What Is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a type of learning where the child is predominantly educated at home instead of sending them to a regular school. Homeschooling is a new experience for many families; it is one of the unexpected developments parents are grappling with as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
Some parents may already be familiar with the homeschooling concept and will have the resources to teach their children at home. Some parents may have chosen explicitly to home-school their children instead of attending regular school and may be enrolled in alternative schooling provisions like the National Institute of Open Schooling. But for the majority of parents, taking on a full-time ‘teacher’ role during this lockdown can seem a daunting task. In addition to balancing domestic and professional work, many parents may find it challenging to teach their children on a full-time basis. Apart from the time commitment, parents need to have patience, knowledge, and awareness of different teaching methods to engage the child in lessons productively. Thankfully, with some planning and preparation, every parent can rise up to the challenge and enjoy teaching their kids at home.
How to Make Homeschooling a Success?
The following are some tips to make homeschooling a success:
- Without experience, it is easy to get angry and frustrated while teaching young children. Parents have to accept that not all of them have the skills and training to emulate a full-time teacher, so do not get frustrated if the kid does not seem to respond to the teaching style. Be calm, and do the best. Most parents may already have some experience in teaching and guiding their children at home after they return from school. The difference now is parents have taken on the primary teaching role in the absence of regular classroom teaching.
- Try to develop a routine at home. On weekdays, let the child wake up and get ready as they would typically do while going to school. Some children may even prefer dressing in school clothes to “get into the mood” when they are attending classes at home. Having a regular routine and structure to daily life is crucial and important to the child’s development and progress.
- Discuss with the child and create their own timetable for the week and slot in times when they would learn subjects like mathematics, science, social studies, and languages. Allocate time for structured play and fun activities as well. Allow some time for physical activities and exercise at least 2 or 3 times a week. The parent can be flexible and include more time for subjects in which the child is considered weak and needs extra tuition.
- The parent can display the timetable at a prominent place so that the child knows what is expected of them for the day. Try to be flexible as needed, but having a schedule will help both the parent and the child to plan for the day. Let the child contribute to drafting the timetable so they will be happy and feel empowered in planning how to spend their time. Having a timetable would help to avoid the child spending the whole day sitting in front of the T.V. or playing videogames for hours aimlessly. Limit screen time to 1 to 2 hours a day, depending on the age of the child.
- Create time for virtual meetings with your child’s friends and classmates. Apart from studying, the school also offers an invaluable space for interacting with peers and developing social skills, conflict resolution skills, and develop friendships. Try to arrange virtual meetings whenever possible to facilitate interaction between children. Various platforms are available. Depending on the children’s age, parental supervision and support may be needed to facilitate these virtual meetings.
- Many schools may start or have already started online classes to facilitate children’s learning until schools reopen after the pandemic settles down. Integrate the online classes schedule into one's own family timetable. If possible, parents can liaise with their child’s school and class teacher for advice and support, which will be invaluable in teaching them.
- Choose an appropriate room or space at home that can be used as the child’s learning corner. Having a designated place for learning will help the child get into study mode easily. Make sure that the place is well lit and ventilated. Keep distractions like TV, mobile phones, and other electronic screens away. If a couple has more than one child, they need to plan the space accordingly.
- Parents can be creative and encourage their older children to teach the younger ones with some support. Most children will enjoy teaching their younger siblings.
- Parents can take turns to teach their children and plan their own work and household chores, so the family’s routine is not affected. It will help parents to network and stay connected with other parents from their children’s class, so they can exchange ideas and support each other during this potentially stressful situation. Many parents are already a part of online groups to facilitate home learning.
- Recognize that younger children may need more support and direction from parents than older children, who may be more adept at informal self-directed learning.
Remember that despite the challenges, homeschooling is an excellent opportunity to spend more time bonding with children and having fun together as a family. This time will help the parents to know more about their child’s strengths and weaknesses so that they can effectively understand and support him or her. Parents will become familiar with their child’s favorite subjects and their learning style. Since parents are spending more one-on-one time with their child, it can help identify any problems with their attention, concentration, and pick up any specific learning difficulties with spellings, reading, mathematics, etc. With some patience and remedial teaching support, parents can enable the child to learn effectively.
If parents have any concerns about their child’s learning, emotional or behavioral health, they can discuss it with their child’s teacher and consider consulting a professional, if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions