Learning from home can be a challenging task. It’s hard to keep kids focused and interested in the midst of so many potential distractions. Whether you’ve had to take on the role of teacher due to the COVID-19 pandemic or for some other reason, making sure your kids get a quality education is a top priority. These useful homeschooling tips can help your child’s experience be less stressful and more productive.
Setting the Stage for Success
To avoid potential frustration, it’s important to reflect on your child’s learning style as you plan. Some kids can absorb information easily through reading and written exercises, where others require a more hands-on approach. Knowing how your son or daughter learns will allow you to tailor your lesson plans and environment to meet their specific needs.
Having a dedicated place for learning is a great way to reduce distractions and keep materials organized. It also helps kids maintain a schedule and provides a way to create separation between learning and leisure times. If you have the space, consider outfitting a homeschool room or even an out-of-the-way corner with a table or desk, supplies, comfortable seating and a computer, if necessary.
Predictable routines help kids understand what’s expected of them and reduce anxiety about the future. Planning also makes it easier to balance other demands and ensures you have the necessary resources on hand. Include your children when creating the schedule as a way to teach time management skills. Have clear boundaries in place to minimize any arguments, but stay flexible and adapt as needed.
Choosing Course Content
After deciding on where and when to teach your kids, it’s time to choose which way you would like to teach lessons at home. If your son or daughter attends public school, your local district may offer a distance learning program. You could also sign up for a free online charter school. These sometimes even supply computers for their students to use during class.
Curriculum packages specifically designed for homeschooling are available for purchase either online or through a local bookstore. Families can choose the grade level most appropriate for their child’s age. Faith-based programs incorporate religious studies and character-building exercises into the coursework. Educational co-ops near you may also share materials or meet for group activities.
Making Learning Fun
To keep kids interested, be sure to build activities into each day that encourage active participation. Using multiple teaching methods supports comprehension, retention and overall student success. Here are some ideas of how you can turn lessons for common subjects into fun and engaging experiences:
- Science: Sprout seeds for an indoor garden to learn about the life cycle of plants, go on a bug hunt or explore astronomy with a backyard telescope and star map.
- Geography: Plan themed weeks for each country, sample regional foods and learn about local customs. Become pen pals with kids in other areas to learn about life where they live.
- Math: Teach fractions by baking or holding measurement scavenger hunts. Help older kids learn money management skills with a mock budget, virtual house or apartment hunting, and online shopping.
- Reading: Participate in library reading games, arrange a book swap with friends or let siblings assign each other book reports on their favorite stories.
- Writing: Create homemade magazines or newsletters and mail them to family members in other states. Write and act out plays or make children’s books complete with illustrations.
- History: “Adopt” a senior citizen and ask them to share stories about events they remember, learn an old-fashioned skill or do a genealogy search for your ancestors.
The internet is a treasure trove of educational resources for kids. Browse YouTube to discover instructional videos or try one of hundreds of online games that teach subjects like spelling, grammar or math. Even Google can be a helpful tool for researching reports. You may want to bookmark a list of sites for your child ahead of time or use your browser’s parental controls to filter results.
The Benefits of Breaks
Although it can be tempting to try and fit as much learning as possible into each day, make sure your schedule includes some time for quiet activities and recess. Exercise keeps kids fit and burns off extra energy, allowing them to sit still and focus when needed. Unstructured play is also important for developing healthy problem-solving skills, boosting creativity and supporting mental health.
Break periods are critical for parents as well. Downtime relieves stress, which can quickly build up, especially for those who are working from home themselves. Find support by networking with other moms and dads in similar situations. Make space in your schedule for both you and your child to relax and do something enjoyable each day in between lessons.
Encouraging Educational Excellence
Though it isn’t always easy, homeschooling can be a very rewarding experience. You’ll have the flexibility to participate in activities that may not fit into a traditional schedule and choose a curriculum that reflects your family’s values. With a customized learning plan and the safe, nurturing environment of home, your child will have the tools they need to achieve academic success.