Homeschooling: You've Got This
The first thing to say on this subject is – you can do this.
Just remember; you are not a teacher and no one is expecting you to be. However, in what are truly exceptional circumstances, we all must pull together and give it our best shot.
So, we have compiled some ideas that will help you to occupy and educate the children while you try to keep up with your own work.
Find Your Own Way
There are two basic approaches to tackling home schooling. You can take a more structured approach, or you can adopt an autonomous mindset to your “teaching”.
Neither is wrong, it is a purely personal preference and will likely depend on the age and stage of your children.
A structured approach involves following, where possible, the school timetable and curriculum. This will tie in with the work sent home by the school and help with reintegration when the children return to full-time education.
If you prefer a slightly more relaxed approach your teaching, enabling the children to learn by exploration and their own endeavours - by all means give it a shot.
Neither approach is wrong and it is unlikely your children will fall to far behind either way.
Plan Your Week
Whatever approach you take it will be worth crafting a plan.
This may seem obvious - and is almost certainly something you do on a regular basis at work - but the scope of your weekly work schedule needs to include a teaching plan.
Take some time to plan your week and include you children in this. Ask them about the tasks they want to cover and when they would normally do them at school. This is going to be hard enough, but if you are following a less structured approach and you have to spend time thinking up the next task while you have phone calls to make and emails to answer it is going to become a nightmare.
Perhaps on a Sunday afternoon, just sit down with the kids and all the resources you have home from the school and plan out what the week looks like.
It is important to try and maintain some level of routine even if you are adopting a more child-autonomy approach. We’re not suggesting they have to turn up to the dining room ‘desk’ with a school uniform on but look at maintaining a break time and lunchtime will help structure their day. Try to have a finishing time around normal school hours and give the kids a break.
Remember, they’re not “workin’ nine to five”.
There is a general rule of thumb that you should focus on the core subjects; maths and English. While this is obviously very important, you need to leave some room for creativity.
While this is not everyone’s strong suit - and there is a reason we are not all teachers - challenging the creative side of their little minds will keep them occupied for quite a while. However, be prepared for the mess and don’t get stressed out about it.
Perhaps you could help them feel at home in this new school by creating a new school badge. Ask them to name the school and design the uniform.
For the slightly older kids look at gamification. How can you encourage a bit of competition with a prize at the end?
Creative learning, while it may not seem like learning to you and I, is what inspires the mind and retains their attention.
You could of course take it to the next level and introduce them to the real world as this ingenious mother tried to do with an educational plan centred around housework!
Encouragement is key
Your kids will be finding this every bit as weird as you are finding it. While you are maybe juggling a number of issues in terms of work and other stresses, it is important your children feel they are doing well.
Encourage them and reward success. Remember growth is success and they will all be at different levels that you perhaps don’t quite grasp. So be patient and keep up the positivity.
Remember also that you are not there to give them the answers. You are there to help them discover and learn. Make sure you are asking open ended questions and get them to tell you what they have uncovered. They will love to give you a report on what they have learnt, perhaps you can help them pull together a Powerpoint that they can present.
Maximise your resources
There are lots of resources out there and your kids will probably know most of them. Depending on their age you will need to find the right online resource, but a few good examples include:
Also, try using Skype, Zoom or Teams to help them keep up with their classmates, it could be a very lonely time for many children when they don’t get to see their friends.
You will do a great job
This is completely alien to most of us so keep in mind that you will not always know what you are doing. You will need help and support from your teachers and you will do a great job.
Try and add some structure to your day, include the kids in the decisions, and make it as fun as you can.