One of our parents at St. Columba's is a veteran home-schooler of 3 young boys. They have graciously put together the lists of tips below for those of us who find ourselves suddenly and unexpectedly homeschooling:
"As a home-schooler of four years now, I have a few thoughts and tips I have learned and would like to pass on.
Tip #1 - Take some days, even a full week, off. Let yourself and your children adjust to the new norm of the next several weeks. Kids have heard about the situations and probably have loads of questions. Take the time to explain (if you haven't already) because it can seem just as scary to them as it can to adults.
Tip #2 - Avoid trying to recreate a classroom environment at home. Schooling at home can be very relaxed which will result in less stress for you and your student. And let's be honest, most people don't operate well under stress.
Tip #3 - It won't take all day. You have one, two or three kiddos at home. Not a classroom of 30+ kids that ALL need help understanding the concept being taught. I home-school my three boys in about 3 hours a day, split up to allow for brain breaks and play. Play is huge, it excites and refreshes the brain.
Tip #4 - Learning can happen anywhere and all the time. Learning happens while playing games, reading books, watching documentaries, cooking, baking, and just having fun so don't fret about it not seeming like structured learning. It is happening, all the time.
Tip #5 - Use this time to help your kidlet work on things they may have been struggling with at school. Extra math practice, extra spelling or grammar lessons, etc.
Tip #6 - If you have more than one kidlet, let them help each other. A great way to reinforce what one has learned is to teach it to someone else. My oldest LOVES helping his younger brothers with their lessons.
Tip #7 - Let your kiddo explore what they want to explore, learn what they want, etc. In school, they are taught things without having a say in what they are taught. People learn and retain best when it is what interests them so let them guide you.
Tip #8 - You (and kiddos) are not capable of having the best day ever every single day. Some days will be great, go smooth, and will feel like a win. Other days will be hard and you'll want to throw in the towel. It is all about quality and consistency not quantity and perfection.
If your child's school didn't send home a packet of work to guide you and them, I recommend looking up the standards on the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website (www.k12.wa.us). There are sections on learning standards and instructional materials broken down by subject and grade. Similar information should be available on your school districts website. You can also look up the typical course of study by grade on Worldbook.com.
A fantastic resource is Khan Academy, an educational website that many schools and home-schoolers use with great success.
A quick note-if your child will be returning to public or private school after this temporary closure, Home Based Instruction (HBI) laws do not apply to you so do not worry about any of that at all.
All of that said, I want to stress that this break shouldn't be much different than a spring break or even summer break. Let your kiddos have fun, the education will happen."
Thank you to Carmen for taking the time to minister to us as we transition into the uncertain time ahead.