Homeschooling tips

homeschool tips

pictured: my son taking advantage of the nice weather and working on his history schoolwork in the backyard

If you are in a school district which happens to be closed due to the current shelter-in-place orders, you are now a temporary member of the homeschool community! Also, if you are interested in homeschooling long-term, these tips work for you too! Welcome!

Although my kids are currently enrolled in public school, I used to have two of my kids in an online school. I home-schooled through an online school for a total of five year, so I am well versed in the home-school world. Even better, since my kids attended an online school, we know how to handle the current school-from-home environment children are experiencing across the country right now.

If your school district is acting the same as ours, your children are home until mid-April. Teachers are creating lesson plans, using online learning environments, and utilizing virtual classrooms as we speak. Many children have already started learning online from home, while others are waiting for direction from teachers and school districts. It may seem overwhelming to you and your children, and your nerves may be high; but never fear! This is an easy way to learn with a little organization, and self-motivation, to stay focused and maximize your time during this trying time.

Chances are, your children have very little distractions right now since the majority of extra-curricular activities have been temporarily cancelled during this time of social distancing. This allows ample time for children to adapt to online learning, and concentrate on working on lessons from home.

Without further ado, here are my homeschooling tips for kids currently learning from home!

Create a quiet space

Find a spot in your home where your kids can go to school. If you have a home office, spare room, guest room, formal dining room, or other location in your house away from other people, turn it into a temporary classroom.

Make sure you have a desk, card table, table, or other desk-like surface, with a comfortable chair, for your child to set up a classroom.

Make the area look school-ish. Grab a mug from the kitchen and place pencils, pens, and scissors inside of it. Also grab a tape dispenser, stapler, ruler and other supplies your child may need. Take these items and place them on the desk, card table, or table your child will use for school.  Also, if you have a globe, place it on the side of the desk or table to help create a classroom vibe.

Make the space look kid-friendly. You can even hang up their artwork on the wall to make it more comfortable. The environment your child learns in needs to look like their own. If it looks like a pristine, stuffy, formal dining room, they won’t feel comfortable and relaxed. It needs to have a classroom vibe.

Give your kids a laptop or computer to use

You child will need access to a laptop, or desktop computer in order to do their schoolwork. Make sure they have ample access to one in order to watch virtual lectures, and access Google classroom as well as other digital tools.

If you don’t have a computer, laptop or other needed supplies for your child to be able to learn from home, contact your school district. Schools are providing meals and supplies to those who need them.

Keep a regular school schedule.

If your child normally wakes up at 7am, keep waking them up at 7am. Keep the same food routine, hygiene routine, and sleep schedule. This will keep your kids on track, and feeling a sense of normalcy. Of course, they can still wear fuzzy slippers or pajamas to homeschool, I mean, why not enjoy that small perk?

Stay organized

Make sure your child keeps a checklist with all assignments and due dates. They may be given assignments all at once, or periodically. This means your child will need to manage his/her time to ensure assignments are turned in on the right date, and completed in a timely manner. Help your child spread out their workload and meet deadlines. This is great training for college since teachers may be giving them a weekly syllabus! I have my kids keep a checklist in a journal, and label each assignment with it’s due date. There is a great sense of accomplishment every time you check something off the list as complete.

Keep your child moving

You may, or may not, get PE homework during this time. If your child’s PE teacher does not leave exercises to do from home, make sure your child takes a daily walk, jog, or plays in the backyard. Keeping your child moving will not only help them to stay healthy, it will help them keep their spirits up.

Socialize at a distance

No, I don’t mean planning in-person play-dates. You can create a free account on Zoom, and have virtual, video meet-ups! Your child can schedule video conferences with his/her friends for up to 40 minutes on Zoom. They can also FaceTime each other, or use Skype. With video conferencing tools or video chat tools, they can see each others’ faces, and chit-chat about anything, and everything! Encourage them to plan these meet-ups and stay in touch with their friends. They’ll enjoy seeing their friends faces, and hearing their voices.

Lastly, support your child

Your child may feel sad about being at home without friends and teachers. On the bright side, your child will still have email, and possibly phone access to their teachers. But if they need immediate help with a lesson or assignment, be patient and help them out. They will appreciate your help.

That’s it! Homeschooling is pretty easy and stress-free as long as you stay organized, and stick to your checklist. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have via the comment section below, or through email.

Thanks for stopping by!