Home-schooling is different if you have been planning it, had time to do your research and prepare before diving into it, and if you were thrown into it from one day to another because of the coronavirus outbreak. This article is mainly for those of you who didn’t plan on or expect this scenario. Giving practical advice is also hard because while the situation is similar, most of the countries have closed schools, resources and opportunities vary greatly from country to country. In some countries, moving the entire school into the virtual space is manageable, while in others it is nearly impossible. So we collected the advice that can be applied regardless of where you are.
1 – The Kick-off Family Meeting
If you feel like having no idea what is going on and everything is a big chaos, imagine how the kids must feel. Of course, they were probably looking forward to not having to go to school, but this situation: no school, but no vacation either, and also having to stay home for apparently no reason probably doesn’t make any sense to them. So what you can do, is have a big family meeting before you start the entire home-schooling project, and discuss the situation. Make it about your family, tell them about what you together are going to do, and set up a new routine. Make them understand that this is not a vacation, they are still “going to school”, even if they are not. Plan these next couple of weeks together, involve them in the process.
2 – Create A Learning Space
If you have ever worked from home office, you know how important it is to have your workspace separated from the rest of the house. It helps you stay productive, because it gives you the feeling of “going to work”, and also helps you enjoy your free time after you finished work, because you are not “playing” in the same space in which you were working 20 minutes before. This works for the kids as well, and even more so. It will help them stay disciplined and somewhat keep the feeling of being at school. You can arrange a desk somewhere, take their school supplies there, and do all you can to make it as school-y as you can.
3 – Make A Schedule
This goes hand in hand with the separate school space at home. Having a fixed schedule is also very important in maintaining the feeling of going to school. Many parents are not only fixing “school hours”, but also make a timetable. You can involve the kids in this as well: let them make their own timetable, chose the order they want to have the “classes”, and make them understand that they still have to stick to the schedule created. But just as in school, keep in mind to have the breaks between “classes”.
4 – Use Online Materials, Use What Social Media Offers
There are many resources available online, which can help you help the kids with the subjects. It’s very challenging for parents, I for example would be in major trouble if I had to help kids with their math. If your school or teachers offer any help online, take it right away! Also, now is the time to put social media to good use: many teachers are offering live classes on various platforms. If you don’t know about any of them, spend some time searching, even if social media wasn’t your thing up until now.
5 – Exercise!
Now that you are not going to just take a walk whenever, wherever, and isolation is a safety standard, exercise become so much more important! There are lots and lots of online classes, and you can also set up a daily exercising routine together with the kids. 30 minutes a day will go a long way. Help the kids stay active and fresh!
+1 Bonus Tip For Yourself: Let Go Of Perfectionism!
You are not a teacher (I mean chances are some of you are, but you know what I mean), you have been caught by surprise, and you were not prepared for this. You have to act in the moment, do the best that you can, and that is that. Don’t panic if things go worse on some days than on others, and don’t think that you have to do it perfectly. Remind yourself as many times as you need, that this is not permanent. It will pass, but this is life: you worry about 1000 things, and the 1001st will happen, one that you never even thought about. There are things you can do to make the best of the situation, but generally everything is uncertain, and there is no “normal” or worse, “perfect” that you have to live up to. Do what your gut feeling tells you is best, and let the rest work itself out.