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We Interviewed a homeschooling advocate, mom of 2 and retired public school teacher, Leslie from @elementaryexplorers, to ask her how we could keep our sanity while homeschooling the kiddos during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
Here are 5 things you can do to keep this new homeschooling venture under control:
This is a common mistake we can all relate to. Trying to give the kids a sense of continuum and routine while they are shifting to do the learning at home. But as Leslie says, “I think the success comes from parents who are passionate about teaching their kids.” Why? Because even though the curriculum and schedules are great in a school setting, at home, your role is to promote the love of learning. Kids who are taught to have fun while learning tend to spend more time doing so. So, just be yourself, don’t stress about replacing their teachers, and use your parenting tools and skills instead to teach them new things.
Do you remember those long days sitting at a desk trying to stay awake in class and not absorbing any of the information? Well, chances are our kiddos are just as resistant to a tight schedule as we were.
Leslie explains that “the key to having a schedule is to be consistently flexible with your schedule.” This means adapting lessons and school time to your child’s age, interests, ability to focus on a particular day, etc. Some days might be more chaotic or more about playtime, while others may start with a school project that lasts for hours (we can dream, right?!). Scheduling times for different activities might be a great idea to keep things on track, but if your kids are not receptive to writing an essay or reading the alphabet today, there is nothing wrong about trying again tomorrow.
Just as trying to run everything on too tight of a schedule can be problematic, being inflexible with the curriculum or trying to reach a certain milestone could be the reason why your homeschooling experience implodes.
Leslie warns from her experience: “I was reading the instructions and I kind of overloaded myself with a lot of expectations and then overloaded [my son] with a lot of extra work.” The goal is to make sure they are spending their days being productive, but you want to keep the whole experience positive and promote their love of learning. So, don’t push yourself too hard and don’t compare your kiddos to their friends. You want to foster a happy learning experience.
Yes, we know! It might feel unrealistic, especially if you have multiple kids, don’t have a partner to pitch in or just feel that there are not enough hours in the day!
But the truth is homeschooling comes in many different forms. Leslie recommends to “give yourself credit for spending that time with them one-on-one and truly teaching them, even though it doesn’t seem like you’re doing something fancy.” Something as simple as reading a book is a learning experience. So, try to keep the learning activities simple and don’t sign the kids up for too many kinds of things. It will help you have down time during the day and allow for them to have some “independent play,” which means down time for yourself.
I see you, mamas, frantically trying to create the perfect homeschooling room, buying the entire stock of paint from Amazon, or just feeling guilty for not having the latest cool homeschooling “thing.” Well, here is the secret straight from our homeschooling veteran Leslie: “That’s kind of weird, but the motivation for all of this is to spend time with family.” Stop stressing about what is next, what you “need” or an unrealistic to-do list, and just start sharing some cool, fun times with them. They are learning by doing and repeating what YOU do. So, the best way is to keep things simple, like grabbing a book, playing a board game (Monopoly is the best Economy class EVER!) or baking a cake… And teach them the LOVE OF LEARNING!.
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