Across the country, parents everywhere are scrambling to become substitute teachers of sorts to their children. As if parenting and working weren’t enough, there’s now the newfound responsibility for being the embodiment of your child’s education to contend with—and it can be very scary, to say the least. But in the middle of it, your child might be struggling with this unexpected segue to homeschooling that no one really saw coming. And if your child misses school and his friends, these ways to make homeschooling feel like your kids are really in class can come in handy.
Naturally, nothing can replace the feeling of being in school—the classrooms, uncomfy chairs, friends for days, and the smell of the cafeteria food wafting down hallways. And as much as your kiddo moaned and groaned about having to go to school, most kids are missing it right about now. So be sure to talk to your child about how they’re feeling, and look for ways to make homeschooling feel like your kids are in school — even if you’re all at homebound for now.
So head to the class with these tips that can make homeschooling a whole lot easier.
Wake Up Early
Even though it might be tempting to hit the snooze button once (okay, a few times) in the morning, your child should try to wake up on the earlier side each day. Of course, that means that your kiddo should also be going to bed at a decent hour, too. Getting up early allows your child time to wake up properly, eat breakfast, and get himself ready for the start of the school day.
Get Them Dressed
Sure, some days your kid might look like they rolled out of bed and onto the school bus, but that doesn’t mean they have to. While PJs might be perfect for homeschooling, they can also a distraction, since your child might be less productive while wearing them. To get across the idea that they’re really in school, kids should switch out of pajamas and wear something other than bedtime attire. While it can be something as simple as sweats, changing their clothes can help them to signal the start of a new day.
Stick To A Routine
One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can always start your day a little earlier (or let’s face it, later) than you would if your child were in traditional school. While that’s definitely a plus, it can also become a problem, especially if your school day starts and stops at various times. So try sticking to a schedule so that your child gets used to the rhythm of the day and gets the most from homeschooling.
Move Them From Room To Room
Although it’s a good idea for your child to have a desk and chair that’s theirs to do work throughout the day, that doesn’t mean he has to stay stuck to his seat from 9-3. Depending on what he’s studying, why not move your kiddo to a different room in the house? For example, after he finishes English, move him outside to do Art, where he can paint al fresco. Or when it’s lunchtime, he can go to the kitchen counter and grab a bite. Moving your child around will help him feel reinvigorated and boost his energy levels.
Give Them An Exciting Snack
Snacks are an important part of any child’s day—heck, they’re an important part of an adult’s day, too. But here’s where homeschooling trumps traditional school—you can serve up snacks that your kiddo is never going to find in his school’s cafeteria. He can snag a hot fudge sundae for lunch, or even chow down on gooey s’mores that you made on the stovetop. When your child has a fun snack to look forward to, he’ll feel more excited about the school day ahead.
Give Them A Grade For The Day
Kids are goal oriented and love to get acknowledged for their hard work. That’s why you can give your little guy or gal an A for effort with tiny treats and rewards (think stickers or a little toy). So if your child aces his exam, or was even able to simply sit still and concentrate for a chunk of the day, you should reward him for a job well done. You might even build a chart and let him know that if he earns five stickers for the week, for example, he’ll get a prize. It’ll teach him how to work hard towards something—and patience, too.
Let Them Play
Recess is a big deal in a child’s school day, and as such, you want to make sure not to skip it. Every day, either before or after lunch, make sure that your child gets outside and plays. Rotate the toys so that he’s not stuck playing with the same soccer ball, and be sure to get outside and get your heart pumping with some playtime, too. Not only will it allow your child to soak up some much-needed vitamin D from the sun, but he’ll get a natural boost from being outdoors as well.
Send Them To The Principal’s Office (AKA Time Out)
Hey, it’s your child, but you’re also playing teacher, too. And if you find that your child is consistently goofing off during school hours and not getting anything done, you might need to do something about it. Although detention might be too tough for a preschooler, you should find ways to discipline your child so that he takes his schoolwork seriously. You might take away a toy or video games until he learns that he has to be serious about his work.
Connect With Teachers
If you’ve suddenly become your child’s teacher, you might not know how to navigate these new waters. Reach out to your child’s teachers and see if they can offer any insight or guidance to direct you on how to properly instruct your new student. After all, they’ve spent months (years, perhaps) working with your child, so they know exactly what kind of student they are. It can help both of you as you work together to give your child the best education possible.
Let Them Stay Social With Friends
When your kids are in school, they get to socialize with their best buds—maybe sometimes, too much so. But in homeschooling, it’s just your child and their siblings, unless they’re in a homeschooling co-op. That’s when you should make an effort to ensure that your kiddos still socialize with their friends. If they’re complaining about being stuck indoors, you can always have video chats like FaceTime or Zoom, so they can connect with each other despite the circumstances.