Homeschooling has always felt like more of an alternative option.
So what does one do when school is not an option, and they are left at home wondering and perhaps freaking out about where to start… Breath, we’ve got you covered. As the Education board rolls out new updates, you may find these helpful!
What kind of teacher are you? Miss Honey from Roald Dahl’s Matilda? The all inspiring Ms Frizzle from The Magic Schoolbus?….
Or perhaps you might find yourself identifying more with Edna Krabappel that dates around and drinks on the job (hey no judgment here!)
The most important thing right now is to help our children feel safe, connected, happy and loved.
Across Australia, there are around 20,000 homeschooled students, and the numbers are growing.
With CO-VID19 here, and self-isolation imminent we are all in this together.
We’ve put together 5 simple tips to make homeschooling easier- you’re welcome!
1: Basic Routine
We’re not talking military precision here! However, a basic routine for homeschool is probably your best start. Creating a schedule for you and your children that caters for structured activities and (just as important) free time.
Get your kids involved in making the “school” timetable.
We follow the Australian curriculum of the literacy and numeracy block in the morning.
We have a play break then regroup to do something fun and creative, sporty or investigative.
Creating a routine is important for a number of reasons. This structure helps children feel more secure, and you’ll most likely find better behaved too! There is a feeling of safety when things are predictable, and expectations understood. The benefits extend from social-emotional to learning- if children are anxious and distressed, their brain will not be open to learning. Research shows that anxiety impacts a student’s working memory, making it difficult to learn and retain information. The anxious student works and thinks less efficiently, which significantly affects the student’s learning capability.(link)
2 Have Fun!
While playing teacher and being responsible for your child’s learning might seem daunting and perhaps something you had never considered- pause,- This can be fun! For everyone!
The idea that you are going to be teaching your child/ren for 6-8rs a day is a myth that needs to be debunked quickly. The ratio of parent/carer to child is small, so there is more time for one-on-one focussed learning, and you will be surprised by what can be achieved. So what do you teach and how the heck do you teach it?
A great way to include literacy is to read every morning. Independent reading if your chlid/ren is able, and also parent reading to the child. This can be storybooks, Reading eggs, flashcards etc.
A few basic ideas include:
Writing. Journals are great. Procedures- for example, cooking together and then recording the experience step by step. If your children are upper primary get them to write a persuasive letter- anything from “Why kids should have more screen time” to “Why it is a good idea to eat chocolate” there are no limits, and it’s guaranteed to bring a few laughs!
Handwriting could be practising letter formations. It doesn’t have to be limited to paper and pencil. This can be in the sand, in the fog on the shower screen, painting, in shaving foam.
Maths: Time. Money, Number. Shapes. Play card games, games with dice. Even snakes and ladders can be used for maths- counting on, number recognition! There are loads of free resources online and even some programs where kids can jump on an iPad or computer and “play maths” on screen!
Spend quality time baking, creating, drawing, laughing, PLAYING is essential. Any images of 1950’s teaching in rows with repetition- adios!
Research passion projects. The inquiry-based learning model. As a curriculum approach, inquiry-based learning builds from a natural process of inquiry in which students experience a ‘need to know’ that motivates and deepens learning. What a great time to connect with your child by learning about something that interests them! Bonus, your child will be much more engaged and WANT to be learning!
According to the Harvard Business Review article “Curiosity Is As Important As Intelligence“, fostering student curiosity builds their capacity for flexible thinking and the ability to handle complex problems.
3 Be Flexible
There will be days where schooling is not a priority. If you are feeling stressed or the anxiety is looming, back it off. Pause. Your child’s mental health is more important than ANYTHING. The same goes for you!
Flexibility also extends to learning. If the kids are really enjoying an activity, if they are engaged and it’s taking longer than you originally planned- go with it!
Work out what your child’s currency is! Consider trade-offs – x amount of reading/writing = x amount of screen time. The more positive experiences, rewards, and praise, the better.
Physical activities are a must! Chances are isolation will bring restlessness, frustration and the possibility of children climbing the walls and swinging from the rafters!
Health experts across the globe report that exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.
4 Opportunity for Life skills!
The bonus of not having to get kids TO school, the mad dash for breakfast, making school lunches, washing uniforms, packing bags is time. Time to slow down, breath and mindfully spend on learning other valuable tools. Yep, life skills.
Learning how to make breakfast, help prepare a meal, cleaning (parents unite! lol)
Changing a tyre, washing the car, Planting, growing, Washing dishes/ clothes loading the dishwasher-
Computer- hey, they might teach you! The list is endless.
All of these are important skills that sometimes get skipped or pushed aside can be given the attention they deserve. It’s all part of learning how to human in our world and nurturing independence.
5 Be consistent.
Just like real teachers, there will be lessons or learning times that will be complete flops. There will be learning times that are fun. Either way, consistency is key. Connectedness in this crazy time is essential. We can connect with our kids through being present, learning together, participating in planned activities and sharing our time. The beauty of teaching is that you don’t need to know all of the answers. You can learn on the job! If you need help, ask! We have included a list of handy resources.
Handy resources- share
https://fearlesshomeschool.com/quick-start-homeschooling/ loads of resources including template and more info about homeschooling