The Home Learning Hacks All Parents Need Now!

Now that kids are studying in the house, parents could use some tips to keep children engaged and relaxed.

Apr 8, 2020

(Ilona Titova / Shutterstock.com)

With the outbreak of Coronavirus, tens of millions of parents are now homeschooling their children. Moving from classroom to the kitchen table with mom as the new substitute teacher is a big change, yet it’s a unique opportunity to reconnect with our kids.

Although many schools are offering remote teaching, your home is now the classroom, library, playground and cafeteria. Here are some ideas to help parents and kids flourish in the new home-school reality.

Make a schedule and stay organized
It’s best to establish a daily routine. Do not replicate your child’s regular full-day schedule as you want your kids to feel relaxed, not pressured. When creating a schedule, don’t be strict. Give them extra time to sleep in a bit - many children, teens especially, are sleep deprived. Do not let them have fun screen time until after their studies are done. Instead, use it as a reward.

Even if your kids are attending online classes, they must still put in study hours and homework time to complete their work. Experts suggest that you allocate about 30 minutes to work on each subject for elementary aged kids and that they cover two subjects a day. Older children should study one subject for around 45 minutes. Again, aim for two subjects a day.

It may take time to establish a new routine. Kids will also miss their school buddies. If your child needs companionship, organize a Zoom study meeting with a classmate. Or, ask the grandparents to help out with a reading activity via Zoom or WhatsApp video.

Moms who have homeschooled for years are now your best resource. Home-schooling moms advise you create a designated place for your child to learn and make sure he or she sits there each day. They also recommend parents dedicate a basket or shelf for each child’s learning materials and supplies. Get yourself a large notebook and each evening, write down the assignments that are to be completed the next day. Draw a checkbox beside the task. 

Your child can tick the box when the work is done and later, when you go over the work, you can check it off yourself. Or, you can download handy school assignment sheets.  

There are children who will thrive in this new setting and others who will not adapt well. Some may act out or refuse to cooperate. Be patient and lower your expectations if they are stressed by this new set up.

If you have kids at home who are under ten and are resisting the formal curriculum, let them have fun. Studies show that formal study is not necessary for kids under this age. Instead, offer them playtime, songs, games plus lots of love and support.

Encourage them to keep in touch with friends
Kids need social interaction, especially with peers of the same age. Ensure they connect with their friends and classmates daily.  In Japan, for example, a class recently sat together online and used Minecraft to create their own graduation assembly. This is a win-win activity as it encourages learning, cooperation, creativity and socializing.

If parents are concerned about who their children are remotely socializing with, install the Messenger Kids app. This app enables parents to control their kids’ contact lists and know when they are chatting. 

Teens at home may socialize on the Zoom Memes for Self Quaranteens Facebook group. Here, teenagers from all over the world are connecting and sharing advice, posting videos, laughing together and making new friends.

College seniors who are graduating this spring, can now be part of a virtual Minecraft commencement that is being held on May 22. 

Have fun!
This is a great time to encourage your kids to delve into their favorite hobbies or find their passion. With so much fascinating learning online, the sky's the limit. Let them create a fantasy world in Minecraft. Time for a lunch break? Ask them to assist you in making and serving the meal. If they love drawing, several famous illustrators are offering free online tutorials. Check out Jarrett J. Krosoczka on YouTube for a daily drawing lesson  for instance.

And don’t forget about good old board games, an educational activity that involves the whole family. Games strengthen family bonds, are enjoyable and decrease stress. Don’t let them in on this, but while your kids are laughing as they roll the dice, they are actually learning; board games increase brain functions like strategizing, problem solving and improving memory.

There are countless websites and apps offering inspiring ways for children to learn. And with COVID-19, many sites that once charged for usage are now free.

Check out this small sampling – you will wish you were young again!

  • ClassDojo
  • Remote learning resources already used in most American schools.
  • Khan Academy
  • Offering world-class education partnering with NASA, MIT, MoMA and more.
  • Math Is Fun
  • Worksheets and puzzles covering  algebra, geometry and physics.
  • MysteryScience
  • Mini lessons and full lessons for all grades.
  • Outschool
  • Outschool offers 10,000 classes led by teachers, all via live audio chat.
  • TedEd
  • Hundreds of fascinating educational TED talks designed with kids in mind...

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
Creativity and Innovation Shine Through Remote Learning
How to Nurture Relationships When You're At Home for Longer
What Can You Learn at Home? A lot More than You Think!

NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.