Guest Post by Daniel Sherwin, DadSolo.com
In March, your kids left school for spring break sure to return 10 days later. 6 months have passed, and school still hasn’t fully opened. You are suddenly a homeschool family, and you’re trying desperately to figure out how to navigate your child’s education and free time while yourself trying to work from home.
Does this sound familiar? It’s a common story throughout the world. Here are a few ways to ensure that your story is streamlined without destroying your budget.
Make sure you have the right technology.
Technology is the cornerstone of the virtual schooling experience. This is one area that you will want to invest, even if it puts a dent in your budget. Fortunately, you can use Staples coupons and discounts from this and other big-box stores to save money on things like laptops, tablets, and wireless headphones.
With the right devices, your child will be able to seamlessly log in to their Google Classroom (or online platform of their school district’s choice). They’ll also have access to online activities that can keep them busy while you work. There are plenty of educational games available; Skillcrush lists 15 free coding games that will help kids of all ages understand the basic premise behind different programming languages.
Integrate learning activities into their day.
Children’s minds work differently than ours. They are constantly trying to make sense of the world around them. Try designing your home and day around learning activities that don’t feel like classwork. You might, for example, use your White Loft growth chart as a way to open up a discussion about biology. Kids between the ages of six and 12, the demographic that’s likely to need your help the most as you virtual school, grow quickly, and they might wonder why.
Plan to take plenty of breaks together, which will both increase your productivity and give their brain a moment to pause so that they can reset their thoughts when they get back to their math work. You can do things like prepare and eat lunch, go for a walk, or spend a few hours in the afternoon hunting for animal tracks, which are all free activities that open up an academic conversation that can help keep them on track.
Set up a quiet workspace for you and the kids.
There’s one universal truth to working at home while teaching children, and that is that you all need your space. Wired magazine explains that comfort is essential, and eliminating distractions is crucial. Before you try to dive headfirst into school and work, make sure everyone has a space to call their own. This does not have to be a full office set up, and something as inexpensive as a lap desk and a floor pillow may be all you need.
Keep distractions to a minimum, and make sure to offer your children plenty of options for activities they can do if they get stuck without having to interrupt your workday. Examples might be reading, watching a Netflix documentary, or drawing a picture.
Important things to remember
- Everyone is frustrated. Don’t take it out on your children, and don’t feel guilty about walking away when you need a moment alone.
- Their teachers are doing their best. Most school districts have teachers working around the clock to provide educational materials and opportunities for the kids. Remember that this is an unprecedented situation and, as difficult as communication may be during this time, your children’s teachers and school administrators are doing their best.
- It’s okay to fail. In the early days of your homeschooling adventure, there might be missed work, poorly-understood assignments, or other snags. This can be difficult for perfectionist families, but keep in mind that this is a learning curve for everyone, and a few bad grades is not the end of the world.
As a parent, you want the best for your children. And, right now, virtual education is the wisest (and possibly only) option. But it is not without its potential downsides. However, with a bit of preparation and a positive mindset, you can get through it with your – and your children’s – sanity intact.
Guest Post by Daniel Sherwin, DadSolo.com