With many Victorians set to re-enter the homeschool classroom, we thought you’d appreciate some tips that may help you through to…at least recess anyway.
1. Set a routine. This isn’t necessarily a school schedule, but more to consider what your day is going to look like and enable you to work to a plan. Get up at the same time every day (the body clock thrives on this), have breakfast, get dressed and make your bed (it’s more important than you think).
Make sure you don’t forget about weekends. When you spend a lot of time inside it’s easy for one day to blur into the next. Try to make your weekends feel different. Cook pancakes for breakfast, go for a walk around the block and make sure you give the kids time off from the ‘school tasks’.
2. Create a positive environment. Most of us aren’t trained educators but it’s important that we try to give this our best effort. The kids will look to us for support and guidance. Try to be positive, give praise, acknowledge effort, and give your kids feedback where possible. Remember that they’re new to this too and that a pat on the back goes a long way.
Your working environment will also play a big part in the success across the next few weeks. Think about how you like your workspace to be when you’re at work. Kids are no different. Everything from noise, lighting, and room temperature – right down to how comfortable your chair is – will play a big part in your student/s being able to switch on to the task at hand. Understandably, every home environment will be different, just try to do the best you can with what you’ve got.
Parent tip: My five-year-old Preppie responds extremely well to being able to use her special pencils, textas, glue stick and scissors that only come out during our ‘home learning’ time 😉.
3. Make individual tasks short and sharp. Students don’t work solidly for hours on end at school so don’t try for that at home. Remember their day is broken up into play, conversations, breaks etc. You will get more out of your child in a 15-minute conversation/lesson on numbers when reading letterbox numbers on a walk than you would if you asked them to sit and do a 45-minute maths lesson. Take some initiative from tip 1 and schedule some set work and play times into your daily routine.
4. Keep in touch with teachers and school. Options available to parents will differ from school to school but it’s important to find out how you are able to keep in contact with your child’s teacher and the school. This may include email, phone, school apps and even uploading work to receive feedback. Our kids need to see and hear their teachers so if you have these options available to you make use of them. Don’t feel obligated to complete all tasks. Home schooling can be very daunting, and schools know not every family has the capacity to sit with their kids and dedicate a large portion of time to homeschooling whilst balancing their own workload. Quality over quantity is the key here.
5. Mix it up! Mix things up and ensure your kids are having the chance to try lots of things. Try arts and crafts, music, board games, reading, maths, write letters to friends and family, bake a cake or conduct a science experiment. There are countless options (use Google for inspiration) but make sure you keep the kids involved in making the decision by letting them choose between a few tasks. Work up to rewards and things they can do independently once they have completed something you would like them to do.
And above all else…don’t forget to breathe! You’ve got this!!