At the time of writing, many schools around the world have closed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. If you’re a parent having to homeschool your children, here are 5 ways to help you plan and make this time more effective:
1. Create a learning space
Designate an area of your home for learning. This could be any safe, distraction-free space that will enable your child to focus, while also giving them the freedom to learn in whatever way is most comfortable for them, e.g. sitting or lying on the floor; all children learn in different ways. As long as children have what they need, learning will happen – but it may be necessary to remove the TV.
2. Don’t be a Luddite
Your child’s school may have given you guidance on the setup you’ll need for home learning. To enable your child to stay up-to-date with homework and remote classwork, they will probably need a laptop and an internet connection. Make sure you install some kind of parental controls on the laptop and ensure they have the software they may need, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Flash Player and either Skype or Zoom for video-conferencing.
3. Set a timetable
It’s important to develop a routine for learning and to stick to it. But, since all children learn differently, it’s also important to give them some flexibility. You may need to negotiate a compromise between class timetables laid down by the school and the structure which suits your child best. Research has shown that some kids are able to focus for extended periods of time, while others only learn effectively in bite-sized chunks of 20-30 minutes with frequent breaks.
4. Know the curriculum
You should learn about what your child actually needs to learn. Your school should be able to provide a curriculum and, in the case of students with impending exams, practice tests to go with it.
5. Don’t be the helicopter parent
While your child is studying at home, you should only need to intervene if they are struggling with a particular task, or not sticking to the schedule. If they are stuck, work with them to find a solution, but allow them to solve the problems as much as possible – that’s how they learn, after all.