Obviously, we are living in unprecedented times. And for those of us who have school-aged children at home, it’s been particularly stressful trying to navigate this new normal. Most of us mothers are not professional teachers. We have been instructed to teach our children with different online tools, teacher tips, and the like. I’ve seen a few posts from moms saying what a joy it is to be “teaching their kids at home” right now. But I’m sorry, it’s been quite difficult for me. And I know that I’m not alone when I say that. Homeschool tips are not something I ever considered before now. But given the current state of the world, I rely on them from other mothers in the trenches.
The weather has been nice as of late, so sometimes I have the kids take their Zoom meetings in our backyard.
For myself, my kids last went to school on March 8. That was the start of their week of annual spring break. My oldest daughter jokes that “Spring Break was really long this year.” Boy, is she right. I know for certain that my children will not be going back to school until May 4, 2020, at the earliest. But the reality is that they likely won’t return at all this school year. It is beyond our control, and we parents must figure out ways to cope and manage our stress—all while teaching our kids at home as best we can. I feel as if I’ve discovered some homeschool tips that work great for me. And I’m happy to share them with you so maybe they can help you, too!
Here are some homeschool tips I’ve adopted, and I hope they can help you out.
Look, I am no teacher. I do have a lot of patience, but I’m a very creative person. So, conventional teaching methods probably aren’t best suited for me. Think of some other fun things you can do when it comes to teaching at home. And, of course, don’t forgo doing their necessary (and sometimes mandatory) assignments. These are just fun things to sprinkle in that don’t involve your child staring at a computer screen. And the best part is that many of these suggestions you can do as a family. Here are a few of our favorites to do.
My son LOVES art, and it’s something he can do with his sisters, too.
We have impromptu classes for the following subjects. It’s a nice change and switches things up from the ordinary:
- Cooking class: My oldest loves to cook, and with my supervision she’s learned to make many things. She even baked her first cake all by herself—and she’s only nine. When our life returns to “normal,” I’ll be amazed by all the things she can whip up in the kitchen! And she really enjoys us savoring her creations and receiving praise for them.
- Home Ec./Life Skills Class: My children learned how to get slime out of the carpet. Their brother made a mess with it after they left some out. Needless to say, I wasn’t pleased. I had them check YouTube and research how to get the slime out on their own. And it worked wonderfully. Happy mom, happy kids.
- P.E. Class: While we are avoiding parks and practicing social distancing, there are ways we can be active and move our bodies. We do lots of family walks and bike rides, and we also do dance parties at night in our living room sometimes. And my kids take turns walking our dog and pulling each other in a wagon up and down the street. It’s a great way to get moving, and it serves as physical education in my book.
My son is nonverbal and autistic, so it takes some bribery to get him to sit for his class Zoom meetings.
Set a Schedule That Works
Look, not everyone’s kid wakes up at 6:00 a.m., and not everyone’s kid goes to bed at 8:00 p.m. sharp. You have to be realistic so as not to lose your mind. And what works for you might not work for everyone else. For myself, I work from home full-time just as I have for the last eight years. I set my alarm to get up and get on the computer at 6:00 a.m. That way, when my kids are now waking up around 10:00 a.m., I’ve gotten a lot of my work out of the way already for the day. We have to do what we can right now, and many of us can’t even return to work.
I’m super grateful that I can still work. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult now with my husband and three kids at home all day long and no one leaving the house. Do what is best for you, and set a schedule that fits YOUR needs best. This homeschool tip might seem trivial, but it’s important to keep in mind if teachers are trying to set up Zoom meetings, etc., that you simply cannot join. Just remember, a schedule is key to help you maintain your sanity. Plus, it will keep your kids in check when it comes to what they need to do and when they need to be doing it. With reminders, of course.
When it’s time to review their work and what they’ve done, I like to separate myself with each of my girls.
Try to Make Learning Easier on Them
This is a trying situation for all parties involved. Teachers are missing their students ,and parents are feeling overwhelmed. And our children are confused about what is going on. We are all adapting. This is not something that we’ve experienced ever before in our lifetime. At-home school or homeschooling—or whatever you want to call it—is something that many of us parents and teachers are not accustomed to.
For myself, I wanted to find a way to give my kids a way to learn that they were already familiar with. Obviously there are online tools that they knew, so we relied heavily on those in the beginning. But with two school-aged daughters, this was extremely difficult on me as a working professional who requires a computer to work.
I knew that my kids used a Chromebook at school, so I found refurbished one online which they now share and use to do their work. It frees them from using my personal computer, and they know exactly how to work it. So, guess what, they WANT to use it! It’s great because now they are whizzing through assignments, and they like having something that is theirs. It’s a win-win in my book to keep them motivated. We are all doing what we can right now to make the best out of this terrible situation, so hopefully these homeschool tips can help you to maintain your sanity.
Do you have any homeschool tips to share with us that have helped you to navigate this new normal we are living in right now?
We’d love to hear from you! Share with us in the comments section.