And just like that, we’re all homeschoolers! Who would have thought? Here are 5 top tips from expert homeschooling parents who willfully chose this path and have been doing it for many years.
Set up designated space just for them
Set aside a specific part of your home for learning so that when your child sits there, their brain gets ‘in the zone”. Your kitchen table could be a good spot, especially if you’re working from home and have to juggle teaching, keeping your kids out of trouble, and doing your job. A learning space can make it easier for everyone to transition from school work to other activities and to keep some boundaries between the many activities getting blurred together right now.
Write a rough plan for the day
Too little structure is just as overwhelming as too much structure, but a rhythm for the day will give you a nice flow and the ability to set and manage expectations.
With your child, write a rough plan for the day including exercise and rest time. With their input, they’ll likely be keener to stick to the plan.
Keep in touch with your school
By now you have probably figured out how to make direct contact with your child’s teacher whether it be via email or another method. If you’re having any concerns, get in contact with the teacher and he/she will no doubt give you peace of mind that you’re on the right track or that everything WILL be ok!
Perhaps a little pep-talk from the teacher is all you need to give you some clarity and motivation.
You don’t need to homeschool all day long
Anyone who homeschools full time will tell you schools spend less time on learning than you might think. With the intense, focussed one-on-one attention, a child at home will probably only need a couple of hours of homeschooling per day to achieve their learning goals. So by lunchtime, you should be able to hang your boots up! Only to put on another type of shoe ;p
Gimmicks For Getting in the Learning Headspace
- pack their full homeschool recess, lunch and crunch & sip
- get dressed in their school uniform
- pack their school bag with laptop, worksheets etc
- walk through the front door at 9am
- write a journal of what they learned that day
- Facetime a friend at the end of each day to debrief on what they learned
Free Online Lessons
COVID-19 has opened up access to free education like never before. Here are just a few we’ve come across:
Physical Activity (PE)
There are some great online options for kids exercise including programs by Sam Woods, Go Noodle, PE Joe and more.
Galleries and museums across the world are offering free virtual tours. Take your kids on a virtual excursion. Google has also put the collections of many galleries online to explore. Kids can also learn to draw with famous children’s book illustrator Mo Willems, or older kids might like to try out their design skills on Canva.
Drama and Dance
Local businesses across the globe, who have previously only offered classes in their local area are now going virtual – check out drama lessons from places like The Playhouse in NSW, or dance lessons from Dance Unlimited in Augusta, USA. Try searching online to find lessons streamed from interesting places across the globe.
English (Reading and Storytelling)
There are plenty of places to find reading activities online. Time Magazine has released a free digital library for kids, including worksheets and quizzes. Audible has made a range of kids’ books free online – a great activity for the kids to do while you work. You can also have famous people read to your kids at Story Line. Both Reading Eggs and Reading Express are great resources for literacy skills – many students will have a free account from their school, or you can sign up for a free trial.
Mathletics is full of fun online maths activities for all ages. Again, many students will have a free account from school, or they offer a free trial. Minecraft is also offering a free education edition and you can find other free educational games at Break Out Edu. If your kids are into Harry Potter, they can visit a Digital Escape Room from a Public Library in Pennsylvania for a fun maths challenge.
General Education and lesson plans
You can find a range of lessons from ABC Education on a huge range of subjects. For kid-friendly news (and lessons) they can visit (and watch) ABC’s BTN, where they can also find stories that explain COVID 19 in ways kids can understand. You can also find a range of Apps and websites for students with special needs, and Playschool is a great resource for those with little kids.