If you find yourself unexpectedly educating your children from home due to the coronavirus, welcome. We know this is not the way you had anticipated spending these weeks and months, but we are here to support you in any way we can. We’d like to share with you a few strategies you can implement to support your child’s learning for as long as you find yourself at home.
1. Give grace
Fears are running rampant, parents are stressed, everyone’s normal routine is off. Now is the time to extend grace to yourself and your children.
Your kiddos probably won’t remember much about the sickness. They certainly won’t remember whether or not they got their math assignment turned in on time.
What they will remember was how your home felt. Were their parents swept up in a panic or did they create a cozy time together at home? Was the stress overwhelming, or did their parents model resilience and healthy ways of coping? How you behave and speak to your children as you guide their education in this season probably matters more than what you do.
2. Establish a daily rhythm that meets both you and your kids’ needs
Collaborate with your kids to come up with a basic flow for your day. You don’t need a rigid, down-to-the-minute schedule. In fact, you’re probably better off without one. But coming up with a little structure to guide your days and help everyone know what’s coming next can be a big stress reliever. Here’s one example of a homeschool family’s basic rhythm for their days.
Factor in meal and snack times, study time, time for movement and play, time for togetherness and time to be alone. If you have introverts in your family, an afternoon quiet time where everyone goes to separate rooms to recharge can be a sanity saver.
3. Learning isn’t only found through a textbook
There are lots of ways to learn that don’t involve formal book work. Math skills can be reinforced through board games, card games, blocks and Legos. Arts and crafts like paints or clay are a wonderful outlet for creative expression during times of stress. Puzzles keep hands busy and minds occupied. Don’t discount these activities. Real learning happens through these kinds of play.
4. There’s nothing better than reading to your kids
Homeschoolers have long embraced the idea that reading aloud counts as school. Not only does sharing a book with your kids build the kind of loving connection that helps children weather these stressful times, but it also teaches vocabulary, grows attention spans, and promotes literacy. If the books you have at home aren’t inspiring you, your local library probably has an app you can download to access ebooks, audiobooks and more.
5. Let go of the fear of being behind
Most homeschoolers have lived through a school year where academic progress is derailed by a cross-country move, the birth of a new baby, or an unexpected illness.
What we’ve found is that children are resilient. A few weeks or months where academics are disrupted doesn’t tend to have a lasting impact. In fact, some children might benefit from a break from formal academics.
Instead of worrying about whether your child is falling behind, embrace this season as a time of family togetherness. What special memories can you make together? How can you strengthen bonds of love and support by spending time together in meaningful ways?
This season is stressful for everyone. We pray you find safety, support and peace during these difficult times.
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