As parents come to terms with the fact that their kids will not be able to go to school for conventional classes for the next few months, having to juggle their daily duties as parents with homeschooling responsibilities won’t be easy.
Luckily, we have sampled a few expert recommendations that might just come in handy to help you keep your little ones learning, happy, healthy, and engaged for the better part of the day.
P.S: Please, do not feel like you have to replace your kid’s teacher. You’re just a parent who wishes to have some form of normalcy for your little ones.
Tips to Home-School Kids During Quarantine
1. Set Consistent Daily Routines
According to most experts, you should have a daily schedule that includes learning time, meals, chores, physical activities, and recreational activities. Your kids are used to having a consistent schedule at school, so crafting one at home will be beneficial for everyone.
You also need to break each day into small chunks, just like schools do with subject times, breaks, and lunch sessions. This will ensure your kids do not feel overwhelmed with what they are doing.
You should, however, be realistic about what you intend to accomplish each day and avoid overloading your kids’ schedules. Try to find a balance between learning time, recreational activities, and family time.
Having a consistent daily schedule will help kids know what to expect next, be it screen time or physical exercises, or even meals. On your part as a parent, you will be able to plan your parental and working from home tasks in advance with a clear picture in mind of how your day is structured.
2. Dedicate Time to Play
After scheduling all the activities that you wish your kids to do, including meals, breaks, and assignments, you should also have time for child-led play. Depending on the age of your kid or kids, have daily 20-30 minute blocks dedicated to their play.
Keep in mind that play and recreational activities relieve the pressure off your little ones, hence giving them some form of normalcy even at a time when the entire family is facing indefinite quarantine.
One piece of advice, though, is to limit your involvement as a parent in your child’s play. Let them play outside together, assuming they have siblings, just like they play with other kids at school. This, however, doesn’t mean they should be unsupervised. You just keep watch once in a while but let them be themselves with their age mates.
3. Schedule Indoor Activities
While kids love the freedom to choose which plays to engage in, they often love the idea of a mom or dad facilitating some of the fun. Come up with some easy-to-do indoor activities that not only engage your kids but also keep them entertained.
There are many easy indoor activities to choose from that aren’t complicated and will not take hours to complete. Some of the recommendations include:
- Toy-Washing: Set up a bin for your kids to wash their plastic toys and tear-free towels, bubbles, and sponges.
- Painting Fun: Find materials you never use and let your kids paint them. I bet you know how much young kids love to paint, and this indoor activity will be perfect for them.
- Post-It Name Match: Write your kids’ favorite names, such as family names or names of their TV show characters on white paper and stick it on the wall. Then write the same names on sticky notes and hide them across the room. Let your kids find them and match the name on the sticky note with the one on the wall. You can make it more fun by having your young kids compete against each other to match all the names.
For more Indoor Activities, check out this list by Susie, it’s simply awesome.
4. Have Time for Family Activities
Just like you often spend some time with your kids after school or on weekends, you should also have time for family activities such as playing board games, cooking together, arts and crafts, telling stories, or building blocks with Legos. In other words, get the whole family engaged with several hands-on skills and activities.
According to experts, parents should share more stories with their children as that helps boost their literacy. The use of toys such as Legos allows your kids to practice and learn skills that use the executive functions of their brains.
5. Limit Screen Time
With most schools now closed, many of them are turning to online activities and TV programs to fill learning gaps. San Diego Unified already announced a partnership with KPBS to offer up to 12 hours of educational TV programs a day. Several districts are also directing parents to websites where they can find educational resources and lesson plans.
However, experts warn that too much screen time can bring more harm than good – even if it’s educational screen time. Keep in mind that the quarantine is just for a few months, at most, and the kids will be back to their normal school routine thereafter. Therefore, it will be very hard for them to readjust if you had given them too much educational screen time.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children aged between 2 and 5 should not have more than one hour of screen time a day, while kids aged 6 and above should have limited consistent screen times.
As a parent, give your kids some room to entertain themselves whichever way they like rather than allowing them unlimited screen time for the better part of the day.
6. Go Outdoors
No one said you shouldn’t go outside at all. The idea is to try and maintain safe social distance. Spend some time outdoors with your kids, which could be in form of hiking, going to the beach, taking nature walks, and even impromptu local field trips.
Such outdoor activities, apart from being educational and good for everybody’s health, will help break the monotony of staying at home. Just ensure you maintain safe social distance and avoid touching places most people touch with bare hands such as handlebars or doorknobs.
7. Resources for Home-schooling
This isn’t a tip but instead, it’s a list of where you can find some important resources for your homeschooling adventure.
- Learn at Home by Scholastic
- Free Wi-Fi Access for Students by Spectrum
- Online Read Alouds by different authors of children’s books
In a nutshell, you can do a lot to ensure your kids are still learning even when schools are closed. The bottom line, though, is to ensure you are not being too strict and overbearing on your kids. Just give them a little freedom especially when it comes to recreational and indoor activities. Plus limit screen time and have a consistent daily routine to make things easier.