I hear you, the end is nigh, the summer break on the horizon but we need to drag ourselves to the homeschooling finish line. Maybe your kids are slumped over their zoom lessons yawning – or perhaps like me you are not even lucky enough to even have zoom lessons set up for your kids and still having to play teacher instead. Either way, if you need some inspiration to get through the last few weeks of Coronavirus homeschooling then you have come to the right place!
Read on for advice from education expert and founder of Tassomai Murray Morrison plus fellow parenting bloggers on how we can make it to the finish line in the long slog that is Coronavirus homeschooling. WE. CAN. DO. THIS!
If you’re exhausted, stressed and frustrated by the workload, don’t just plough through and add more to your stress. There are other ways that your child can learn, and the quality of homeschooling is anyway going to suffer if you aren’t able to muster the energy.
Pay attention to your own levels of stress and to your own projects and work; let supervised home-work fit around that, if at all.
Look ahead to September and plan for that
Next year is going to be very strange territory, of course. Reduced teaching hours, probably; curriculum skimming, certainly. There will be less time to teach, more material to cover, fewer opportunities to catch up.
Any work your child does now should aim to make next year more manageable – things that build their resilience, determination, enthusiasm for what’s ahead, stamina, focus and physical fitness will mean that they can better learn in class, retain knowledge and work through problems.
These skills are worth more than any worksheets you do between now and September, so think about activities that can develop these.
Emphasise self-directed study
The more that learning activities can be self-directed during Coronavirus homeschooling rather than directly supervised, the greater the benefit in a number of ways. First, most obviously, it liberates your time as a parent if a child can be reading alone, or doing their own craft project. Second, self-directed learning develops those precise skills of concentration and resilience mentioned above. Third, it helps you to transition back into the role of parent and away from home-schooling teacher.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
Another tip, which might sound like laziness but is actually essential to good learning, is to repeat activities and tasks. A task undertaken several times, with increased spacing (time intervals between repetitions) allows core skills to be embedded, develops metacognition (where children gain stronger insights into their own learning process), develops resilience and gives a framework for growth mindset, where children begin to see the value of incremental gains, rather than the end result. Also, they save you a great deal of mental effort and planning, and require less supervision each time.
Take a step back
We all want our children to do the best they can at school, and many will have met that challenge with an admirable – if exhausting – effort in the past few months. Now, in gearing up for some return to normality, I want to say that it’s OK to start taking a step back; in fact, done the right way, you will be doing them a huge favour in the long run.
And now for some Coronavirus homeschooling strategies from fellow parents!
Learn through play
Emma from Readyfreddiego.com recommends going down the route of using Lego more. It seems more like a game to them but you can use it for colours, counting and small physics ideas like forces, building bridges etc. Less arguments for definite!
Plan a field trip
Laura from Dear Bear and Beany suggests going on a school trip to mix things up in the final weeks. Take a list of things for them to spot/do on the trip. Then the next day write about the trip.
Homeschooling driving you totally bonkers? Louise from Pink Pear Bear recommends outsourcing it using a platform called student nannies. Just a few hours a week with a couple of really bright students who are super engaging might be just the ticket.
Manage their emotions
If you have one child back in school and the other still home learning things may have gotten even more tricky for you. Managing emotions around one seeing friends and the other not being able to can be really tough. Claire from Devon With Kids suggests having socially distanced lunchtimes with the friends of the sibling still homeschooling so that they can have more interaction with other children during the day.
Get the whole family involved
Homeschool doesn’t have to be all on you. Beth from www.Twinderelmo.co.uk advocates getting the whole family involved, “My girls had to sketch a sculpture they’d made, so we all had a go and they absolutely loved it – and laughed at my terrible drawing! My husband got rather engrossed but it was a good way to get them motivated and have fun at the same time.”
If you haven’t been doing so already, then www.justeilidh.com offers up learning outside when you can. She promises that just doing maths in the garden makes it seem more fun.
Just do what you can
Daily tasks are okay but projects that build up over a couple of weeks are hard to keep motivated for. Erica at The Incidental Parent champions just doing what you can without it becoming too much of a chore and upsetting everyone. Remember to take a lot of breaks and enjoy spending time together – mental health is also important.
Remember to relax
Have a day off if you feel like you and the kids need it. Most days you might do quite a bit of school work but some days you just need to focus on relaxing and playing and enjoying the time you have together. Learning through play and conversation is important too. Well said A Mum Reviews!
Try something new
….like an online art class! Pinks Charming highly recommends trying out an online art class that you can all do together. “We’ve studied Van Gough (twice) Frida Kahlo, Monet and more! The girls have loved it and have learned lots of tips too. I’ve really enjoyed getting back into painting too.”
Let them choose
If your children are struggling to get motivated, how about using this tactic from Emma-Louise at Even Angels Fall? Try putting together a list of the work they need to do set by the school that week and have them choose which work they would like to do each day, giving them the option to complete it all in a couple of days, giving themselves a longer break for the weekend in the process. It really helps them to see all the tasks and feel the achievement of ticking them off as they go along as well.
Keep boredom at bay
…with a huge list of possible activities which have educational benefits, doesn’t feel like “work” but helps to stave off the boredom. We love this one from our friends at We’re Going On An Adventure.
Think outside the box
If your children aren’t interested in schoolwork, shoot for what they ARE interested in. For Jemma at Thimble and Twig this has meant doing lots of science experiments in the garden and writing work in small chunks on post stick notes because the kids like ripping them off when they’re finished!
So as we count down the final weeks of Coronavirus homeschooling, remember it’s not long now. We’ve all done the best we can, and hopefully, some of the above suggestions will help you get through the final weeks of Coronavirus homeschooling with your sanity intact! Hmmm and then we need to think about how exactly those weeks of summer holiday will work – but that’s a whole other post….