April 2, 2020

The Era of Forced Homeschooling

Here we are in a world of forced homeschooling! 

Millions of parents are now faced with the task (willingly or unwillingly) of supervising school at home.

I'm currently a reading teacher in a public school, so I know both sides of this new education reality. My colleagues and I are working hard to send help to parents and students, and I have nearly 20 years of homeschooling experience.

Here's my message to parents: Relax!! Enjoy your kids. If they aren't in high school, tell them they only need an hour of focused work every school day. And that hour can be broken up into 10-minute segments.

Create a chart for 10 minute school bursts
Practically speaking, try this:

  1. Pick something your teacher wants you to do. 
  2. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Do it without looking up. 
  3. When the timer goes off, stop or continue if you're interested (one subject could flow over into another 10 minutes!).
  4. Try to do six 10-minute school bursts. That will add up to an hour. 
  5. Now you get a reward! What should it be? (ask your child for ideas) 

If they keep track of their 10-minute school bursts (see my handmade chart) and add one word that describes what they did, it can be like a game. When they check all the boxes, they can show you the chart and you release the reward!

If you think your child would rather do 90 minutes, make nine 10-minute segments. The idea is to make this seem easy, manageable and fun. And honestly, if they get going on something they like, they might lose themselves and keep going longer than expected. That's the goal in any learning experience.

Ideas for Rewards


Play in the backyard.
Watch TV.
Play a video game.
Get a treat.
A week of completed school days equals ordering a pizza for dinner on Friday.
FaceTime with a friend.
Someone in the house plays cards or a board game with you.

Voice of Experience


Something I've learned after homeschooling three kids kindergarten to high school graduation...no system lasts forever. 

They will get bored or demotivated with the chart idea eventually. You might get through the current stay-at-home time frame without having to change things, but if it's no longer fun, change it.

It could become a board game where your game piece can advance one more space when you finish 10 minutes of school! Or switch up the reward.

An excellent strategy is to say, "We only need to do a hour (or whatever) of school everyday. That's so much less than what you used to do! And we get to do it at home! What would be a fun way to complete that school work everyday? What would be a good reward for a job well done?"

What about High Schoolers?


Double check with the teachers. Will this work at home be graded? You have transcripts and future college admission to think about. If it will be graded and influence the transcript, make sure your child understands and encourage them any way you can. Even older kids like charts and rewards. Make it fun and motivating, no matter how old your child is. 


The Big Picture


The goal of this crazy time is survival! Stay safe and build fun memories with your family. If school becomes a fight, I'd let it go. If your child is in a situation where work will be graded and those grades are important, you can't really let it go. Come to a mutual understanding that relieves tension in the family.

Hopefully this will be a time of learning in a more relaxed atmosphere where your child will likely make great progress. A happy, relaxed, motivated brain learns best. 

1 comment:

lisagylsen@gmail.com said...
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