The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected economies, industries, and businesses and disrupted people’s daily routines. With schools temporarily shutting down in certain areas to avoid being exposed to the virus, parents have suddenly become teachers. They are trying to navigate the ins and outs of distance learning.
As lockdowns and safety measures are still being enforced, quarantine routines of households have involved children getting used to their new classrooms: their home. Meanwhile, parents now have to balance their domestic lives, work, and new roles as teachers.
To the new homeschooling parents out there, here are some tips that can help you get into the rhythm of structured learning—today’s new normal. Let’s get started!
Homeschooling Tips in the Time of COVID-19
- Set a clear schedule
Just because you’re homeschooling your child doesn’t mean you must follow the standard school hours. Observe what time of the day your child focuses best. Like adults, some children prefer to study in the morning or afternoon. Children have their own rhythms—it’s best if you follow it to maximize their learning sessions.
Moreover, you don’t have to spend exactly an hour or so per subject when homeschooling. Sometimes, 30 to 45 minutes is enough to retain the student’s attention and keep them on track with their lessons, though make sure to include breaks in between lessons.
- Have a routine at home
If your child is used to watching YouTube videos or playing games on their devices every day since the quarantine started, try to enforce a schedule or routine that would help the homeschooling situation easier. Schedule when your children can do independent studying and when they should study under parental supervision.
You can also schedule their TV or gadget time, limit it to a number of hours per day, and assign a learning space separate from their play area or where their toys are to avoid distractions. Additionally, you can decide with your spouse on who will handle which subjects. For instance, mom can take on Science, Math, and Arts while dad can handle English, History, or Physical Education.
- Establish a tidy workspace
Much like how having a dedicated workspace keeps you motivated and productive now that you’re probably working from home, a dedicated and tidy place for learning sessions is helpful for both students and parents.
Whether it’s working at the dining table or the play table in their room, make sure to keep the space clean to enhance their focus on studying and help them mentally prepare for it. You can include cleaning up in your routine before “school” starts to condition themselves that they’re “going” to school.
- Make learning interesting
Making learning fun and finding the joy in it can help your homeschool sessions a lot more absorbing. Take this opportunity to give your laptop or MacBook a break and learn together in different ways. Apart from worksheets and modules, you can make science a lot more fun and engaging by conducting experiments or painting recycled bottles and other materials during art time.
For older kids, you can look into online resources like Khan Academy for further readings or tutorials. Allow your kids to be creative and help them find the best way to learn and express their knowledge. Just ensure that it still ties with the objectives of the lessons.
- When they get frustrated, just stop
Know that the situation today is stressful as it is, and without your child having the freedom to bike or play outdoors, they’ll find the homeschooling setup frustrating, especially for kids who are not built for it.
If your child is having a difficult time keeping up with school work and tears are getting involved, take it as a sign that the lesson is over. You’ll only waste time and energy carrying on if your child is having trouble focusing and continuing with the lessons. Just call it a day, give your child rest, and continue tomorrow.
- Have patience
Finally, it’s essential to have patience when homeschooling your kids. There are days that you’ll find challenging, and times when you’ll want to quit. But, take a breather and just start over. Find peace and solace in the fact that for now, you are your children’s best teacher and schoolmate. Take this chance to make memories together and connect with them on a deeper level.
Wrapping it up
This new norm of distance learning can be overwhelming and stressful, especially for parents who are new to homeschooling their kids. You may feel the pressure of recreating school at home, but know that the best way to make this work is by finding the structure and system that works best for your kids.
Homeschooling during this pandemic will allow you to teach your kids about different things and build up the rapport between you and the teachers. In the end, if you refuse to adapt to the change, you will end up lagging behind, or nature will force you to adapt.