I have no idea how to homeschool! School closures have a lot of parents feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Can I help them maintain their current academic momentum?
How am I going to parent, continue to do my job, and now teach my children? Where do I create a work space for me as well as an effective learning environment for my kids? What if their progress is hindered simply because life has been thrown out of its normal rhythm?
How to homeschool: 5 tips
The concept of how to homeschool is new to most moms and dads. Here are some important tips for maintaining peace and productivity, for your children and for you.
1. Remain calm.
You are not in this alone. See this season for what it is: an opportunity to invest in your children like never before. Reach out to others whose experience and encouragement can empower you to embrace it. You don’t have to be an expert in any particular subject, to foster a love of learning in your child. Peace, patience, and positivity can be powerful motivators.
Even if you’ve never done this sort of thing before and you have no idea how to homeschool, you can trust your instincts about what your child needs. No one knows your child like you do.
2. Home is where we live, love, and learn.
For many of us, home is not the academic classroom our children are used to occupying. But it is a place where growth, development, and learning are fostered. Use the extra hours your children are home with you to your advantage.
There is no need to run yourself ragged trying to replicate their normal school schedule. Feel free to switch up the days and timeframes of their typical school days when you’re figuring out how to homeschool for your family’s needs. Inviting their opinions and ideas about how the days should be organized is one of the best ways to ignite enthusiasm for learning at home.
Think cooperation, not control. If a Monday through Friday school schedule doesn’t fit right now, and different days will work better for your family during this time, embrace the change.
3. Discuss and set clear expectations together.
There is no need to try and figure out a new routine and rhythm for how to homeschool all on your own. Call a family meeting and collaborate with your children. Find out what matters most to them. Let them help in differentiating this new adventure from their previous experience by choosing to create something new.
Together, come up with a plan that works for every family member. It could include focused learning time, helping out around the house, and periods of rest and relaxation so your children can reset before getting back to business.
Talk as a family unit about setting some new and different expectations now that school is happening at home. No matter your child’s age or stage, the idea is to come up with and agree on a routine that works for everyone.
Then give it a try, but hold everything with an open hand. This routine can change if it’s not working for you. And if you find yourself frustrated or micromanaging everyone, it needs to change! If you have older students, ask them how you can best support them. Then step back, monitor, and motivate.
4. Settle into a slower pace.
The regular, fast-paced hustle and bustle of life looks a lot different these days, and families have had to downshift to get used to this new normal. And that will help you as you learn how to homeschool as well.
This season is giving all of us the opportunity to connect, grow, and learn by spending more time together. As a family, celebrate and appreciate the blessing of a new and different pace of life.
Now that you don’t have to rush out the door to make it to school on time, your family might find that having a slightly later start time is actually more efficient. Could you use that extra hour before everyone gets up to do what is important for you?
Quiet time, a Bible study, or a walk outside to enjoy nature are some great ways to steady yourself before the day begins. And they can help fill your tank before you pour out for your family.
5. What we know of love begins at home.
Our homes are much different environments than school. Once you get accustomed to how to homeschool, you’ll find being home can remove a lot of the normal pressures and stress our children experience inside their classrooms, cafeterias, or playgrounds.
Your students can find joy and freedom just by being at home. Here are some ideas that will foster learning, and love, inside your home.
Give your child the option to choose a work space that suits their personality and meets their learning needs.
Nowhere is it written that students learn best sitting in desks with a teacher talking at the front of the room. Some work better while standing, moving, or carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration. Reducing visual distractions or listening to music can also steady young minds that tend to wander.
Connect as a family by reading aloud together.
If you have more than one child, have older children read to younger siblings. There is a long list of literacy benefits, like helping your student develop stronger vocabulary and building connections between the spoken and written word. But reading aloud also promotes bonding and strengthens the connection between family members.
There are a myriad of benefits from spending time outside in nature and not being holed up in your house taking care of business all day. Yes, the business is important, but our hearts and souls need to be taken care of as well. And there is no better place to do this than outside enjoying creation and the natural wonders of the world … together.
Don’t forget the most important lesson
It’s so easy to focus on the negative aspects of our days instead of the mercies and possibilities that come with each new morning. There are so many beautiful and wonderful blessings that we can call out to keep a more consistent focus on gratitude during this time.
So take every opportunity to steer your conversations with your kids toward hope. Make sure they know what a blessing they are to you, and encourage them to be a blessing to others.
If you need support and community as you navigate this new season of doing school at home with your children, be sure to check out Erin’s video series, The Heroic Homeschooler.
Copyright © 2020 by Erin Weidemann. All rights reserved.
Erin Weidemann is the founder of Truth Becomes Her, a brand that equips moms and women with resources to help them step into their unique leadership roles. A sought-after education consultant, certified teacher, coach, and nationally-recognized speaker, Erin’s personal mission is to shift the conversation around feminine values from being beauty-driven, to a focus on inherent worth. An on-air personality for Air1 Radio, Erin delivers “59 Seconds of Hope” daily as well as hosts the Heroes for Her Podcast where she interviews positive female role models who are living out their passions in-line with their personal values. Find her on instagram @erin.weidemann and Facebook @ErinWeidemannOfficial.