A for Effort: Tips for Parents Who Are Teaching From Home


Are you one of the millions of parents from around the world who shifted to home learning? Are you struggling with the changes and are looking for ways to become a more effective teacher to your child?

With the pandemic changing the landscape of learning, over 1.2 billion children from various parts of the world are without classrooms. This massive change also forced students and educators to adjust to distance learning or e-learning.

Numbers reveal that around 93 percent of homes with school-age children in the United States use at least one form of distance learning. As teaching from home becomes a norm, parents must adapt to the changes the right way.

But what are the key practices you should consider in homeschooling? Continue reading below for some valuable tips for effectively teaching kids from home.

Change Your Mindset

One of the keys to effectively transition to teaching from home is to have the proper mindset. Firstly, you should have lots of patience for trial and error. Begin by assessing yourself and the way you look at the new teaching environment.

You want to give yourself enough room to adjust. You need to teach yourself to be patient with the errors that will come along the way. And as far as the errors go, they may come from you, your child, or the technology that you are using.

Experts say that it takes about seven weeks for the trial and error phase. After that, you will know pretty much how to execute your plans to near perfection. You will already have a flow and routine that you and your child are comfortable with.

Also, you shouldn’t have a mindset of returning things to normal. Regular norms and conditions are no longer in effect. Instead, you need to learn to embrace the changes that you encounter.

From there, you should adapt to these changes by adjusting your game plan. Thus, you should have the mindset that you and your child are on a new journey. And in this journey, both of you will learn new things along the way.

Behavior Monitoring Matters

When it comes to your child, you need to monitor his behavior. Even if your kid is in the comfort of your home, they will still feel a certain amount of stress during homeschooling. This can be evident if they already experienced going to a real school.

With the sudden changes that are happening, your child will have a lot of questions in mind. They may find it a challenge communicating with their classmates whenever they attend online classes. 

Hence, be more understanding of your child’s feelings and actions. The key is to open your communication lines all the time. If you see her struggling, talk to her.

Ask her if she needs help with something. If you feel that something is bothering her, reassure her that she can talk to you about anything.

If your child becomes unruly, don’t hesitate to impose your rules. But do it gently, as homeschooling is something that requires a learning curve.

Follow a Routine

To get the hang of things, you need to follow a homeschooling routine. But to pull this off, you must first have a schedule to follow. When formulating a schedule, try not to create it around a school day.

This means if your child wakes up at 8 in the morning, let him do so. He should have ample time to enjoy his breakfast. Thereafter, you can schedule the schooling accordingly.

Also, consider your personal time too. You have your tasks and duties to accomplish and you do not want to juggle your work while monitoring your child’s homeschooling at the same time. 

Creating a perfect schedule means to consider both your child’s time as well as yours. 

However, it is ideal that you start homeschooling in the morning, preferably after your child’s breakfast. This is because people tend to be more productive during the morning hours. 

This will give you enough time to do your daily morning exercise and other personal routines. 

And if ever you have more than one child with a notable age gap, you can set separate schedules for each of them. You can work on your youngest in the morning then teach your teen in the afternoon. 

Set Up a Dedicated Place for School Work

Since homeschooling requires that you transform your house into your child’s classroom, you need to dedicate a specific place for his school work. This can be a small nook in your house where a small table that you rarely use stands.

The key is to ensure that the space has ample lighting. This is important especially if your child has some reading materials and writing tasks to accomplish. In case you are using a desk lamp, be sure to position it opposite your child’s dominant hand.

So if they are right-handed, you should place the lamp on their left side. 

Also, you want the area to be well-ventilated. During days when the heat rises, your child may lose his focus. Additionally, make sure to give your child breaks in between lessons. 

Give her a 10 to 15-minute break. Prepare some light snacks and don’t neglect your child’s hydration. 

And when you set up the learning station, be sure to provide all the learning materials your child needs. For starters, invest in a good whiteboard and some whiteboard markers.

You should also get some notebooks, pencils, index cards, and a calculator. Get a few boxes where you can place these items. If you can get at least three in different colors, do so, so you can color-code the materials.

Go Beyond the Pen and Paper

You also need to understand that learning does not always have to involve a pen and paper setup. If your child is a pre-schooler, you can focus more on teaching him about colors, shapes, and sounds.

Use the things that you see in your surroundings as learning tools. If your child is a little bit bigger, you can have them assist you in preparing a simple meal. 

Children easily become curious about their surroundings. If they see you cracking fresh eggs or melting butter, their imagination will start to run. These are also excellent opportunities to discuss with them the different states of matter.

And though consistency is important, you cannot be too strict. You need to maintain flexibility, especially in these extraordinary times.

Maximize Technology to Your Advantage

Since distance learning relies heavily on technology, you need to maximize your gadgets and use them to your advantage. Firstly, the internet is your friend during this pandemic. You can find an endless well of reading tools and other learning resources for your child.

Simply go to Google and search for simple science experiments. You can also research different arts and crafts that require simple home materials. 

Also, use your TV or videos as learning resources. After your child’s class, he will likely spend some of his free time watching TV. Alternatively, he may watch videos on YouTube.

Instead of just watching his favorite cartoons, allot some time watching educational shows. Incorporate this into your child’s daily learning. Go to National Geographic and learn about animals. 

Your Backyard Counts

Homeschooling doesn’t always have to be indoors. You can set days where you and your child will go out into your backyard.

Your backyard is an excellent area that you can use to teach about nature. You can talk about the different kinds of flowers and plants that you have.

If there are birds that visit your backyard, you can teach your child a thing or two about ornithology. Do you often see bugs and other kinds of insects? Then grab that magnifying glass and let your child discover these creepy crawlers.

Incorporate Games

One way of keeping the interest level of your child during class is through games. There are many types of games that you can incorporate in homeschooling. 

For starters, you can invest in some picture puzzles. Puzzles can help develop your child’s color sensitivity, visual recognition, and other important skills.

If your child can already read and write, you can give him some crossword puzzles. This will help expand his vocabulary and the way he inferences. 

During their free time, you can also play board games with the whole family. Monopoly is one of the best board games you can introduce your child to. 

When introducing games, make sure they are age-appropriate.

Talk to Experts

Since teaching from home is new to you, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for advice from the experts. Talk to some educators and professionals who have experience in homeschooling.

Ask for some tips on how they conduct their sessions with their children. Also, talk to your child and get some feedback about the new setup. What are their main concerns?

What are the challenges that you need to improve on?

Additionally, consider joining parent teacher associations where you can further increase your knowledge.

Read Together

If your child is beginning to read, then there is no better time to read with them than now. Sit beside your child as she reads her favorite book. If she struggles with certain words, guide her through the proper pronunciation.

If your child is much older, allow him to read by himself. Thereafter, ask questions about what he read. But try not to engage in a quiz-like tone.

Instead, keep the conversation light and free-flowing. Let him speak his mind and share his thoughts about the topic. This exercise will develop your child’s reading comprehension.

Praise Your Child

Whether your child remarkably completes a task or even if he just finished a day of homeschooling, shower him with praises. Studies reveal that praising your child can lead to many positive results

Praising your child can motivate him to do better the next day. It can also help them value the efforts they put into their work.

However, make sure that you’re praising your child for the right reasons. Don’t praise them if they do something that comes easily. They might lose the value of working hard for something.

Also, do not give them insincere praises. These may result in bad feelings. 

Additionally, avoid using praises that compare your child to others. This will only give the notion that they will only receive praises as long as they come up on top. The moment they lose or end up in second, their motivation will come crashing down.

Furthermore, it will give them the idea that their goal in life should be competitive standing. In reality, it is the mastery of their craft that they should learn to value in life. 

Go Easy on Yourself

Last but not least, you need to learn how to be kind to yourself. You need to go easy especially when things get tougher than you initially expected. As we mentioned earlier, this is a new journey that you and your child are trying to discover.

There will be challenges that may bring setbacks and frustrations. But there will also be great days that allow you to appreciate the fruits of your efforts. 

Thus, learn how to celebrate your child’s development. Learn from your mistakes and focus on your victories both big and small. 

Treat yourself once a week. If you cannot go out, order some good food and share it with your family. 

Also, learn when to take a break. If homeschooling and all the other things are taking a toll on you, step back and rest. Relax your mind and body then get back after recharging. 

Go Beyond Teaching from Home

Teaching from home is a tall order that requires ample preparation. By following these tips, you can start on the right path and become a more effective teacher. But homeschooling is only one of the many things you can learn during the pandemic.

We invite you to check our other articles that will help broaden your knowledge. We discuss topics that will help you become productive during these trying times.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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