By Heather Underhill

If you’ve come looking for tips on schooling at home then you’re like most of the United States (and many other countries) who suddenly have kids at home to minimize the spread of Covid-19. Overnight, many families saw a major shift in their routines as parents were now working from home and overseeing their kids’ educational needs as well.  

 I have been home educating my three children for 17 years so my heart goes out to all the families who have suddenly seen a total turn around in their usual way of life.  

I would like to offer a few of my top tips for making the best of these uncertain days.

1. Communicate with Teachers

Talk to your child’s school so you know what assignments they need to complete and by when. If they need to log into a computer class be sure you and your child know how to do that before the online instruction is about to begin.  

2. Workspace for Schooling at Home

Provide a designated workspace for each of your children. Many kids and teens need an area free of distractions, so you may find it best to set up separate spaces in different rooms. Keep your youngest children closest to where you will be since they will likely need the most assistance.

3. Set a Schedule

Your child is used to a predictable schedule so keeping even a loose schedule at home will help them, especially if your child is feeling anxious. Set up time when you will be available to help your children with their work. If they have online classes to attend, set alarms to go off 10 minutes prior to the class start time. That way they won’t miss the meeting. 

4. The Right Attitude

Choose gratitude over grumbling. The attitude you choose as a parent will set the tone for how your family will deal with disappointments, fears and frustrations in the weeks ahead. Give your family a regular time to discuss their feelings about the situation and to share things that they are thankful for.

5. Set Limits

Limit your child’s exposure to the news. Set screen time boundaries and offer fun alternatives. For example, painting, listening to music or an audiobook, acting out a story, walking, calling a Grandparent, playing a card or board game, writing a letter or baking some cookies. Our kids may feel like so much has been taken away from them so be sure to fill the gap with memory-making activities.

6. Playtime is Essential

If your school has not given your child specific assignments to do (or those assignments are brief) there are TONS of options to keep your child’s brain engaged. Staying engaged and focused will keep returning to school from being an academic struggle. Be careful not to overfill your child’s day with structured plans but rather choose wisely and allow for free playtime. Children need playtime in order to process all the input they’re getting during lessons.

Some examples might include taking a virtual field trip, conducting fun experiments with household items, taking a walk around the block where you look for signs of spring, or playing some games together. SimplyFun games fulfill the need for brain stimulation as well as the need we all have to connect with our families in fun ways. Some of our family’s favorites are Marble Matrix, Ice Tumble, Crystal Cup Rally, Walk The Dogs and Acorn Paws

7. Connect with Each Other

Due to this time of isolation, most children will be missing extended family, friends, teachers, and coaches. Help your child find ways to reach out to loved ones through email, cards, phone calls, and video chats. Try having your child ask some Chat Ring questions over the phone to a friend or relative. This is a great way to encourage deeper conversations.

8. Offer Reassurance

Remind yourself and your kids that this is temporary and that we are all in this together. Smile and make eye contact with your child as you reassure them often. Give plenty of hugs. Make a play promise to put aside all distractions and sit down and play with your child every day. Schooling at home doesn’t have to be a headache!

Looking for more homeschooling ideas? Check out this post on Gameschooling!