Homeschooling: It’s a topic that’s been on the minds of millions of parents since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lots of parents voluntarily homeschool their children, of course, but the pandemic has forced many others into educating at home without much preparation or guidance.
If you’ve been struggling to get your kids interested in learning at home, know that you’re definitely not alone. It can be hard to get kids excited about homeschooling when they’re used to learning in a classroom setting. You just have to do the best you can, under the circumstances! Here are some tips to build up their interest.
First Things First: You Know Your Child, You Know What’s Best
Every child is different. It’s easy to look online and see homeschooling advice that’s presented as a one-size-fits-all solution, but it’s important to remember that you know your child best. Don’t feel guilty about doing things your way—using tactics that are designed to meet your child’s specific needs will always be the most effective.
For instance, if your child would prefer to learn independently, then be as hands-off as possible while still monitoring their progress. If they prefer to ask a lot of questions or need guidance, try to provide support as much as you can. It’s all about what works for your family and what fits into your daily responsibilities.
Find Fun & Creative Resources
Not sure what kind of work to assign for your “homework?” Good news: Someone else has done the heavy lifting for you. There are hundreds of creative homeschooling resources available online to help you design activities you can do at home with your children.
Learning opportunities don’t only happen at a desk or the kitchen table. For example, if you’re able to go outside and maintain social distancing guidelines, try to take a walk every day and write down everything you observe—the plants, animals, sounds, smells, weather, etc. You could turn this activity into part science lesson and part English class while building your child’s natural curiosity.
Aside from Resources, Make Sure the Lessons Are Fun Too
This is probably not the time to be buckling down with a dry textbook or tackling the most challenging topics in your child’s curriculum. This is especially true if your child has special needs and thrives in a structured environment. For these students, options like storytelling and multisensory learning can be great techniques to use.
Instead of making lessons serious, think about focusing on fun. How can you take the topics your child is learning and turn them into an activity or something that’s more engaging than reading a book or completing a worksheet?
Right now, it’s all about getting kids to learn in any way you can. You don’t have to prepare them for standardized testing or other formal evaluations. Getting your kids excited about homeschooling might require you to put formality aside for a while and just have fun.
Consider Letting Them Choose Their Curriculum
Kids become engaged with learning when a subject is interesting to them. Finding ways to make subjects like math or reading interesting can be a challenge if your child isn’t naturally interested.
While it is important for your child to learn foundational skills, you also want them to enjoy homeschooling as much as possible. Forcing them to work on subjects they don’t like might not be very successful and could be frustrating for both of you.
Why not use this time to let them indulge in their passions? You might consider letting them choose their own curriculum, or you might give them some freedom to choose their own topics as long as they incorporate certain subjects in some way. This kind of “student-centered learning” can be a great way to get kids excited about homeschooling.
Take the Pressure Off
Many parents are feeling overwhelmed, lost, or guilty about their homeschooling efforts right now. It can be hard to find enthusiasm yourself if you’re struggling to balance work, keeping your kids educated and entertained, and dealing with daily responsibilities like cooking and laundry.
Take some of the pressure off and realize that you don’t have to be perfect. If your child is learning and doing something constructive, you’re already knocking it out of the park. Make it fun for both of you. School at home doesn’t have to be a chore.