every lesson right away. There’s nothing wrong with a little boredom – it’s where natural learning happens all the time. You just have to let it happen.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should never lend a helping hand. Assuming you don’t have teaching experience and are looking for homeschooling tips for beginners, you may not even have the right knowledge to help your kids with their assignments. That’s perfectly alright.
Thankfully, there are tons of resources online to help you help them. There are government resources, like an entire page by the U.S. Department of Education devoted to helping you learn the curriculum and teach it to your kids. The page no longer adds new material, but its resources are still available for free.
Other sites like Khan Academy help kids (and parents) learn the material through free online resources, in this case, videos filmed by Salmon Khan, the site’s founder. They have become immensely popular during the COVID-19 lockdown.
One of the best homeschooling tips we could give you is to seek out and make use of these and other resources like Netparents so your kids can be taught by a teacher’s voice, even though they’re at home.
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Give them freedom
This tip won’t work the same for all parents since some kids need to be more closely managed than others. However, a little freedom in how they delegate their schoolwork can help them self-motivate.
While we’d love all our homeschooling tips for parents to be about you can help, this one is more about the importance of not helping (sometimes). Kids who learn to get their work done on their own schedule do better work and are more motivated as a result. If they rely on you to set their schedule, they will be less prepared to want to learn, both at home and when school resumes.
This is a homeschooling tip that applies to home life in general. Downtime is important – it gives your kids the chance to have hobbies, to talk with friends, to play games, and to read. All of these things are important to their development and daily motivation. We all need to have fun during the day.
However, downtime can get out of hand. By managing it (not too harshly!) you can guide your kids to a more productive schedule. For instance, delegate video gaming as a reward for finishing assignments. Encourage your kids to mix reading into their downtime activities as much as possible.
Most importantly, make sure downtime doesn’t become the only time. A hands-off approach is great but the work has to get done. Change your strategy based on what you know your child is capable of.
These homeschooling tips and tricks should help you get started pulling double duty as both a parent and a teacher, something which none of us asked for but which all of us have to manage.
By encouraging reading, managing downtime, using resources, and knowing when to let them work and figure things out on their own, you can help them be just as successful in their new homeschool environment as they were in their brick and mortar school.
One last homeschooling tip we have is about you: don’t take it too hard! This is new for everyone and it won’t go smoothly right away. Don’t blame yourself and get angry. Recognize that you need to change your strategy, find new resources, and make a different schedule. These tips should help you when you feel lost.