Is it possible to homeschool if you’ve never done it before? In a word, yes. Can ordinary parents find the patience? Absolutely, but it takes some practice. Students can get a great deal of value from home-schooling with parents who are grounded and supportive. The brain needs to be in a calm state in order to absorb information – not so easy when the COVID-19 disaster has everyone’s underlying stresses triggered! To help you out, here are four tips to help students to get the most out of homeschooling during the COVID-19 lockdown:
1. Parents, Know Your Limitations
Parents are emotionally invested in the outcome of their children’s learning. This is obviously a good thing, but it can make it difficult to teach because there is an emotional response to success and failure. If homeschooling is driving a wedge between parents and children, there is no shame in acknowledging that it’s not working.
If this is the case in your household, look at online tutoring as an alternative. One of the most important aspects of excellent parenting lies in identifying what is healthy and constructive, and what is best outsourced. If you spend more time feeling frustrated, it’s almost a guarantee the children are not absorbing information.
2. Ready Your Routine
During lockdown, the days flow endlessly into nights and new days, and it’s easy to get lost in a sea of timelessness. Help your children to find structure and routine as this will make it easier to concentrate on school work. The best way to do this is to have a loose order of events for each day – get dressed (never stay in your sleeping clothes), brush hair and teeth, have breakfast together, and then focus on school work.
Allow your children to have regular breaks. A five-minute breather every 45 minutes can help the brain to renew its focus. Every two hours, have a snack, some water, and a stretch outdoors (if you have access to a garden). Finish school work and allow leisure time before chores. This structure will keep children in a hardworking mindset and it will prevent idle boredom.
3. Set A Schoolwork Schedule
To prevent time wasted during “lesson times” have a schoolwork schedule. Look at the workload you want to cover in a week and divide it equally among each of the five school days. Instead of working according to a rigid routine, you can work according to goals. Teach children how to reward themselves with a break after they have achieved a certain amount of tasks. Maintain some flexibility – if frustration levels rise high with difficult tasks, a break may be the best answer.
4. Breathe Better
The brain needs oxygen, meaning students need fresh air in order to focus and engage with learning materials. One of the best ways to get a child to sit still for longer is to boost how much oxygen their brain is receiving. A few star-jumps, running on the spot, and other high-impact exercises like skipping-rope exercises can get the blood flowing faster in next to no time. This can also burn off the excess energy that seems to power every young body so vigorously. Have regular five-minute exercise breaks during the school day to keep the brain well-fed and full of happy endorphins.
Learning during lockdown should be as stress-free an experience as possible. While your child’s education is important, academic information can always be caught up later on. Mental health is critical too, so follow the tips above to keep your family as happy and healthy as possible during this difficult time.