How are you managing the new task of parent and makeshift homeschool teacher?

How are you managing the new task of parent and makeshift homeschool teacher?

Maybe you have never dreamed of being a homeschool parent. Maybe you have but just never followed through with it. Well, now parents are forced to be home-schooling parents whether they like it or not. How are you handling being mom or dad and makeshift homeschool teacher? How are your kids adapting? Will you make it out alive? 

Talk to your children about the Coronavirus

Kids are smart. You know that. They are listening to everything you say, even though sometimes they are excellent at ignoring you. Take it from these twins who were chatting about the virus once their mom put them to bed.  https://www.instagram.com/p/B9_0ZzfAxKb/

There is no point in lying to your children about the virus. However, it doesn’t mean we need to scare them with loads of information that they won’t comprehend. The first major interruption is their school routine. It’s the perfect way to start the conversation. Explain to them why they are home from school. Let them know that this isn’t a holiday break and ease into why we are practicing this new thing called “social distancing.”

As MICHAEL TEDDER explains in his article, How to Help Your Quarantined Kid Learn Without Driving Yourself Crazy, According to Experts, you should explain about the virus in a factual way that is age-appropriate to your children. Assure them that you, as a parent, are doing everything to keep them protected and healthy. Finally, it’s really important for you to maintain your stress level concerning the virus at a minimum, especially during the explanation process as children feed off of that. 

Find balance in home-school work and family work

Most schools have been working diligently to get students assignments online to continue on with their courses. Getting kids into a routine is frikin’ hard! You never fathomed homeschooling your children. Well, parents around the world have been met with this task. I’ve spoken to several parents and each of them is experiencing differing levels of cooperation with their children. 

We need to help our children understand that this wasn’t their choice, nor yours but it’s the one that’s been presented to use. Ask your children to offer ideas as to what would make this transition easier for them to adapt. Listen to your kids. Have a little extra patience. If they feel like they are apart of the process, it may be more encouraging for them and they might be more cooperative. What about setting up a totally new “workstation” in your home. It will be something new and exciting. 

It’s the perfect time to teach your kids the value of working as a family, as a team now that you are stuck at home. What if you broke up your child’s studies between subjects with small breaks and family tasks. There is nothing wrong with teaching your children to do chores at home. Teach them about meal prepping, doing the laundry, folding clothing, checking receipts, budgeting etc. 

These are teachable and honest subjects to study with your kids each day. Hurray and congratulations if you already do that each day with your children. I commend you, however, many parents are outside the home, working and with extracurricular activities and everything else, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to dedicate to that. Now there is time. Take advantage of it. Your family will feel even closer to one another if they all feel like they are pitching in during this difficult time. And if you are lucky, the kids will continue to pitch in after we get back to “normal” with little frustration or reluctance. 

Create a timetable and set expectations

Many parents are into week 2 of this quarantine situation and the first week you tried but there was chaos. Now it’s time to get down to business. Teachers may have sent you assignments for your children by now others no. If you haven’t already, get going with your kid’s timetable, and one for yourself for that matter. 

I’ve seen some experts recommending that we forget about trying to be home-schooling parents and setting schedules at this time and to use this time as family time. Use this time that you will never get back and time you may not have had before and time you may not have in the future. While I really feel passionate about using this time to create family experiences, kids need a routine. Summer is still around the corner. There is a time to leave the routine behind but I don’t think now is that time. 

Many of you are working parents and have also been forced to work from home. You need your space and time blocks to concentrate and get your work done as well. Let your kids know what your expectations are for each of them. Getting up each day at the set time, even if that time is a little later than usual because your nights are longer, that’s okay. Just set your schedule and stick to it. 

Have fun. Read. Write. Play. Experiment.

Add variety to your child’s day. All those toys they have at home and never use. Encourage them to play with them. If they refuse to play with them and are no longer interested, encourage them to prepare a few boxes to donate to kids in need. Play games with them. Cook together with the family. Encourage your kids to keep a diary and write down their thoughts and feelings. Most importantly, have fun. The more you stress the more your children will feel stress and the less likely they will be to stick to their new schedules. 

We will get through this together 

I’m not a parent but I am a teacher and an auntie of 7.  Most of my friends have more than one child. I’ve seen some of them struggling with this new situation and when they call to vent, I usually remind them of our childhood and how strict my parents were. It’s okay to be strict. It’s okay to ask your kids to take part in daily chores and family activities. It’s OKAY to set limitations and rules. If all else fails, unplug the TV. Unplug the PlayStation. Kids need freedom but they also need to be taught and learn respect. 

We are all in this together. We all have our personal struggles at this time. Each of our situations is different. One thing is true for all of us, we are all in this together. Take care of your body and mental health so that you can be there for others. Be a friend. Be patient. Listen. Discover yourself. Our parents and grandparents suffered through really tough times. This may be one of the toughest times we experience in our lifetime but we will get through them. 

Take care of yourself. A big air hug from afar! 

 
Emily Bowman
Project Mananger
National Math Bee

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