As a parent that homeschooled for a year, I was open to the entire virtual learning experience. I have a child that was struggling in school and unable to focus in the school environment so this gave me the additional time to help him focus and master things he struggled with. I know that this is stressful for a lot of parents and maybe even hard to balance and juggle everything. But, homebound learning does not have to be stressful and I’m here to give some helpful tips to make things a little easier. I do have a elementary age student so these tips are geared to the younger students.
1. Schedules are great but allow for flexibility. My son has good and bad days and sometimes I have to adjust the schedule for those bad days. He might not want to wake right up and get to learning and that’s okay. I let him have a little free time and then we buckle down to do all of his work. Little kids do get tired and when they’re tired, it’s harder for them to focus. You really have to know your child and the schedule has to be tailored for them. Yes, it’s fun to create those blocked out colorful schedules but it’s good to note a schedule can always be changed.
2. Reach out to your child’s teacher and find out their strengths and weaknesses. Find out what subjects they thrive in and which ones they have a little trouble with. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open with your child’s teacher or teachers. You can even ask for suggestions and the best ways to teach a certain subject. For example, my Kindergartner struggles with counting and grasping sight words. Without having those two skills mastered, it was hard for him to read and even do math. Now, that I’ve worked with him on that, things have become less stressful and easier for us.
3. If your child is struggling with something, use additional resources! All students learn differently and grasp concepts differently. You know your child best so find additional resources to help them. It can be YouTube videos, an app, an online worksheet, a workbook or anything. My son had trouble with sight words so I made him flash cards and even bought a workbook to help him learn his sight words.
4. Breaks are necessary! Kids can get overwhelmed and sometimes a break is needed. You can spend the break drawing, journaling, just talking or anything your child enjoys. When I notice Raylan losing focus, I give him time to draw in his sketchbook and give him a little break from the lesson. Sometimes as a parent, you need a break as well so you’re not frustrated and stressed trying to teach a lesson.
5. Patience is key. This is so cliche but so true. Be patient with the process and be patient with your child. This is easier said than done. I have a lot of moments where I feel impatient and I just have to step away and cool down. I have a child that has some learning difficulties so the learning and teaching process is not always easy as I try to get him to master things. I’ve learned Ray does better when I’m calm, collected and just patient with him.
6. Have a dedicated space for learning! This can be anywhere. A certain room, a dining table, a bed with a lapdesk or wherever. Ray knows that when he sits at the table, it is time for learning. You want to pick a spot where there will be little to no distractions and you have room to work on the assignments. Ray gets easily distracted and we learned that having a dedicated work space for him helps him get focused on the work and interested in the assignments.
7. Understand that kids have big emotions! There is a lot going on and they know that. Things are really weird, as my 6 year old says. Allow them to have breakdowns and give them the tools and reassurance that they need. You may have to play school counselor while homebound learning. Luckily, our school counselor still reaches out to us and gives us a lot of tools and resources to help our little ones. Your kids may be missing their friends, missing their teacher or just having a hard time coping with all of this. Keep the lines of communication open. Ray really missed going to the cafeteria and getting this chocolate muffin so we always go to one of the school meal sites and they have a muffin from time to time and it brightens his day. At the end of each day, I always ask Raylan to tell me the good parts of his day, the things that didn’t go well and if he learned anything new. Your child’s mental and emotional being are keys to success and you have to make sure they are okay.
I hope you all enjoyed reading these tips and I hope homebound learning is going well for you all! If you would like to see my homebound learning, series, check us out on YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXxG5mfytjF1LJrCbfVnlmaX_KG-UiBUJ
Stay safe and love on your little ones, enjoy this time of stillness and togetherness.