Teaching Kids At Home? Houston Realtor Shares Homeschooling Tips
As the new coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads, parents have found themselves in uncharted territories. For those parents fortunate to have a job that allows you to now work from home, find themselves also adjusting homeschooling their children as well with the closure of schools around the country. For parents that are facing this unexpected homeschool situation, I have to tell you, ‘It’s going to be okay.’
You may be thinking that I have it all down by now because I have been homeschooling my two teenage daughters for the last three years. Well, with the COVID-19 outbreak, our routine has changed some. As it turns out, I now take turns homeschooling my elementary age stepsons since their mother has an “essential” job.
As a Realtor that works from home and homeschools four children, I will tell you that it’s not always perfect. So here are a few Do’s and Don’ts that have helped our family.
1. Do-Find a Routine that Works for You.
Create a schedule that you and your child can stick with. Children are used to a routine at school. Their lives have been disrupted too. This an emotional time for your student so be patient as you find a comfortable routine. Get dressed for the day. You will find that you will be more motivated to work if you are dressed for the day instead of sitting around in your pajamas all day. (Yes, I know that sounds so tempting, but trust me, you will be less productive.) Eat a healthy breakfast. Have your student do a few age-appropriate chores to get them moving. Take care of your pressing work-related issues first so your attention is not divided between work and school. You can have your student read quietly to get them started while you take care of work emails, phone calls, etc.
2. Do-Create a Fun Learning Environment.
You don’t have to sit at your kitchen table for seven hours straight with your student. Homeschool does not have to be like public school. Aim for two to four hours of learning instead. Be creative with lessons. Get outside and have your student write their spelling words or math problems on the pavement with chalk. Create a poster related to the subject your student is learning.
3. Do-Have Realistic Expectations.
All of our daily routines have been interrupted. It’s okay if you cannot stick to a schedule that you may have laid out for yourself initially. I am NOT a morning person and I don’t expect my children to be either. It’s okay to start learning later in the morning. We usually start learning around 10am every day, sometimes it’s earlier and sometimes it’s later. However, the earlier you start the earlier you will be finished for the day and then can devote your time elsewhere.
4. Do-Pace Yourself.
Your student may have a lot of assignments that will require your help, especially with younger children. So it’s okay if the household chores are ignored for a while. You don’t have to be Super Mom (or Dad.)
5. Do-Be Flexible.
Let your student pick which lesson they want to start with for the day. Know that not everyone learns at the same pace. Some students will need more help than others. Online learning can be a challenge for some students. If your student is feeling stressed, take a break from learning. Go for a walk, ride bikes, play games in the backyard. If you need to take a real break from school to regain some mental peace, then don’t do school at all for the day. It’s okay. You will be able to catch up later. Cuddle up on the couch your student and read a book or watch a movie with your student. You can even be sneaky and watch an educational film. There are loads of documentaries on YouTube and Amazon or other sources.
6. Do-Talk with Your Student about Expectations.
Since they are at home learning and you are at home working, there will be a need for some quiet times when you are making work-related phone calls. Let your child know that when you are done then they can go back to singing their “Mamma Mia” montage’ at the top of their lungs again as soon as you’re done.