April 6, 2020

BONUS: Homeschooling Tips

5 tips from a homeschool mom to help you stay sane right now

Many parents have found themselves in the role of work-from-home employee as well as a family entertainer and homeschool teacher.
We asked Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham Member Sharon Hutchinson, a longtime homeschool mom with three kids of her own, to give us her tried-and-true tips for staying sane while educating your children. Here are her five tips to stay sane during this challenging time:

1. Do what works for you and your children. We have over a hundred families that homeschool full time in Richmond County. If you were to poll each one of us, you would find that every single one of us has a different schedule. Spoiler alert: They ALL work.

2. Have a plan, or multiple plans. I have found that it is good for some children to plan their own learning schedule. I have three children and they are all different. One likes to be given a checklist of tasks and a deadline for each task. I have another child that works best when I do “class” with them and my youngest likes me to be hands-on all the time. I accommodate them by doing a little of each style. That way, each child learns to work independently but has some structure.

3. Don’t go into packet panic. Packets are overwhelming for many. Here’s an example of what I do that could be applied to school packets and assignments: Take your child’s assignments and divide them up. For a week, just do assignments and observe your children. The second week, if your children have time-sensitive assignments, do those by the due date. Look through their work and pick the concept or assignments that they can complete easily. Put difficult or new concepts in another pile. Start working through the assignments that require your direct help. The easier or review concepts get put where the child can do them. This way, your time as a teacher is put to the best use, and your child doesn’t get frustrated having to tackle difficult or new concepts by him/herself.

4. Accommodate and take breaks. It is more than likely that your child will not be able to sit through 6-8 continuous hours of educational instruction. Homeschool is usually more focused because there’s only one child in the class. Make accommodations and take breaks! If the kids want to talk about rain cloud patterns in Asia for an hour, let them do it! They are learning all the time.

5. Accept that learning looks different right now. For essential employees who must work and then come home and teach, it’s okay. Most assignments will not take a traditional school day to complete. Please don’t feel like you need to do school every night. The important thing is that they learn, and they will. They’ll also enjoy spending time with you. It doesn’t matter how many hours of the day you spend schooling your child if they are learning. Do what works for your child. It will be different from everyone else. Different isn’t bad! This is a time to really get to explore how your child learns and what they find interesting.