Regardless of whether you’re homeschooling your child due to the pandemic or have made a choice yourself, it can be a daunting task. Even for me, studying at home as part of my university education has proven to be more complex than I had initially anticipated. Nonetheless, here are 5 crucial tips to help you create the best homeschooling experience for your children.
Implement a schedule
I’ve probably come close to belabouring the point about planning, but its importance should not be understated. Depending on how old your children are and how much attention they require, schedules should be drafted to account for such needs. Basic blocks such as shared mealtimes and bedtimes should be clearly demarcated and standardized. Other timeslots for work and play alike (bonding time too, if you are working from home alongside your children) can be arranged on a day-to-day basis. By planning out your day, you introduce a sense of routine and stability to your daily activities. This allows you to cater to your children’s lives and your own at a steady and reasonable pace.
While it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to communicate with children, getting it right will go a long way. For homeschooling, clearly explaining your schedules to your children will align everyone’s expectations with each other. This might comprise informing your children about the parts of the day (1) where you will be very busy with work, (2) when they are expected to complete the assigned tasks, or (3) when their playtime is during the day. Try to include important details, such as what tasks or situations your children should be informing you about or what they can do while waiting for you to be freed up. Perhaps most importantly, communicate your affection and your appreciation for your children’s patience and cooperation.
Provide holistic learning
As educators, the goal of schooling a child is not merely to equip them with the academic knowledge but to also prepare them for their own life. Learning your children’s preferences, strengths, and weaknesses is part of curating a learning experience that tailors to them best. Since homeschooling offers versatility beyond that of actual schools, this provides an opportunity to find new and novel ways of instruction. Perhaps instead of asking your child to memorize their notes, you can encourage them to make a PowerPoint presentation to show what they’ve learned. Maybe instead of asking them to analyze the play, you can have your children act it out and understand it from a new perspective. Not only will your homeschooling experience be even more effective, but it will also be a lot more enjoyable.
Plan for play
Many parents make a mistake in not prioritizing play enough, often fearing not giving their children enough academic preparation. These parents do not realize that the value of play is not simply a psychological boost for their children but also a potent learning tool. Having hands-on activities that allow children to explore and understand is excellent for subjects like science, which often require experiments to illustrate concepts. Designing props for subjects like art or literature can invigorate your child’s interest in the matter. Even if your children’s playtime is as simple as letting them play video games, balancing work and play will do wonders for their mental state. This balance will also teach them the importance of schedules and self-discipline.
Comparing yourself with others is a trap that many people find themselves in, exacerbated by the nature of homeschooling. Every child learns at a different pace, and every parent engages with homeschooling at a different pace. The goal should not be creating the flashiest experience or the one that gets the most approval from your peers and family. Instead, it should be done at your speed, convenience, and comfort. Even if you stumble along the way or make mistakes, or have difficult days dealing with your kids, know that you are not alone in your journey. What is essential, and ultimately, enough, is that you try your best to make your child’s homeschooling experience the most enriching you can make it.
As much as you love your children, the prerequisite for taking care of others is making sure you take care of yourself. Make sure that you give enough time to care for your own needs; take adequate breaks, eat healthily, and incorporate exercise into your routine. Your child’s schedule can be used to complement yours; perhaps giving your child designated nap time will allow you a few hours of free time. Time for your child to complete exercises by themselves can provide a small window for you to quickly recharge. Know that your journey, alongside your children, will not be perfect nor easy; be willing to ask others for advice and assistance should the need arise. Remember: the best thing you can do for your child is be the best parent you can be.
Want some new material to help enhance your homeschooling experience? Try out the courses at TransCultural Group that cater to all age groups.