Tips for Parents Home Schooling
School closures due to Covid-19 have put pressure on kids, parents, and teachers, uprooting everyone's routines. It's been hard for kids to be away from their friends and all of the socialization that happens at school. Parents have struggled to keep up with work while supporting their kid(s) home schooling. Teachers have been thrown in to a completely different type of teaching and certainly miss their students. As a teacher and a mom, I've experienced all of this as well and find myself in the unique position to share some tips.
Teachers make 3-5 essential agreements with their class at the beginning of the school year. These agreements are made in cooperation with students and facilitate behavior. For example, "We listen to each other. We are caring to each other. We help each other to learn." As parents, we can sit down with our children and make these agreements for home school. We can post these agreements at home and remind our children to follow them. We can congratulate our kids when they do a good job following these agreements. Positive reinforcement is magic!
Pick a Workspace
Pick a workspace and spruce it up together. Children work best when they have consistency: Consistency in space and routine. So pick a place at home together that is comfortable and isn't distracting. Invite your child to help organize the space and even decorate it. By asking your child to help, you are giving them ownership of the process. Ownership is highly motivating!
Make a Routine
Make a routine. As I mentioned before, consistency of place and routine helps children to focus. They will challenge the routine, but be supportive and consistent. Make a schedule that works for you and your child. Plan in breaks and know that young children will need lots of them! At school, teachers write down and display the schedule so that children understand what will happen during the day. Teachers also talk through the schedule with students every morning.
Check your Attitude
Your attitude about home school matters. Your child will be effected, negativity or positively, by your attitude about home schooling. If you are calm, positive, and consistent, this will positively effect your child's attitude as well.
Take Care of Yourself
Take care of yourself too. As a parent, you're being pulled in so many directions right now...so be kind to yourself. Take some alone time if you can, pace yourself, and reach out to family if you need some backup.
Communicate with you kid(s) teachers. Keep your child(s) teachers updated on how things are going and let them know if you or your child have questions, concerns, or are struggling. We may be far away at the moment, but teachers are here to help.
Find ways to regularly celebrate and motivate your child for all of their persistence and hard work. You know your child best and you know what works in terms of celebration. For example, plan a family pizza and game night on Fridays to celebrate all the hard work that week. Make sure to explain to your child that they have worked hard that week and you are celebrating that effort together. Try to use experiences to celebrate more than gifts and treats.