Do you suddenly find yourself homeschooling your child via e-learning after local schools closed due to the Coronavirus? This is a strange time in our country’s history. In my lifetime, schools have never been shut down for this length of time with no end in site. Parents want their children to have the best education possible. While the need to stay home and stay healthy is obvious, parents may feel extremely overwhelmed with everything right now. Fortunately, this is one small thing I can help with, because we homeschooled our children and we also did public school online. We’ve had them in private school and in public school. I can see the situation from all sides of the equation. Here are my emergency homeschool tips.
Our Homeschooling Journey
We started our children’s schooling the way most parents do. We put our children in the church preschool and then on to kindergarten at the local public school. I was happy with the schools where we lived. They were top-rated schools.
During that time, I wrote articles for my local newspaper and was tasked with interviewing a woman in a nearby town who was trying to get an old fashioned village started. She and I clicked and she told me she homeschooled. I’d honestly never heard of that before, and I probably asked her ten million questions, all of which she answered patiently. I tucked the info into the back of my mind, but God was already tugging at my heartstrings.
When we moved, I first tried a private school. I wasn’t happy. Finally, we decided to homeschool. What a journey it was. Our youngest daughter did a mix of curriculum, even doing online public school for her freshman and senior years of high school.
Along the way, I picked up advice from moms much more experienced than I, but also through trial and error. I hope these tips help you through the next few weeks. Who knows, you might decide you love homeschool and want to continue when the COVID-19 outbreak ends.
Emergency Homeschool Tips
So you need some emergency homeschool tips? Here are the best ones I have.
Be Patient with You and Your Kids
I’m going to admit something to you – homeschooling is hard! There were times when I would walk outside and cry. It isn’t easy to deal with kids who don’t want to do their work and fight you every step of the way. I had one who did her work like a dream and one who would spend all day long at the dining room table and refuse to do a single bit of it.
One thing I learned was to be patient. Kids learn at different speeds and so do you. This e-learning, schooling at home is new for you. It’s also new for the teachers and the directions may not be up to par. Do the best you can and if you and your child don’t understand something, let the teacher know.
Take Frequent Breaks
Homeschooling is also exhausting. Unless your child is in first grade, you may be asked to teach concepts you don’t remember or barely got through the first time. Take breaks as you need them. Your brain will thank you and the entire process will be easier.
Stop and bake some cookies. Play a board game that requires use of math skills, such as Monopoly.
Don’t feel like you have to sit and do work from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. because those are the hours the school kept. I’m going to let you in on a secret. School (public or private) is filled with interruptions. There isn’t as much work done during the day as you think. Even moving students from say art class to computer class takes time. Add in the fact that little Johnny interrupts the teacher every five minutes and the day is filled with distractions.
You will likely finish the work in a fraction of the time it normally takes. Use the schedule that works best for your family. Do math in the morning, read a book before lunch, do a history lesson after lunch and finish up with science in the evening. Make it a family activity.
Get Online Help
Don’t understand a concept? Either phone or email your child’s teacher or seek online tutoring. Sites such as Chegg.com and tutoring sites sell packages where students can get direct help from a tutor. Purple Math is a good site for math tips.
When in Doubt, Ask
If you aren’t sure how to handle some aspect of homeschooling, reach out to the homeschool community. Many of us would love to give you advice or even just lend an ear. We know it’s hard and you didn’t plan on homeschooling right now. We want to do our part to help our fellow Americans through this time.
Ask homeschoolers you know. Don’t be embarrassed. Trust me that we’ve all been at the “bang your head into the wall” stage with our kids. We are here for you. Feel free to email me or comment below.
Homeschooling Multiple Age Groups
What if you have a high schooler, a middle schooler and a kindergartener? It’s hard to school all those ages. My girls were fairly close in age, but some tips I picked up from other homeschool moms with multiple age groups included:
- Have the older kids tutor the younger ones. It reinforces the basic concepts for them and gives you a break. You can reward them with extra screen time or even pay them a little.
- Hire a tutor for the harder subjects. Obviously, you can’t have someone in your home right now, so it will have to be done online.
- Allow children to figure out what they can on their own. Let them discover how fun self-learning can be. If they ask for help, encourage them to re-read the text and try to figure it out but to let you know if they still don’t understand. If they come back again, give them an example but don’t directly answer the question for them. Do your best to guide them to self-learning both now and in the future.
Make Learning Fun Again
One advantage of having your kids at home (and hopefully you are off work and have some extra time, too) is that you can make learning fun for them. If you’re told to read a book and write a report, then have your child read the book and put on a play about it. Turn math drills into competitive games. Figure out how to make learning fun and exciting for all of you. You may just walk away from this experience with some wonderful memories of the time spent together learning and laughing.
Leave a comment below if you have concerns or questions or just need to vent some frustration. We will all get through this strange new world and come out better for it.