The shelter-in-place mandate put up its challenges for the education sector, but we are proud of all the teachers, parents, and students rising to the occasion. We want to help lighten your load by giving the best tips on how to teach kids at home effectively. Though it may take time to put new rules in place, it is worth the effort to help supplement your child’s education and keep them prepared for the next school year.
1. Limit distraction
The first step in how to teach kids at home successfully is to limit distraction to keep your child’s attention focused on their schoolwork. You should limit their use of their devices, other than what is needed to complete their work, until their schoolwork is done.
2. Make space for learning
Many adults have a specific area of the home in which they do work, and it’s important that you create a similar space for your child that is strictly devoted to learning. This space should be a different set-up than where they normally play games or watch television. This is an integral part of how to teach kids at home rather than in a classroom.
3. Maintain breaks such as snack time and recess
Routines and schedules are extremely important to teaching kids at home. Children will function best if they maintain a routine that is as close to normal as possible. We recommend you do this by setting alarms similar to those they would expect for school, as this can be helpful for keeping them on a schedule. Around lunch time, encourage them to get up, get some fresh air, go for a walk or bike ride, or have a snack so that they are not sedentary for the entire day.
4. Allow them to interact with friends via video chats
Your children are used to lots of social contact at school, so they will definitely feel the effects of being distanced from them. It’s important to allow them to interact with friends online, beyond social media or text messaging. Video chats are the closest thing to seeing someone in person and are a great way to get in some social time. This is a great opportunity for a break when thinking about how to teach kids at home.
5. Mix screen time with old school learning mediums
Overuse of screen time can have adverse impacts on young brains, so it’s important to mix it up during a time like this. It’s likely that your children will want to continue to use a screen of some sort during their breaks from doing work, so it’s important to limit screen time by mixing in old school mediums as well. Parents should encourage print and book reading as much as you are able and, if possible, request textbooks from your child’s school. Schools understand how to teach kids at home and what is needed to do it effectively.
6. Keep in touch with other parents
Social distancing is important during this time, but staying in touch with others via virtual communication is very important. Each parent that has a child home is going to be going through a new experience. Check in with other parents to see what they’ve found effective, and ask if they need help as well. Use as many resources you can in learning how to teach kids at home.
7. Don’t underestimate the power of a schedule
If you and your children are all doing work from your home, it’s likely that this is the first time that has ever happened. A schedule for your work and your child’s work is extremely important. To start, experts recommend keeping them on the same or similar sleeping schedule that they have when they are going into school. If a schedule was not provided by their teachers, help them write one for not only each day, but each week, as well. Giving your child a clear vision of what is expected will help them see that just because they are home, it does not mean they don’t have work to do. It will also help you think about how to teach kids at home and plan for the week head.
8. This is not a vacation!
This time at home might feel like a vacation for your child, but it’s important to remind them that their education still comes first. Obligations like class assignments, grades, tests, state exams, SATs, and ACTs aren’t going away just because classes have moved online. You’re learning how to teach kids at home to help them further their education, not to fall behind.
9. Remember to schedule time for fun
While this is most certainly not a vacation, it’s important to have some fun with your children while they are at home. It’s rare that you have this much time with your children, so use it as an opportunity to bond. Experts at Children and Screens recommend playing family card games, charades, or chess, organizing a tournament, or getting outside for a hike or walk together.
While we have been adjusting to this new normal, it’s important to recognize you and your scholar’s achievements along the way. Even though you may not have known how to teach kids at home before, look at where you are now! Every little accomplishment is a step in the right direction. Though every day may not be easy, remember to provide support your scholar during these turbulent times.
We thank the parents, guardians, teachers, and tutors who are providing that support. Tutoring is important now more than ever to ensure your child’s educational needs are met. Without the help of a tutor, it is possible that your child could fall behind and be affected for the next school year. Younger children are especially vulnerable as they are in the middle of critical learning stages that set them up for success for years to come. Remember that Texas Tutors is here for you and your child for every subject K-12. Learn more about our services or contact us today for any of your scholar’s educational needs.