Have you suddenly found yourself needing to help one or more children get their schoolwork done at home? As a veteran home-educating mom and teacher, here are my most helpful hacks.
Have a plan. For a lot of kids, knowing what to expect is a huge part of achieving success. Take a look at tomorrow’s assigned work the night before (if you can) so you both know what the morning will look like and what should be tackled first.
Be in agreement about the plan. Give your student some “buy-in” and opportunity to contribute to the plan. Jot it down so everyone remembers the next day.
Take advantage of those first morning hours. They will be the most productive of the day, so don’t squander them on stuff you won’t need to arm-wrestle to get done. 😉 Anything they can do rather independently or will naturally enjoy should be pushed down the list after the things that take more effort.
Quit while you’re ahead. Stop before it turns into a meltdown. If they are totally dissolving emotionally… no learning is happening. No one is winning. Been there. Done that. Your goal? Quit before that happens! Even if it means a jog around the house, a snack, read a chapter in a favorite book, whatever you can do to change the learning climate!
When creating the day’s plan, schedule in your breakfast/snack, time to move their body’s, and an opportunity to give their brain a break and shift gears to something silly or light-hearted for 5 minutes.
If you have elementary-aged kids, try to finish core subjects, at least, by lunch! This may not happen the first few days, but it’s a great goal. If your child’s teacher has meetings/hangouts scheduled in the afternoon, obviously that is out of your control as well. After lunch, however, real learning tapers as their focus wanes. It’s a great time do have them exercising, readings, PLAYING independently or games with you or siblings, and scheduling in some educational and fun media time (especially while you’re getting dinner ready).
Use the same plan. Remembering that realistic expectations = success, try to use the same plan each day. (Review the night before, start with most challenging subjects first, intersperse with something that can be completed quickly for momentum, plan in breaks!)
Even though you’re at home, try to stick to your normal schedule (or a new normal?) for meals, bedtime, etc. Use alarms or timers on your or their phone/device to help out.
This. Is. An. Adjustment. For. Everyone! Try to keep your expectations on the low side, especially the first couple weeks. It’s NOT going to be perfect. Just let that go altogether and focus getting some small victories under your belt. Celebrate with your child when they conquer something (a technology challenge? a math problem?). High fives, hot chocolate, or a five minute brain break would all be welcome. You MIGHT even find some things you really enjoy about helping your child with their school. Their discoveries can be especially sweet, as is hearing their excitement about some new reading they’ve done.
Above all, give yourselves LOTS of GRACE! If it just can’t be done (emotionally, technologically, physically) … call it quits for the moment! Communicate with your child’s teacher(s). This is likely new for them as well! Your feedback and communication will help them refine their plans and content delivery as they understand what is looks like from the other side, especially if you are extending them well-needed grace as well.
Encouragement, exercise, and eating snacks or meals regularly are all helpful for getting through each day with a smile intact. 😀
Blessings on your home-educating endeavor!