Helpful Coronavirus Homeschooling Tips for Parents
These four tips from an expert will help you educate your kids—and talk them through their new homeschooling routine.
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"It's going to be very hard," he continues. "I don’t think parents should expect to become experts in that field overnight. Managing those expectations is important as well."
Before you even begin teaching, help your child with a special need feel safe and comfortable in this new environment. Help him understand why his routine has changed. He won't be able to learn if he is anxious. (Check out this piece for more tips on easing anxiety in kids with and without special needs.)
"I would advise parents to read up on mental health experts’ information online for that," Selinger says. "It has to be explained based on the child’s age and developmental level why they’re not going to school."
One thing that might help is a visual schedule for all seven days of the week, Selinger suggests. (This goes for kids with and without disabilities.) Allow your child to shape the breaks in her day, as well.
Give your child the opportunity to visually connect with someone outside your home every day.
"It’s really important that every day, children and parents are connecting with others, whether it’s family or peers. The kids are hopefully having some sort of live experience with teachers too. If they can visually connect with others through video chat, and it becomes a routine, it creates a connection and decreases anxiety. Now is a good time to pick up the phone and talk to people," Selinger says.
When you begin homeschooling, lay the groundwork for open conversations with your kids.
Remember that kids don't necessarily want their parents as their teachers, Selinger advises. You might get backlash because you're attempting to teach unlike their teachers usually do, and it can get emotional. Your child should be allowed to have input in his new homeschooling routine (especially tweens and teens). If your child is continually getting upset, take that as a signal to adjust what you're doing.
Try to explain to your child that no, you're not a teacher, but you're trying to help her. Ask how her teacher normally explains certain subjects. If she's a math whiz, let her lead you. Offer to contact her teacher to get teaching strategies and learn the ways of her normal classroom.
Most importantly, remember this is a learning process for everyone involved.
"There’s a lot of learning that needs to be done on the parent end to learn, from the kid’s perspective, how things were done at school," Selinger says. "Kids don’t want parents being their teachers. It’s the parent’s responsibility to explain to their child or children what their role is. And once you make that clear, you’ll get less defiance from the child."