With the rapid spread of the coronavirus, so many of us have been thrust into a homeschooling role with no warning, planning or preparation. Whilst teachers fight to adapt to the situation, parents are thrown right in the deep end.
A few years back I was forced into a similar situation, not through a killer pandemic, but because due to school age differences after moving interstate I was faced with my children repeating a grade and a school with no interest in fixing the situation.
Homeschooling 3 children with different ages, interests and abilities was a herculean task, and my fantasies of focused children sitting quietly at their desks completing sums quickly evaporated. Everything they didn’t want to do was too hard. All of them needed constant help (i.e me doing it for them) and if they weren’t busy fighting, they were equally busy complaining.
It took some to figure out, but eventually I got through it, and I’d like to share some tips here for everyone going through the same situation.
The most important idea I’d like to share is that what works in the classroom, may not be what works well at home. Kids often aren’t used to following school- style rules at home, and many will resist fiercely. The best way to get through this with your relationship intact is not to attempt to replicate a school environment, and to find ways to make study enjoyable and cater to your children’s individual interests. If the children are enjoying their studies they won’t even notice they’re learning.
1. Take the opportunity to get hands on
Unfortunately in a classroom of 30 students, opportunities to get hands on can be limited. Much of the maths curriculum, such as geometry, measurement and finance relate more to day to day hands on tasks than to worksheets. You can kill two birds with one stone by introducing some cooking lessons into your social distancing — life skills and measurement! We did cooking once a week, encompassing a huge amount of maths, problem solving and comfort eating. Here’s how to include it:
2. Make learning Fun with family board games
Every time I picked up a maths worksheet, my son would tell me it was too hard. He would spend 45 minutes complaining about completing a worksheet and 15 minutes finishing it. That was until the first game of monopoly. Suddenly a kid who would whine incessantly that he couldn’t add 2 + 2 was the resident loan shark, dealing change like nothing else.
These are my favourite games and adaptions for education, your kids won’t even realise they’re learning…
3. Make use of online resources
There are many curriculum aligned resources, mostly focussing on online worksheets, comprehension or games. I tend to suggest using them sparingly to keep up the interest levels and ensure they are an effective last resort to keep child/ ren occupied when you have urgent things to do. These are the sites I found most innovative and which kept the kids attention:
4. Experiment with items you have around the house.
5. Check out our range of printable fitness mysteries, stories and cards at https://www.kidsclique.net/downloads.html