Updated: Sep 14
Schools will not fully open again until atleast September 2020. For parents and carers who are homeschooling this news may send shivers down the spine with the thought of yet ANOTHER 12 weeks of juggling work, daily chores along with full responsibility for your childs education. The challenge that at first seemed like a nice change has for many become a daily battle for both parent and child.
Our children are now desperate for the social interactions they innately crave and for a teacher that isn’t multitasking as a chef, cleaner, porter, playmate and nurse. This is why we wanted to find the best tips and advice we could to help you in your homeschooling quest.
We spoke to Arnold Kolaki from Brightteach.com who gave us some really great tips. We have endeavoured to find you advice which we believe will help get your child back engaged and keen to learn… and make your life a little easier.
8 Homeschooling tips to keep your kids engaged
Tip 1 – Don’t give up Homeschooling
However hard it may seem, now is not the time to give up. If things aren’t working then maybe a change in routine and approach is needed. Remember if you are finding it hard they will be aswell.
Tip 2 – Choose a pace which suits your child
One of the benefits of homeschooling is you can go at the pace of your child. If they struggle with a particular topic and it’s becoming an issue to even get them to sit down and try it, offer to start again and go from the beginning to get their confidence back.
Tip 3 – Set a new time table and connect it to some goals
Goalsetting for homeschooling is so important as it can increase your childs motivation to get the work completed. Goals don’t have to be something way off in the future, they can be simply be connected to a weekly timetable. If you are struggling to get them to sit down and engage ask them to create their own timetable and set some goals for the end of the week. Add a reward for the end of the week if they hit their goals.
Tip 4 – Mix it up with project work
This may seem obvious, but your child will become far more engaged if the lesson is fun! Although schools may be sending worksheets out to complete its ok to substitute some of these for project work (it’s ok I asked a teacher and they said it was ok :-)) . To give you some ideas please visit Crashcourse on youtube which offers great alternatives to standard worksheet learning.
Tip 5 – Create an area for homeschooling
This may seem obvious, but lines can become blurred over time and as homeschooling has been going on for some time it’s likely that your original designated area may have moved and merged with some other areas. Creating a specific area for homeschooling away from where you and they chill out, sleep and eat is vital to keep everyone focused at the right time.
Our minds learn to associate specific areas with specific behaviours quickly and without you knowing. If you have started to allow homeschooling to happen in the same places as where you and they chill out, they will end up not being able to fully focus on their work which will reduce engagement. This also works the other way, so if they start working in their bedroom they may start thinking about school work at bedtime.
For those who don’t have a separate room for homeschooling, then even creating an area in the house where only homeschooling happens is a good option.
Tip 6 – Take care of yourself
If you show enthusiasm in your childs work their level of engagement in homeschooling will likely be greater. However your level of enthusiasm will have a lot to do with how you are feeling. Like many parents you will not have signed up to be a homeschooler, you will likely have a job, normal daily stresses and a pandemic to get your head round.
It’s therefore completely normal to not feel the enthusiasm that you want to for your childs work. This is ok, but if on reflection you feel your stress levels are rising and your enthusiasm is falling, it may be time to start to find some time for you and get some self help. We have lots of resources on mindfulness, sleep, and tips from Dr bear which can help you look after yourself during the pandemic so please take a look.
Tip 7 – Buddy your child up with a friend
Children are craving social interaction so getting your child to do some work with a friend online – via zoom or skype is great way to give them a boost. My 9 year loved the chance to be able to do some maths work with her classmate and she started looking forward to it every week.
Tip 8 – Find a good tutor
If you have concerns about your child’s education and you feel they may need an extra boost in a particular area then private tutoring is a good option. Arnold from Brightteach.com matches the specific needs of your child with a tutor and it can all be arranged and taught online. To find out more please visit his website www.brightteach.com
In summary, it’s not an easy time for parents, carers and our children, but the key message is not to give up on homeschooling. Take care of yourself and keep going!
For more information please also listen to our podcast on homeschooling.
Written by Jon Ford