So, How To Do This Homeschooling Business?

by Lyn (Children's Ministry)

Posted on April 4th, 2020 ()

Dear Parents,

So, how to do this homeschooling business when you didn’t sign up for it?

First of all, it is important to be gentle on yourself and take care of yourself. Do not get stressed out thinking you need to create the perfect education plan. It will not be the same as the school they were used to. Consider sharing with your children this reality.

This would be the time to be honest and allow our children to grant us grace just as we can give them grace in this new experience. It is like an adventure you are journeying with your children together. Share with the kids why you will be teaching them. Together, work out some expectations and rules. You could start by asking them the expectations their teacher had in class and go from there. When children take part in setting expectations and understand why they are doing what they are doing, it would minimize pushback. (More on expectations and behaviour later)

So how do you get started? Pray! Fear of inadequacy, fear of children’s pushback, or other stresses and worries that trouble your mind. We’ll each face different fears. In Isaiah 41:10, God reminds us that in our fear, HE’S with YOU. HE’S the GOD who will ‘strengthen’ YOU, ‘help’ YOU and ‘uphold’ YOU in HIS right hand. Just as He was with the Israelites and delivered them safely into the promised land, He’s with you in this unprecedented time. Our strength is from the Lord! Share this with your children at this time. Now that you do not have to rush out to take your kids to school, you’ll have a little more time to start your day with prayer.

Next, create a routined schedule. This step is very important if not essential to some children. It provides stability and predictability for a child. When similar routines and expectations are practiced and pre-communicated to your child, problem behaviours can be reduced over time. Here is a guide on how to set your routine from All Belong Center for Inclusive Education. The Keep Learning program from BC’s Ministry of Education also has some tips on how to create a daily routine for kids and teens. Khan Academy has a formal sample schedule for parents to use. The schedule you make will structure the day, however, make sure it reflects how realistically your family can manage in this ever changing landscape. If you cannot personally be available to teach, there are lots of great online lessons that have become available to you in the midst of this pandemic (see resources below). The last thing to remember in your scheduling is to create breaks for both yourself and your children. Not just the bigger chunk of “recess” but little breaks in the midst of hard work. Some children will benefit from a quick mind break or stretch break while doing hard work (see below for resources).

If the idea of “schooling” your children makes your head spin, then consider a learning plan that makes your everyday learning experiences. It’s most likely you have been doing it as it is a very natural part of being a parent. But now you are just a little more intentional about it. When you are doing your devotions bring your child along and read the bible together. When you are cooking or cleaning, bring the kids to do cleaning with you. Not only will the kids be learning essential life skills they are practicing their acts of service within the home. Practice literacy by cuddling together on the couch to read. Take turns reading the book or make funny voices while you read. Ask questions afterwards, like: who are the characters, what was the setting, what problems occurred and how did the problem get resolved. Have your children retell the story. Have them act it out or even turn it into a video! You could even encourage your children to write their own story. BC’s ministry of education has provided some resources for parents in their Keep Learning program. It has some simple ideas of how to inject learning into your daily life under the title “Everyday Learning from Home”.

So how to juggle with work expectations and behaviours? When you start, set lower expectations on how much a child does. If too much pressure is placed on the child before they are ready for it he/she could quickly feel frustrated. You can slowly increase this workload expectation as days and weeks pass. This gradual transition allows kids to build stamina and slowly get used to the new routine. Motivate your kid(s) with encouragement. Look out for all opportunities to praise your child(ren)’s efforts. (e.g. I love how you didn’t give up on that problem. Wow, You worked really hard on question 2. It made me really happy to see how you printed so neatly and tidily). Give your child a quick high-5 for a job well done! Celebrate with your child with a victory dance right after the child has accomplished something hard or a family board game night when a series of goals are met. Giving choices can encourage a child’s participation. Grant closed choices to achieve the same objective. For example, if the objective is for the child to cultivate their literacy skills the choices can be for 20-30 minutes or spend time writing on a topic of choice. Prep your child so that if they choose the first option, that means the day after they are going to have to do the second choice, and vice versa.

When working with multi-age children, it would simplify planning when you focus on one topic for all kids but give age-appropriate activities to the individuals. For example, a younger child can be learning to tell time while the older child learns how to add and subtract time. Both are learning about time but are adjusted to their age level. Having multi-age children allows you to foster an environment where the children can ask each other first before coming to you for help. Encourage the older child to help or even teach something to the younger one. The older child can feel proud when he/she gets to show off what they know! Lastly, have the kids read to each other and give yourself a break for all your job well done!

If you are looking for educational resources for your child(ren). Visit Educational Resources For Parents to see some resources you can use.

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