Schooling at home is hard. Yes, you get to be an active part of your child’s education, and you get to spend a lot more time with them (those being just a couple of the many benefits), but…
But you’re suddenly in this dual role of both parent and teacher. Not only does it take a lot of time and effort to do both, but you also need to work on separating these roles. Otherwise, the teacher in you may end up shortening the classes and canceling some difficult ones!
Now, if you’ve been doing it for a while, you’ve probably gotten the hang of it. But if you’ve been thrown into it after the pandemic hit, you may be struggling, along with so many others. As I said, it’s anything but easy and simple! And it’s not only the classes themselves, but the fact that you need to keep your and your kid’s motivation high in the midst of all the panic surrounding you.
We’re here to help, so without further ado, here are four things that can make homeschooling easier for both of you.
No.1: Talk About Your Fears and Expectations.
By assuming we know what our kids think, we’re robbing them of the chance to share their actual thoughts and emotions with us, and we’re damaging our communication. So don’t start from a place of, “They’re already hearing enough about this, let’s just jump straight into the equations”. Talk with them openly.
Start by sharing your fears, hopes, and needs first. Parents often think that by doing this they’re scaring the kids further, but all they’re doing is showing them that it’s okay to be scared and not feeling very productive. This way, they won’t end up covering up their feelings because they don’t want to scare you and make you sad! Kids need a safe zone for that, and what better place than at home, with someone they trust?
You should also tell them what you expect of them, negotiate some goals for every class as well as every week, and let them know that being unproductive and not motivated at all right now is understandable and that you’re there to help them through it by making it an interesting experience.
No. 2: Use Project-Based Learning – a Lot!
And here’s the answer to the question you were probably going to ask anyway!
“Make it interesting for them? How am I going to do that?”
Here’s a question right back. What are your most memorable learning experiences from school? Was it hours upon hours of rote learning, or those chemistry experiments and science fairs? My guess is the latter, and for a good reason: you got the chance to learn something by doing it yourself and understanding how it happens in real life.
So instead of “when am I ever going to need this” you were thinking “this is so cool, I want to do more of it!”
Now, having a project at home when it comes to science is fairly simple, but what about, say, literature? Well, the great thing about PBL is that you can always create your own projects – all you need is a plan and a goal! For example, instead of a regular literature class, you can form a book club so it doesn’t feel as school-y to your kid. For history, you can dress up as famous people and re-enact certain parts of history together – and you can bet they’ll remember it much better than they would from a book!
Remember King Hedgehog of Gardenia?
You can find a complete list of resources to help you out with schooling at home in one of our previous articles.
It’s okay if you don’t feel up to task for certain subjects. Our tutors are very experienced and have a unique approach with every student. Schedule a free first class with one of them today:
No.3: Schedule Matters
Remember when I said that one of the hardest parts of homeschooling is having to juggle between the two roles? Sticking to a schedule is where they’re likely to clash from time to time, so what you need are firm boundaries. After all, would a teacher let your kid go home early because they don’t feel motivated to learn? It’s highly unlikely! But…
Yes, there’s a “but”. The great thing about homeschooling is that you can negotiate the schedule together so they have an active part in their education as well! If they learn better around noon, then why not start their classes then? After all, it’s been shown that most schools start too early, at least when it comes to adolescents.
However, once you both agree on a schedule, you need to stick to it. I’m not saying that no matter what, that math class has to be finished according to schedule, even if they’ve got a splitting headache! But you should stick to it as much as possible because it will create a routine, and a routine helps raise focus and productivity.
No.4: Understand How Your Kid Learns Best
Some kids prefer working alone, so once they get a certain task from you, it’s best you leave them to it. Others learn better in a group of peers, so organizing group sessions through Skype or Zoom is a fun idea that can really benefit their learning. You can also sign them up for our international STEM camp where they’ll be learning to code and practice teamwork with peers from other countries!
As I already mentioned, some kids function better in the morning, and others – not at all! One child may thrive in absolute silence, while another needs some light instrumental music in the background (I know, because that was me growing up – shoutout to all those chill music YouTube compilations!)
Get a home classroom going, but make sure it’s their learning space, rather than what you think it should look like. If they like a messy desk, let it be messy! You have a unique opportunity for an individualized approach that can help your kid make the most of their education, so don’t be afraid to try it.
I know it’s scary, and at times, you’ll be wondering whether you’re doing a good job, but as long as you’re both open about your expectations and struggles, negotiating, and doing your best, I can tell you honestly – you’re on the right track.