Homeschooling poses a myriad of challenges, and teachers understand them quite well. Want to know what advice they’d give you? Then, listen up…
Homeschooling has been thrust upon many unsuspecting parents in the last 12 months. Not only has the change been sudden and unexpected, it’s come and gone, and come back again with a fair degree of uncertainty.
Firstly, it’s important to say well done to all the parents out there for knuckling down and doing their best under very trying circumstances.
As a new semester starts and many schools around the country are still closed, it might be helpful to start looking at a few issues you might be experiencing if you’re homeschooling your kids.
Homeschooling—whether a permanent choice for your kids or a just-for-now reaction to the COVID-19 crisis— can be tough, and you need to prepare yourself for what might come. It’s about so much more than following lesson plans and getting the right grades at the end of the school year.
Here’s a look at the top 5 things teachers want you to know about homeschooling. These tips will make your life easier, and your kids happier:
Build A Teaching Relationship With Your Child
You already have a relationship with your child (parent to kid). This is a brilliant foundation upon which to build a relationship as teacher to pupil too. This relationship is slightly different, but it’s still based on mutual respect and understanding.
Motivating a child to learn is all about striking a balance between following the homeschooling method or curriculum and inspiring them to enjoy the subject.
Think back to your schooling days. The teachers you remember the most are the ones who invested in you on a personal level.
No matter how unqualified you may feel to be a teacher, you can build on your relationship with your child because you’re already invested in them on a personal level.
You can strengthen your relationship even more as you explore the world of homeschooling together. Let your child know you’re filling the role of a teacher and discuss what this means. You’ll foster a new form of respect and forge an even stronger bond.
Don’t Forget About Friends
The socialization aspect of school is one thing that homeschooling can never mimic. Studies have shown that children who interact with people of different ages from a young age are usually better adjusted adults than those who only interact with peers in their age bracket.
This is often why homeschooled children seem more mature—they’re spending most of their time with their parents, learning to interact with adults and not only other children.
However, children need close friends their own age as they grow up. These peers understand what they are going through in terms of development.
If you’re homeschooling, it’s essential that you build up a tribe of other families with kids of a similar age. Families who are friends with other families give kids and adults the best of both worlds.
Accept The Need For Supervision
You can’t expect children, especially those under the age of 10, to sit and learn on their own all day. They need supervision, sometimes constantly, to get through their lessons. This means that you go through the school day with them, sometimes even when they have online classes where the teacher talks to the pupils via videoconferencing.
After the age of 10, you can probably enjoy some time away from school yourself, as your kids learn to be more independent. It’s important to monitor their progress and test the waters by leaving them to study on their own. They will need to get used to the transition of having parents watching over them to sitting at home with so many distractions.
Remember, they’re used to the distinction of relaxing at home and working at school.
You can help children recognize its work time by creating a dedicated schooling area or room that’s only used for lessons. Set up a computer, an inkjet printer just in case, books, pens, pencils, and any other equipment they need, and give them a comfortable chair.
You can put educational posters on the wall too. This helps them slip into the school mindset and stay focused during lessons.
Teach Them About Learning, Not Topics
People used to think about schooling as if children were empty vessels that teachers filled with information. This pedagogical notion is quite old-fashioned. The idea of a child just absorbing information as if they had no other thoughts simply isn’t realistic.
Children are curious and want to explore. Their minds are ripe for absorbing information, but they want to understand it and see how things work. They have their own opinions and insights too, and these can affect how they view what they are told.
The role of the teacher—at school or at home—is to teach children how to learn so that they can explore concepts and ideas on their own. If you can spark a fire of interest, your child will always enjoy learning and growing, even as they get older and leave educational institutions behind.
Yes, there is often a specific curriculum to complete. However, giving your kids the tools for learning and a thirst for knowledge will help them retain the information they need to become successful lifelong learners and self-motivated individuals.
Lead By Example
Talking about passion for learning, it’s up to you to encourage this. The best way to do so is to show your own passion for learning.
If you aren’t interested in a subject, it’ll be very difficult to get your child to sit down and study it. They’ll pick up on your boredom or restlessness immediately. This time of homeschooling is not easy for you or for them, especially if it’s not your choice and you feel out of your depth.
Try to avoid showing discomfort and be eager about what you’re learning together.
Another element of leading by example is to watch the rules regarding screen time and the use of technology. It’s a good idea to set up a schedule with rules for all members of the family about how to conduct themselves during working and schooling hours.
Additionally, you can set rules and boundaries for leisure time too.
If you can show your children what self-discipline looks like, they’ll be more likely to strive to achieve it while homeschooling.
Homeschooling can be hugely rewarding for parents and children alike. We just need to adapt our thinking and learn from what teachers have to tell us. In the end, everyone benefits.
Alisa Taylor: Editor at large and content monster, Alisa Taylor, shares awesome vibes and magic words wherever she drops her ink. She often focuses on business, graphic design, and education topics but is always looking to broaden her knowledge and expertise. On her off time, she loves hiking trails with her dogs or reading a great book with a glass of white wine.