Resourceful homeschooling tips & daily reminders from professional educator & Newtown Discovery Preschool Director, Kelly Mulligan.
Due to recent unforeseen events, you’re most likely finding yourself in the position of educating your child at home. We know this can certainly seem overwhelming at times, and that’s why we’re here to help.
While you may not be able to mimic some of your child’s learning experiences at school, we thought it would be useful to provide some teaching strategies to help your family survive, and perhaps even thrive, in this situation. Parents, you got this!
First, think about the academic goals your child is set to achieve while they are at home. These will differ depending on whether your child is in preschool, elementary school, middle school, or high school. If your child is school age, hopefully your school district is providing a plethora of resources to support your child’s distance learning journey.
For all ages, you want them to emerge from this experience with their love of learning intact (or refreshed), and have them feeling a sense of ownership over their education. After all, as I tell my own kids, you learn for you, not for others. The overall goal is to help them succeed and to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Positive Attitudes & Roles
Years from now, we will look back and see the silver lining from all of this. For example, how amazing educators today are coming together to offer families endless support and advice without blinking an eye. Everyone is in the same boat. We are all in this together and it will be a great learning experience when we look back years to come.
As a parent, you’ll want to take the role of a cheerleader, rather than taskmaster. You’re there to help guide and facilitate your child’s learning without making it feel like they’re at boot camp and this is a drill. If something isn’t working, stop and try something else. This is the time to experiment with different types of learning.
Set Up a Cozy & Creative Place for Learning
One way to make this a little more fun is to set up a new, special work space for your kids somewhere in your home. Find a corner, clear away clutter, find some new notebooks, cover some folders with stickers – whatever joy you can muster to signal that this is a new adventure. We want this temporary learning experience to be a positive memory for them.
Establish a Routine
Setting goals might help you build a daily routine, but if it doesn’t, there’s other options to get you in the groove. Here’s some tips & reminders that could help you build a daily routine that works for your child (and you)!
A few hours of instruction is enough and it doesn’t always have to be consecutive.
Try to accomplish the most challenging subject first thing in the morning.
Balance and breaks are important. Don’t forget to set aside time in your routine for a solid lunch break or outside time.
You don’t have to work on every subject every day. If you child is enjoying what they are working on and wants more time, roll with it!
If you’re a parent working from home – try planning a quiet activity such as reading or naps time in the afternoon for a solid block of time to focus on work.
Reminder: “Getting off track” will happen sometimes and that’s okay. The overall goal is to touch base with a new or familiar subject each day and keep moving forward.
Standards & Expectations
Unfortunately, measuring success will be extremely challenging. You won’t have access to assessments your child’s teacher would normally be giving them throughout these next several months. Again, that’s okay. Just remember to stay focused – your priority is to get through this time without losing enthusiasm for learning or adversely affecting your family’s relationships. Change can be scary and in the middle of a crisis, a half filled in math worksheet might be a serious win. Keep in mind that every child’s needs and abilities are different. Have realistic expectations and don’t forget to celebrate the little victories in learning!
Focus on the Basics
Mental health and love of learning are more important than any assignment. There will be messes, tears, anxiety and times of uncertainty when things feel out of control. Fresh air and exercise is key! Get out as much as you can with your children to get a break and reset.
Lastly, use this time to slow down and fully be present. Take a time to read together, have meaningful conversations at the dinner table, play games, create art and build memories. You do that, and your children will no doubt learn and grow, while feeling emotionally safe until the world goes back to normal.