15th April, 2020

How to Teach your Children at Home (Without Going Crazy)

By Adam B

With schools shut for the foreseeable future, it's fallen upon unsuspecting parents to teach their children at home.

For many, this will take a lot of adapting. Teachers are teachers for a reason. It's a tough job, and the lack of working environment only serves to make it even harder for parents to keep up with their children's education.

We decided to round up some tips and tricks from the homeschooling pros to help you through the coming months.

Put these into practice and you'll be teaching your children at home, whilst staying completely sane at the same time...


Create a routine

One of the key things that school helps to instill in your child is a sense of routine.

They wake up, have breakfast, put their uniform on, and go to school. There, they have a lesson, a break, a lesson, lunch, and so on. Their day is turned into a routine.

This is a useful tip to increase anyone's productivity, but it's especially beneficial for children who might otherwise find their attention wavering.

Knowing what to expect from the day helps your child to settle down and focus on one task at a time. This will make teaching them a lot easier.


But still be flexible

Having said that, it's important that you don't make your routine too rigid. This is a strange situation. It's new for both you and your child, so don't worry if you have to mix things up every now and then.

Mary Sauer, a mother who has been homeschooling her children for several years, says, "the only way we’ve managed to make it work well for our family is by being flexible and open-minded."

This flexible approach means fitting your children's education around your own needs. You have things you need to do too, so make sure you factor time in for those things when creating the routine.


Get creative

caucasian-dad-having-fun-with-daughter

When you teach your children at home, you don't have to follow the formula of lecturing them with a textbook in hand. Chances are, your children will soon grow bored and stop paying attention.

Instead, see this as a unique opportunity to make learning a little different from school lessons.

For example, you could do some baking with your children. Have them calculate the amounts for the different ingredients, and suddenly you're helping them with their Maths.

Go out into the garden and go bug hunting. Have your children analyse the creatures they find and suddenly you're teaching them about Biology.

Think of creative ways you can teach your children, and you'll make your homeschooled lessons far more engaging.


Hire an online tutor

Sometimes you can get a little overwhelmed with teaching your children. That's perfectly normal, and nothing to be ashamed about.

If you feel like you need help, then you could consider hiring an online tutor to give your child some extra support.

Tutorful has thousands of tutors across hundreds of subjects ready and waiting to help supplement your child's education. Start your search for your ideal tutor today.

Your child can even make the most of our innovative online teaching platform, complete with an interactive whiteboard and video calling.


Seek your child's input

It's easy to forget that this is your child's education, not your own. Whilst young children may not see the benefits of learning, as they get older they should start to take a more proactive approach.

If your children are at the age where they take an active interest in their education, then why not involve them when it comes to deciding on lesson content?

Jamie Heston, a board member of the Homeschool Association of California, believes the best approach is to "have your kids make a list of things they'd like to do and learn". You can then narrow it down from there.

Seeking your child's input means they're far more engaged with learning, and will be eager to put their plans into action.


Take regular breaks

Much like you wouldn't work all day without taking a break, you shouldn't expect your children to learn all day either.

Breaks are extremely important, particularly when it comes to learning. Your child's brain needs time to process what you've been teaching it, and frequent breaks have been shown to improve learning.

But make sure your child's breaks aren't just them staring at a screen. Encourage them to get a breath of fresh air, a change of environment, and to relax.

Frequent breaks will improve your child's memory and keep them focused on learning.


Use technology

Technology has presented parents with a new opportunity to teach their children from home.

There are lots of different online resources you can use, ranging from YouTube channels, to educational apps, to virtual museum tours.

The National Theatre, for example, are streaming plays for free, perfect for those English Literature lessons. Meanwhile, museums like the National History Museum are open for virtual tours.

Used correctly, technology can make learning more fun and interactive. A lot of the time it can also be used independently by your children, freeing up a bit of extra time for you.

Don’t forget that children are far more adept with technology than us old folks, and so they’ll be picking it up in no time at all.


Move around

With playground games and P.E. lessons, your child will be used to getting a lot of physical exercise whilst at school.

Obviously it's important that we're all practicing social distancing, but that doesn't mean you can't keep fit and active.

Encourage your children to go for a short run with you or even a brisk walk. If you have a large enough garden, let them go and play outside.

Another useful resource is these free P.E. lessons by fitness guru Joe Wicks.

Physical activity is a great way for your children to let off some steam, and it also boosts learning in other subjects.


Above all, keep it fun

It's easy to get carried away with homeschooling and turn into a caricature of those stern-faced teachers you hated as a child.

Remember that even though you're teaching your child, you aren't their teacher. You're their parent. That means it's okay to keep things fun and light-hearted.

Even if your child is learning a fraction of what they might learn in lessons, they're still learning something. That's the important part.

So keep things fun and be flexible with it. Don't see it as a chore, but see it as a chance to spend more quality time with your children.

For further information on digital safety during school closures visit SmartSocial 

https://smartsocial.com/digital-safety-tips-for-families-during-shutdowns/ 

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