Home schooling tips during quarantine - How to get started and the tools you'll need
So, you find yourself stuck at home and doing schoolwork at home with your child for … whatever reason — a weather emergency, a virus quarantine, or something else. Maybe the most you’ve done before is help your child with homework after he gets home.You’re certainly not experienced in helping with remote learning and leading your child in emergency homeschooling, right?
As emergency situations arise, schools may close and you may find yourself homeschooling your child when you didn’t really want to and scramble for child care alternatives or finding ways to stay home and work and home school — all at the same time.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I get it.School at home is something that many of us who homeschool prepared for and most of us weren’t thrown into it due to an emergency.
How to make them focus on school at home?
To focus on school at home, you need to get organized by gathering all your supplies in one area. Also, be sure to remove all the distractions like phones, television, tablets and more.
How To Make a Homework Schedule
- Gather all your study materials in one central area.
- Gather supplies (pens, pencils, laptop, etc.) so you don’t use getting up to find things as an excuse.
- Compile or make a list of all of the assignments.
- Make sure they have wobble chairs to use while studying
- Print off a blank calendar or a daily schedule.
- Spend time documenting (on the calendar or schedule) assignments and when they are due.
- Remove distractions (turn off phones, TVs, tablets, etc.).
- Set a regular study time.
- Regularly take breaks.
Your child is not going to need eight hours to school at home.In fact, if you’re new to a home schooling method, you may be surprised to learn how fast school work will go when you’re completing the work at home with one (or just a few kids). A teacher in a classroom has 20-30 students that he or she is juggling. That creates many distractions and diversions that take a lot longer to get things done.It will not be this way with schoolwork at home.You could feasibly finish up the work for the day in a couple of hours! So, don’t try to stick to the same hours that your kid attends traditional school.
Look for guidance from your school.
Some schools have detailed plans to teach online and for requiring students to work with an online learning program. But … other schools may not. If you can, try to understand how your school develops plans for distance learning before an emergency situation.
Set up a school area.
You have to get (semi) organized to make this run smoothly, so it’s time to convert your dining room, playroom or kitchen table into a learning area! You don’t need an entire homeschool classroom, but it will help save time and sanity if you have a centralized learning area for your at-home learning (a school work area at home!).
Make it a rule that when they’re doing schoolwork, they need to be at your temporary “classroom” location. (They also need to leave all their books and supplies in that one location so they’re easy to find!)This will also allow you to easily glance through their work each day to ensure they’re staying on track.
Create a (relaxed) school schedule
Unless your kids need to be up and ready to log onto an online class or are video conferencing at a specific time, it’s OK to let your kids (and you!) sleep in a little if they want. Also, they really can learn in pajamas, so allow them to have comfortable pajama learning days if they wan! Remember, you’re not trying to recreate exactly what a school day looks like. You’re just trying to make sure you get the assigned work done.It’s a special circumstance, so don’t be afraid to allow for special considerations in getting the work done. It will make all of your lives easier during this time.
Realize that kids learn many different ways.
Just because classes have moved online from your home, it doesn’t mean that you can’t implement some other (fun) ways of learning. Even though it’s required, not all kids are going to love e-learning online or video conferences or just straight worksheet homework.
- Assign self-paced learning games for homework.
- Use documentaries for history and social studies. (Try: PBS, History Channel, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. We REALLY loved The Food That Built America on the History Channel. It’s super interesting and covered a ton of history)
- Use family podcasts to teach a variety of topics. (Try: Wow In The World.) Use audiobooks as well.
- Try painting and arts and crafts! Not only are they relaxing, but they hone skills used for a variety of learning.
- Play board games to practice a variety of skills (math, reading, critical thinking, team building, patience, sharing, and more!).
- Bake or make some fun recipes (and cover subjects like math, reading, and nutrition and skills like critical thinking).
Allow for free time and play
Spend the free time at home studying and playing. It doesn’t have to be all school work all the time. Allow for lots of free play and alone time, too.
Your kids might be stressed, too
Depending on how traumatic the emergency situation, your kids may be in an extremely stressed state. Be prepared for questions and tears and maybe even acting out.Create a calm environment where your kids feel safe. Turn off the news or streaming social media that is constantly talking about the emergency.
Remember that this is a unique, temporary situation for your school and the students.
There are going to be some hiccups and teachers will be forced to be more understanding than usual.
If some of the work feels too overwhelming and your kids seem to not be adjusting well, allow them to skip it for the time being. You can discuss it with the teacher later and make up any assignments that are absolutely required.
Remember, in emergency situations where students are forced to work at home, many schools will add a lot of “extra” because they think this is what students need when they are home. Not completing all of it may be “forgiven” when they get back to school, so don’t be afraid to reach out to the teacher for some counseling.