One of our members and Chair of our Project Circle Monitoring Committee, Tanya Murphy, very kindly shared with us a list of tips which she has prepared for parents who are now having to homeschool their children. We are sure that many of you will find these tips and resources very helpful. We plan to hold an informal discussion around this topic in the not too distant future so keep an eye out.
As a long time homeschooler, I thought I could share a few tips for those who now find themselves with kids at home :
- Create a positive mindset: Make this homeschool time an opportunity as opposed to a constraint. With this in mind, what are the things the kids can do and learn that they could not when were at school all day? Does one of them really want to learn how to cook or knit or perfect lego castle or perfect baking skills? Now is the time to indulge in hobbies and create new ones.
- Screen time is always a big issue. How much time should we let them stay on their screens (outside of any formal classes), for their social media, games, Youtube and Netflix? I would suggest deciding, with your kids, what is the right amount of time for your kids and you (as in you might NEED your kids online for x number of hours just to give you time!). And then be quite strict about sticking to it.
- Boredom is GOOD. No, of course it is not. But it does lead to creativity. I recall a time recently when my 12 year old had used up his screen time and no friends were available. He sat on the floor and banged a shin on the floor over and over saying “I am bored! I am so bored!” over and over again. Eventually he went into the kitchen and made delicious cinnamon buns. 2 hours later, he was the proudest and happiest boy ever – much more than a 2 hour Netflix binge.
- Projects. Some kids are more creative than others, but as much as possible, get them to think of a project that takes a bit of time… whether it is knitting a jumper or researching something they care about. You want them engaged.
- Collaboration. As much as possible, encourage kids to get together online with their classmates / friends. They can do joint projects or they can just chat, but at least they are engaging with each other and not just their screens.
- Be as relaxed as possible with schedules. They might have to get up for online classes at a certain time, otherwise, let them sleep in. There has to some advantages to staying home all day! and why not have a movie night at 2 pm?
- Your house will be messier than usual. So what? Don’t spend your days policing the additional clutter or mess. There’s enough stress in the world right now without worrying about a messy house.
- These 50 tips from a Canadian economist and ecologist on staying sane during the coronavirus pandemic are very helpful. There are some homeschool resources and other nice ideas.
- There are a lot of homeschool resources online and lots of organizations have created special Covid lists. Just a couple of examples: Audible free books, TED-Ed for schools closure UNESCO, Khan Academy and The Economist Foundation offers great resources for teachers, parents and children. You can sign up to receive a weekly bulletin of fun and engaging activities for kids.
- Enjoy the kids! This really is an opportunity. Hopefully, while there are many horrors going on around us, you will remember this family time as a an opportunity to be together a little more than usual 🙂