With schools being shut due to the novel Coronavirus, thousands of children have been stranded at home. This has left parents with no option but to take the responsibility of schooling their children upon themselves to make sure the children keep busy and keep learning. Schools may have shut down, but the learning needs to go on, after all. Homeschooling is an option all parents need to consider in the current scenario.
Here are some tips that will help you navigate through these times and effectively homeschool your child.
Chalk out a plan
You cannot recreate the exact school environment, but you sure can keep children focused by establishing a proper routine. Your child had been following a fixed schedule in their school, hence recreating a similar environment at home will make the transition easier for them.
Keep the sleep and meal times structured.
Break their day up into chunks by making a time-table for them, and stick it somewhere all the family members can see it.
Make sure you make them a part of this so that they are more invested in the activities planned.
Readout to them
Dedicate some time each day to sit with your child and read out aloud to them. This is a good exercise to improve their vocabulary and comprehension skills, and inculcate good reading habits that will stay with them for a lifetime. It’s okay if your child is playing quietly with Legos or puzzles or play-doh while you are reading. You may feel they’re not paying attention, but they’re absorbing more than you think.
To test their reading comprehension, you may ask them to put it all down on paper, or simply ask them questions around what you read.
Explore the creative side
Art and craft is an integral part of education and cannot be sidelined when you are homeschooling your child. There are many activities you can do together with your child to keep them engrossed and constructive. Collect all your waste material and create something useful out of it. Come up with something like ‘Best out of the waste’.
Follow some DIY activity videos to do something new and interesting with your child. Make puppets and use them to put up a show. Let your child decide on a topic, get the related pictures and other facts and come up with a beautiful and interesting scrapbook.
Don’t stop learning yourself
Only when you share your child’s curiosity will you be able to teach them better. Everyday try to learn something new alongside your child. Don’t be a stern teacher to them. Instead, play the role of a facilitator. Even if your child’s school has switched to digital learning or made online lessons available, you need to be there for them for supervision, and to supplement those lesson plans. Dive deep into a subject together and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Let your child do the teaching while you step in the learner’s shoes.
Incorporate recess time
Do not forget to plan in breaks. In school, your child was usually active during the recess, playing with their friends or indulging in a sport. The lockdown due to the coronavirus may have restricted their physical activity, but you still can make exercise a part of their routine. Turn on an exercise or dance video on YouTube, and shake a leg together; or choreograph and record a dance video and upload it online.
You may also take meditation breaks with your child. You need to make sure you don’t undermine your child’s health and wellness in this whole process of homeschooling.
Remember, this is an unprecedented situation and we are all in this together. This is not going to last forever, and it is important to be patient and stay positive. But what is more important is to use this time to bond with our kids and make lasting memories with them.
The author is Founder-Director, Shemford Group of Futuristic Schools