If COVID-19 has taught parents anything, it’s that teachers put in real work to help students learn and achieve. Now that schools are closed, most parents have been asked to take on educational responsibilities that they might not be prepared for. If homeschooling giving you a headache, try these tips to keep yourself and your children on track.
Act Like It’s a School Day
Structure and normalcy are healthy for both children and their parents. It’s actually surprisingly difficult to get work done when you’re still in your pajamas at lunchtime. Get everyone out of bed at a reasonable hour, make breakfast, and add the schoolwork to your other work-from-home responsibilities.
Take Plenty of Breaks
Humans get tired, and children get tired much faster than their parents. One of the talents of a good teacher is the ability to notice when the class is getting bored and move their attention to something more engaging. As a parent, you might not have an arsenal of different activities, but you do have the comforts and amenities of home. Let your kids relax in between study sessions; they’ll come back refreshed, focused, and ready to learn. A good general rule is to take a 15-minute break after every hour of studying or work.
COVID-19 has been stressful for everyone, and that includes your kids. They’ve been pulled out of school and away from their friends; the future looks uncertain, but they’re far too young to react. Under this combination of stressors, you really shouldn’t expect them to perform at their academic best.
Right now, the most important thing is that your kids meet the requirements needed to pass their classes and gain a general understanding of the material. They have a lifetime of education ahead of them, so don’t worry about putting together perfect lectures or touching on every resource the teachers have to offer. Go through the required readings, watch a video or two about each topic, and help your kids complete any work they’ve been assigned.
Remember You’re Not at School
You can’t take the dynamics of a classroom and expect them to work in a home environment. You’re not a teacher, and your kids aren’t in a room with 30 other students. Things are going to play out differently; if you accept this, you and your kids will get more done.
First, recognize that you won’t be able to provide high-quality lectures on every topic. More importantly, you’re not expected to. Take advantage of the resources the teachers provide. If you really want to wow your kids, admit when you’re wrong.
Second, realize that education goes much more quickly when each student can get the individual attention they need. Each day’s lessons and homework should only take a few hours, especially if your children are young. Don’t look for ways to fill that extra time; let your kids enjoy the perks of being the only stars in the classroom.
The key to keeping your stress down while homeschooling is to have reasonable expectations for both yourself and your children. Listen to what the teachers suggest, and don’t push anyone too hard.