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9 Tips to Survive Homeschooling During the Coronavirus

A lot of parents are finding themselves unexpectedly thrust into the world of homeschooling. Some have secretly longed for this chance while others have homeschooling on their anti-bucket list. Neither side is right or wrong. You know, different strokes for different folks. But, like it or not, here we are.

I’ve had quite a few people ask me for tips on how to navigate this new realm of education, so I figured a blog post was in order. These tips are just the tip of the iceberg in the world of homeschooling, but they will help any parent figure out this homeschooling during the pandemic thing.

Your Home, Your Tone

Your kids have specific rules and procedures to follow at school. But guess what? Your kids are not at school. School works at school. Home learning works at home. They are not synonymous or interchangeable. Your kids don’t have to be up at 6 a.m. to eat and get dressed so they won’t miss the bus. You can let them sleep until 8 a.m. If they have to do video learning with their teacher at a certain time, of course make sure they are present for that. Everything else can be done in a time-frame that works best for your household.

Bottom line: Find your groove and jam to it.

Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel

If you weren’t already homeschooling and creating curriculum, you don’t need to start now. Your child was in school and already has an established course of study. Don’t create a new one. Your job is to make sure your child does the work and to supplement their learning, like the resources listed in the “Utilize Your Resources” section. You do not have to create a new educational plan; just follow the one already in place.

Bottom line: This is already a trying time. Don’t create more frustration for yourself.

Understand Expectations

Some teachers sent home packets, instructions, requirements, and information for parents that clearly state what is expected of students and what they must complete daily. If you received this, count yourself lucky and follow the plan, asking questions as needed. If your child’s teacher didn’t send home such detailed information, ask them to clarify anything you don’t understand. Ask things like: When are daily assignments due? Are there other daily requirements? Are study groups or other meet ups set up, and if so, what time? It’s better to ask in the beginning so expectations are understood as you create your homeschooling norm, rather than establishing a new norm, then having to create a new new norm.

Bottom line: Play offense, not defense.

Don’t Be Ashamed to Ask for Help

Depending on your ages of you and your kids, it could have been decades since you’ve seen any school curriculum. And we all know they reinvent math every 20 years, so chances are you haven’t even seen the latest version of math. Don’t be too proud to ask for help y’all. Ask teachers, other parents, Facebook friends, and your friends and family. Someone will know. There’s no reason for you to deal with the frustration of trying to figure out K-12 schoolwork.

Bottom line: Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? showed us that it’s real out in these school work streets. Take heed and ask for help.

Utilize Your Resources

Websites like Scholastic and ABCMouse are providing freebies. Others like Skoolbo and Rosetta Stone are giving super discounts on their programs. Libraries have amped up the free resources they offer. Your child’s school likely has free or low cost resources for your use. Many households have resources already and have no idea. Kindle, Netflix, AmazonVideo, and Hulu all have educational documentaries that can give your kids visuals to go with the content they read for school.

Bottom line: There are resource options for all age levels, and they will make your life so much easier. Use them.

You Don’t Have to Stop Socializing

Parents are setting up Zoom play dates for their K-5 kids. Middle school and high school kids are using Zoom and other teleconferencing software to create “cafeterias” where they have lunch together. Google Chrome has an extension called Netflix Party. It allows people to watch shows and movies on Netflix in real time together with a chat box so they can talk, joke, and discuss. This is perfect for tweens and teens to have a movie night, or watch an educational documentary and discuss.

Bottom line: Homeschooling doesn’t mean you become a recluse. Please talk to other folks.

You Still Gotta Move!

If you have a backyard, get out in it. If you’re like me and pollen is your sworn enemy, or if your area is prone to rainy days, there are plenty of inside options that will allow you and your kids to get some exercise in. YouTube is a goldmine for exercise videos for all ages Cosmic Kids Yoga is wonderful for younger ages with its fun adventures. Tweens and teens can use YouTube videos to learn dances and make videos for Tik Tok since that’s the newest social media craze. Recently, I found old Mickey’s Mousekercize videos from the 80’s. Listen, those 80’s aerobics were no joke and we definitely get a workout then we do them. Make a playlist on Apple Music/Spotifly and show your kids some of the dances you did back in the day.

Bottom line: You have no excuse not to move!

Make Something Amazing

Now is the time for projects. No, I’m not talking about science projects or book reports, though they will likely have them too. What are your child’s interests? Are they crafty? Do they want to start a business? Write a book? Start a YouTube channel? Build a Lego replica of the set of their favorite TV show? Now is a perfect time for them to start these projects.

Bottom line: The virus may have forced us inside, but some amazing things can be created during this time.

Give Yourself and Your Kid Some Grace

This is tough. Point. Blank. Period. On top of having to homeschool, you may also be working from home now. Or facing furlough, a layoff, or joblessness. You and your child’s everyday life has literally been turned upside down. That’s a lot to digest and a major, abrupt change. Allow yourself time to adjust and find your groove. You will. Just give yourself and your child some time and grace.

Bottom line: Relax, relate, release, and you’ll find your way.

(Click the image to access the Retro Modern Mandee website.)

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