Last week in Ohio, our governor announced that schools would be closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. With schools and parents scrambling to figure out how to finish out the school year, I wanted to share some tips with moms on how to teach kids at home with schools closed. As a mom for 22 years and a homeschool mom for 16 years, I know that there are some definite tricks to educating kids at home. Here are my favorite hacks for how to teach kids at home!
How to Teach Kids at Home With Schools Closed
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We have educated our kids in a variety of ways. We have homeschooled, public schooled, and private schooled. We have used library books, textbooks, online programs, and completed the necessary homework sent home from school! And I can tell you there is no ONE way to educate that is without its pitfalls.
But as I have had lots of years homeschooling, I thought I could benefit some moms who desire to learn how to teach kids at home even with all the school closures! Hope a public school mom would return the favor if the roles were switched!
10 School Hacks for Teaching Kids at Home or Online
No matter if your student’s school is doing all the classes online, handing our educational packets or just doing testing online, keep these tips in mind to save your sanity as a mom!
Create a Basic School Schedule During School Closures
Your school day at home doesn’t have to look like a typical school day, but you do need a schedule! We are creatures of habits, so it is much easier to wake up knowing that you want the kids started on their schoolwork by 9 am, then to have to make that decision EVERY SINGLE DAY!
So decide once when your kids should start working on school work. Tell your kids the plan. And then put the plan into motion.
Make the schedule work for you and your kids. One thing to keep in mind, when educating your kids at home, is make a schedule that works for both. You are playing the role of part-time teacher, so your school day needs to work for you and your student.
For example, I am a morning person. With my son, who is also a morning person, we started school at 7:30 am. My daughter is NOT a morning person, but again I am. So my daughter and I compromised and start our school day at 8:30 am.
Start Your Education Time with Something Fun
Make your school time more inviting by beginning the school day with something enjoyable. We love to ease into our mornings with reading. Depending on what we are studying, we may be reading a historical fiction book aloud or a history book.
Others of you may enjoy a critical thinking exercise, science experiment, craft, or listening to an audio book. Find something that is fun, but also educational. And if you can get some reading or experiment done that they have to do later anyway then it is a clear WIN!
Check Work to Keep Kids Accountable
Parents, your kids are human. If you never check their work, they will probably slack or may not even do it at all! We all need a little accountability. Hopefully, you won’t need to follow behind everything your kid does, but everybody does better if they know their work may be checked.
Help your kids out by checking their work!
Now, I can be the worse at this sometimes. While I don’t look at all my daughter’s work every day, I do try to look over her individual subjects at least once a week. A quick glance can tell you if they did the work. A second glance will help you identify if they actually knew what they were doing:)
Involve Grandparents in Your Kid’s Home Education
Chances are there is an educational area where you are weak. If the school closures due to the coronavirus continues past 3 weeks, you may wish to pull in grandparents to help.
My son made it through Chemistry only by the grace of God and his Grandpa! College Boy and Teen Red have both benefited in writing lessons from their Grandma.
Sometimes grandparents are just more interested in the subject. Other times, pulling in grandparents is helpful because tweens or teens are more likely to consider what they are saying versus mom or dad! Truth!
Allow Kids to Move While Learning at Home
My daughter tends to be on the move even when she is learning. I am so glad someone told me about auditory and kinesthetic learners otherwise I would have driven us both nuts trying to get her to sit still.
But she can listen to a math lesson or to me reading and take in everything that is being said.
There are 3 main types of learners: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Visual learners tend to watch and read in order to be able to learn. They do well to recopy notes or reread over the lesson. Auditory learners can listen to a teacher and comprehend without having to see a lesson written. Kinesthetic learners enjoy moving or being hands on while learning. They can play with Legos, color or craft and still take in everything that is being said.
So watch the signs and be aware what kind of learner you have. You and your child may actually work through a lesson faster by you reading while they work on something with their hands. If you ask questions based on what they just listened to and they can quickly answer then you may have a auditory or kinesthetic learner.
Take Breaks to Complete Schoolwork at Home
Yes, your student may be at school for 7 hours, but they are not sitting that whole time. Actually, they aren’t even working on school work all 7+ hours.
Most middle school students can complete there school work in several hours at home. So there is no need for your student to be sitting at a desk for 7 hours. They can finish much faster.
As mentioned already, schooling at home works best if you have a start time and basic schedule. Keep your student moving steadily, but allow for breaks. Students will become easily frustrated and start working slower if they are just expected to sit til everything is done.
Watch School Online with Your Student
As a parent, I know you are super busy and have a million things to do. But sometimes the fastest way to get through the work is to stop and watch the lesson with your kids.
So if your tween or teen have to watch a lesson online, on a subject they struggle or you are not familiar with, watch it together. Watching it together will help you catch up with what they are doing, and it will motivate your kid be more likely to concentrate on the lesson.
If your child has a school question later, you will be able to answer their question.
Remember Education is Cultivating a Desire to Learn
If your child doesn’t have a ton of structured schoolwork, remember that education is truly about cultivating a love of learning. So if your teen is reading up on the latest space mission or creating a new recipe they are learning.
The best lessons are where you take something they already want to learn or do and teach them something small in addition. For example, say they want to send a card to their friend. Have them write their letter, then go over how to address the envelope. You don’t have to worry about making sure the letter is grammatically correct, unless they ask for help.
Over the years, I have found that short lessons work best. When we cultivate a love for learning, then our kids will continue to read, ask questions and research on their own! And begin to care about their grammar!
Have an End to the School Day
For your sanity, have an END to your school day. I love homeschooling, but sometimes I just want to be mom and not teacher. So give yourself an end to the school day.
PIN for LATER!!
I am more flexible with this as I find it it easier to come back and help with those last few math problems in the afternoon rather than right before lunch when I am hungry! But typically the majority of our work is completed by 1 pm.
Afternoons are for chores, farm work, errands and cooking or baking! Find what works best for you, but do try to set some parameters on the schoolwork. You don’t want your kids trying to ask you science questions right before bed! Yikes!
Everyone Helps With Chores Before or After School
In case you didn’t already notice on your typical breaks, the house gets VERY messy when everyone is home all day! Household chores and tidying need to be part of your home education experience;)
You can have kids do chores before school, after school or even in between. I have one friend, who has a large family, who would read to her children in the morning while they folded laundry! Genius!
Give Yourself Grace When Teaching Kids at Home
You can do this! You know your kids and you are the one who taught them to dress themselves, ride a bike, talk, throw a ball and more. This is just an extension of everything you have already been doing.
While your kid’s teachers may be talented in certain area, no teacher is perfect in every subject. Plus, as your kid’s parent, you have a lot of motivation!
When you teach school at home, make sure to give yourself grace. While I have really enjoyed teaching my kids at home, I am always glad for a break. So give yourself some grace and allow for feelings of fatigue and overwhelm. You will be richly rewarded for the effort you take on to work with your kids. But homeschooling is tough at times.
How to Teach Kids at Home with Schools Closed
Hope you have been encouraged! This is a strange time with the coronovirus school close downs. But with these teaching hacks, I hope you will look back on this time positively due to the time it allowed you to have with your kids.
Let me know if you have any questions below.