“When someone first envisions homeschooling, the first thought is often a family replicating the school environment at home. Lessons start promptly at 8:30am, with children working studiously around the kitchen table until a break for lunch at noon. After the lunch break, lessons continue until 2:30pm. Then the homeschool day is over. But, for a large and growing number of families, homeschooling looks absolutely nothing like this. For example, homeschooling families who identify as unschoolers make no distinction between living and learning. Children learn from the day they are born. You can’t stop them. Other homeschooling families believe in incorporating some structured academic activities into their days and weeks. Even so, these families tend to have a lot of free time to play, explore, and go on adventures compared to families with children in traditional schools.” ( You can homeschool in less than two hours per day)
Some parents seem to be quite frustrated with the homeschooling that they were suddenly asked to do during the lockdown. They don’t feel prepared, and sometimes not qualified, to do this and are not sure how to motivate their children to learn at home where they normally only had play time rather than school time.
I must admit it was difficult for me in the beginning as well and I tried different approaches and made various schedules and I was wondering how many hours a day or a week we should do the homeschooling. I also wondered how to make it a bit easier, and more fun and interesting for the child.
Now, after weeks of trying out different methods and materials, I feel a lot more confident with this and most of the time we are actually enjoying our homeschooling experience. Therefore, I thought it may be good to share my thoughts on this topic. I hope that it can help some other parents because, if I had more instructions and advice at the beginning, I think the transition and the process of learning at home would be a lot smoother and easier for us.
The best thing about homeschooling is that there is just so much FREEDOM and FLEXIBILITY and a huge room for CREATIVITY. There is no one perfect way to do this because different things will work for different people. And that’s beautiful about it!
According to a recent BBC article, approx. 50% of parents decided not to send their children back to school even though they were eligible to come back to their classes on 1st June (in England). This is of course a hot topic nowadays and usually whatever your side and opinion is on this there are always some that will criticise you. You are sending your child to school? Wait, that’s not responsible! The fight against covid-19 is not finished yet and we don’t have the situation under control! You are leaving your child at home? What? Wait, this is crazy! Fewer people die of covid-19 now than some weeks ago and we must go back to a normal life. How long do you think you can be hiding like that?
It doesn’t matter on which side you are – you won’t win. So why not try to respect the decisions of others? I know some of you decided to keep the children at home but you are still struggling with the homeschooling so I thought you may get some ideas for improvements after reading this post.
FUN AND VARIETY
Try to make it fun. Yes, as you read more of the post, you will see that it can be fun. I give my daughter some arts & crafts activities, nearly daily, and I also call them homework so she can associate this word with something that she likes – painting, play dough, drawing, making origami, etc. not only sitting and doing maths tasks.
I think it’s important to change the formats of the learning materials to make sure the child doesn’t get too bored with the learning. So, worksheets are great but there are also a lot more methods many of which are interactive. There are documentary videos, themed songs, PowerPoint presentations (ready to use on websites such as Twinkl, or you can do some on your own once in a while; copying and pasting some images and information from different websites is quick and easy).
Recently, my daughter had a task sent to us by her school about the animal kingdom and we decided to do some more learning on this topic. I played two videos for kids on YouTube so she could better remember the differences between reptiles and amphibians. I also asked her to cut out animals from magazines and some old cards that she had, and then to group them into animal group categories. We made a poster about different animal groups too and put it on a wall for some time so she could remember things better.
Remember about PE too. It doesn’t have to be a 30-min workout with famous instructor Joe if your child doesn’t feel like doing it. Maybe you can make a deal that it’s okay to do five minutes skipping with a rope instead. This is a very intense exercise and can be done quickly. Trampoline, bike, scooter, Zumba or Yoga for kids on YouTube – there is so much choice for your child. My husband gives our child some taekwondo lessons sometimes. Maybe your child could join you for an online fitness class. You could ask your child to do the exercises every other day and each time it could be a different type of exercise. It will surely make it more fun.