Ok, deep breath everyone…. home schooling is hard. Ultimately, we are parents rather than educators and therefore many of us are struggling with teaching. Trying to explain tricky things like phonics or fractions to a child is difficult and frustrating, and the tantrums and burn out can be overwhelming. We might fear we aren’t doing well enough; juggling our work, the stress of navigating a pandemic and becoming makeshift teachers all at once. But here are some little ways to make life easier…
Break it up
It can be tempting to try and squash all the school work in to one morning or a few hours, to get it over with and leave the rest of the day free for other tasks. However, children’s brains can get overwhelmed quickly. It’s therefore advisable to offer a break every so often- even if it’s only for 15 mins at a time- and to leave a little gap between subjects if possible.
Make breaks active
If possible, letting your child kick a ball outside, run around the garden or even jump on the bed can help to get some of their boundless energy out and release some of the stress they’re feeling. A good option on a rainy day is to put some Just Dance videos on YouTube and let the kids follow along- and join in if you want to!
The promise of something fun or a treat after slogging through school work can be a silver lining and motivate your kids to concentrate. Whether it be an hour of gaming, being taken to the park for a while or doing some baking together afterwards, having something positive and fun waiting on the other side of the work is a great incentive.
It can be difficult and disappointing for children to hear that they have made mistakes in their work. To avoid dispiriting them too much, make sure you also praise the things that they excel at and get right.
While it’s hard, maintaining a patient and positive tone while helping your kids with their work makes a lot of difference to the atmosphere at home and their productivity. While we understandably often feel like throwing our hands up and walking away during home schooling, taking a deep breath or a quick break can help us to remain calm.
Take time for yourself
Life can be incredibly stressful right now, so it’s vitally important for our mental health that we take at least 30 minutes a day to boost our own wellbeing and destress. Taking the time for fresh air, hobbies, exercise and relaxation is vital for us as parents to cope and stay calm.