I personally have been a primary teacher for 15 years. I have a kindergartener at home. I feel fortunate to be able to confidently continue his curriculum at home.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate the next few weeks of at-home learning. These suggestions are geared toward the younger grades, but can easily be modified for middle or high school students.
Tips for At-Home Learning:
When Homeschooling, Do What You Can
First and foremost, DO WHAT YOU CAN. I repeat, do what you can. Parents, give yourself a break, take a deep breath, and dive into this new world with as much positivity and open-mindedness as you can. It’ll be OK!
Take Advantage of the Silver Lining
Enjoy this time with your kids. This is unprecedented, and it most likely won’t ever happen again. Make the most of it.
Ask for Help
Ask for help from teacher friends or your child’s school. We teachers are still “on the clock.” Email, call, text, do whatever you need to do. We are happy to help and we WANT you and your child to succeed. Let us help you.
Take It One Day At A Time
Lay out the curriculum one day at a time. Find a quiet spot at home with minimal distractions. No television, no friends. Stock up on the necessary supplies, whether it be the laptop, IPad, or paper, pencil, glue stick and scissors.
Do What You Can
Work through the assignments together. It is OK if you’re lost and confused. Do what we teachers always say to our kids: Just do your best!
Don’t Try to Power Through
Take breaks. For primary students, 15-20 minutes is plenty before taking a brain break. For middle or high school, stick to 30 minutes between breaks. What are brain breaks? Anything that gets your child’s brain to switch off the academics and into movement or relaxation. Stretch, take a short walk, play a quick game, dance around the room, or anything along those lines.
Offer High Fives!
Offer praise and/or small rewards when your child completes a task. Remind your child that you are proud of how hard they are working.
Use Online Resources
Look for additional learning opportunities besides the e-learning or school provided packet. There are TONS of websites that are currently offering free trials and subscriptions. They range from academic to physical activity. A few of my personal favorites are StorylineOnline.net, GoNoodle.com, Scholastic.com and PBSkids.org.
Make Time For Play
Remember that learning does not have to be paper and pencil. Use this time to play board games, work on communication and following directions, bake and cook together, show your child how to properly complete household chores, or just sit and talk together.
Remember that as hard as this is on us parents, it’s hard on your children, too. Many of them did not get to say goodbye to their teachers, which leaves many kids yearning for the closure they did not get. Be patient with your children and be patient with yourself. Take it one assignment at a time. If all else fails, just keep them alive. You got this!
About the Author: Melissa Hamilton is a veteran teacher with 15 years experience in elementary education. She lives in Central Illinois with her husband, son, stepdaughter and one dog. In her free time, she loves working out, traveling, spending time with family and friends, doing home improvement projects and cooking.