We are now several weeks into teaching our kids at home and will be doing so until the end of the school year. Now that the initial panic as subsided, some families have gotten into a groove. If that isn’t your family, don’t worry. Homeschooling can be a challenge but there are plenty of resources available. Here are a few tips:
Check With the Your School District
School districts are working hard to make sure parents have the resources they need to keep learning on track. Tomball ISD, which serves Amira families, has put together a list of resources to help parents and students. The district is even offering free Park-n-Learn WiFi Access to students who may not have it at home.
Unschool to Home School
By now you may have figured out that recreating school at home doesn’t work for your family. That’s okay. Keep your children doing the assignments their teachers give but look for opportunities to “unschool.” This informal schooling method allows children to direct their own learning through natural life experiences including play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors and social interaction.
Know Your Kid
Not all kids learn the same way so if you are having difficulties, the problem could be the way the material is presented. Some kids thrive in an online learning environment but for others, it’s hard. Some kids are auditory learners and some are visual. Young children tend to be very tactile. Figure out how your kid learns and plan accordingly.
Don’t Do School at Home
Throw out the school schedule. You don’t have the time, and kids don’t need a solid six hours of academic work. Shoot for two to four hours depending on the age of your child.
Life Happens, It’s Okay
Schedules, routines and checklists are all well and good, but life happens so it’s important to be flexible. Set aside time for doing the schoolwork your child’s teacher
sends but don’t stress if an urgent phone call or work meeting gets in the way. Learning can happen at any time.
Learn With Your Kids
It seems counterintuitive, but one of the best things you can do for your child is admit you don’t have all of the answers. Saying “I don’t know, but we can find out together,” models a positive attitude toward learning. No one can know everything, but everyone can spend some time doing research to figure out the answer.
Always Make Time to Read
Books open a million doorways. Set aside time to read together as a family. Read out loud to them or play an audiobook. This helps maintain vocabulary and reading comprehension. If your child becomes passionate about a topic found in a book, help him or her to research it further and create projects based on it.
Boredom is a Good Thing
A mistake many parents make is trying to keep their kids busy all of the time. Boredom is a good thing. Put away the video games and turn off the television then tell the kids to find something to do. Resist telling them what to do. It won’t be long before they start using their imaginations to create games, art projects and other activities on their own.
Stay Positive and Don’t Compare
The hardest part for any parent when it comes to at-home learning is staying positive. You are always going to second-guess yourself. That’s okay, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Also, don’t let social media influence you. Some kids are early learners and others are late bloomers, most fall somewhere in between. Pay attention to what your kids are learning and doing and don’t try to replicate what your friends’ children are doing.