Homeschooling During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Coping Tips For Parents and Kids
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools almost all across the globe to shut their doors. However, with an array of digital platforms offering innovative educational programmes, homeschooling is changing our approach towards education.
Coronavirus pandemic has put forth immense challenges on mankind that were once unimaginable. Life has changed for the people of Singapore ever since circuit breaker measures were put in place on 7 April. Families are locked inside their homes, businesses have shut down—limited to only essential services, and schools have shut their doors for at least a month now.
With so much uncertainty, people and especially parents are scuffling with this question: What does the future hold for our children and how do we continue to provide them with quality education with during this COVID-19 pandemic, while not forgetting about their mental well-being too?
This brings us to the topic of homeschooling. Homeschooling during a pandemic has proved to be an excellent option to ensure that your kid’s learning continues. Dr. James Hatten, Instructor, Ph.D. University of Minnesota says that during the current times, the goal for online learning is to help students remain engaged academically to retain the knowledge that they’ve gained throughout the year.
The absence of a full-time teacher and a change in the learning environment like shifting from a physical to a virtual classroom might be quite challenging for both, parents and their kids. Parents have one more thing to be concerned about, while the children have to get used to learning without their classmates and teachers present physically. During this time, it is important that you check in on your child’s mental health and be sure not to overburden them with too much work. Also, keep tabs on how they are coping without their friends and be there for their emotional needs.
However, there are plenty of parents who successfully homeschool their kids and are happy with the outcome. Therefore, to help you and your child cope with this transition, here are some key points that will assist you to make homeschooling during COVID-19 a delightful affair for both, parents and kids.
Create a suitable homeschooling study schedule to suit your kid’s requirement
Create a study schedule for homeschooling, it need not be exactly like the eight-hour one followed in school. Your kid might have received academic coursework from school for different subjects. Create a schedule that’s convenient for you and your kid. Distribute the activities accordingly. For example, complete study assignments in the morning and save practical and fun activities for the afternoon. Also, help your kid realize the expectations as per the grade level. Make sure that your kid feels safe and confident enough to do their best with the distant learning program provided by the teacher.
Take breaks between lessons
Homeschooling comes with its own set of challenges. Besides the hard work and dedication, the kid experiences a totally new environment quite different from the traditional one. Make sure that you and your kid are taking breaks between lessons. Breaks help to improve study performance, reduce stress, increase focus and help retain information. Encourage your kid to stretch, get up and move around during the break. This can re-energise the body and clear the mind. However, ensure that the breaks are not longer than 15 to 20 minutes. Longer breaks can make it difficult to get your kid back into study mode.
Include fun activities and virtual field trips
Supplement the homeschooling curriculum with some fun elements and virtual field trips. Based on whether your kid is in preschool, primary school or secondary school, design some fun activities with an educational task involved in it. Create meaningful experiences. For example, provide a topic with sub-questions and instruct him or her to provide the necessary answers. A lot of free virtual field trips are available on the internet. You can select the appropriate ones based on your kid’s age.
Acknowledge your kid’s effort and encourage them
Accepting the new learning environment might take some time for both, parents and their kids. However, as a parent, you must motivate them. Whenever your kids excel at a particular task, u must appreciate and encourage them to continue with the efforts. Online learning is a step-by-step process and us parents shouldn’t yell at them and lose patience; in case the kids are not being able to meet our expectations.
Help your kids nurture friendship through a digital medium
The current lockdown situation can take a toll on your kid’s current friendship, especially if your kid is studying in middle school or high school. The sudden transition from traditional school to homeschool might lead to friendships being strained but this does not mean that you cannot do anything to stop this! Although it might require a little more effort, you can help your child maintain his or her friendship even when you start homeschooling during a pandemic! Discuss with your kid’s friends’ parents and arrange for online meetups via video calls. They can have fun by carrying out activities together online, social media, etc.
Focus on supporting mental health and positive attitude
Ensure that you maintain a positive attitude and support the mental wellbeing of your kid. Switching abruptly to homeschooling from the traditional one can be quite daunting for the parent and the kid. Kids cannot think or reason while in stress or when overwhelmed with emotions. Being locked inside the home can create havoc in a kid’s mind and subject him or her to immense stress. As a parent as well as your kid’s teacher, it is highly crucial to empathize with your kid. Design a set of calming strategies that you might be needing. Teach your kid social-emotional skills. Include relaxation exercises and yoga in your routine and encourage your kid to listen to anxiety relief songs freely available on the internet.
Before proceeding with academics, make sure that your kid is mentally well and is in a positive state of mind. We hope these tips will serve you well when you start on your journey of homeschooling during a pandemic.