‘We never thought it would happen. Preposterous we said – they will never close us down!’ – Fiona Cottam
We are all teachers now – at home.
The unexpected has happened. Most countries around the world are now on lockdown to avoid spreading the coronavirus and allowing “a flattening of the curve”.
Like our own country, that interrupted all aspects of life including schooling. This has brought a great deal of frustration on many parents on what routes are available to secure their little ones education.
What are the practices that can readily be adopted and complement the traditional system of schooling? With the issues of viral outbreaks and ultimate lockdowns, it would seem a smart move would be to help your kids with schooling while complying with government policies. But the question then becomes, just how can this be achieved?
The better you understand what will be asked of you—and what you need to know to “home-school” effectively—the better prepared you’ll be to handle bumps along the way and provide your child with the support they need.
As it is, “homeschooling” like any meaningful endeavor will require time and effort. There are no short-cuts. Like all our pursuits, motivation is a non-negotiable for homeschoolers. To ease the efforts, there are a set of boosters to help your sustained efforts, should you consider “homeschooling”.
The following are some best practices that can be readily adopted during the Covid-19 lockdowns. According to NKOWA on Covid-19 Lockdown: 7 tips for parents to help them assist their children with schoolwork the following are essential:
5Begin with goal-setting
Beginning with the end in mind, sets your child up for success.
- Formulate a to-do list.
- Include school assignments and home management issues and chores.
- Having a general family and individual lists will ensure everyone contributes to keeping your home organized.
- Prioritize tasks from most important to least important.
- Review and update your list at the end of the day or week, while delegating new tasks if and when needed.
4Establish a daily routine
Children need consistency where they can predict what is expected of them on a daily basis.
- It facilitates quick transition between one activity and another.
- It sets a tone to instill self-discipline and self-driveness.
- Follow the normal school timetable and roster as closely as possible to help things run smoothly during this time of uncertainty.
- Include a variety of activities that target physical, emotional and mental health activities.
- Make changes and adapt the routine to the needs of your family and individual members.
3Formulate a self-discipline plan
Aim to make your child self-disciplined, where they take charge of their own education.
- Help your child to be intrinsically motivated by encouraging and praising them.
- List the maximum of five realistic expectations and have them posted on a wall for constant referral.
- Discuss incentives and rewards that are awarded at the end of the week as opposed to on a daily basis.
- Make it visual and fun for young children, in order for them to be motivated and inspired.
- Include school and household expectations that are tangible, realistic and age appropriate.
2Address the needs of the whole child
The physical, psychological, emotional, social and cultural development will impact the academic development of a child.
- Establish a sense of community and be aware of cultural nuances, accents and body language.
- Giving clear boundaries, including what are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors will set the tone for family life.
- Model positive verbal and non-verbal behavior, as children mirror adults’ mannerisms.
- Celebrate diversity and complement the different learning styles and characteristics with appropriate activities.
- Incorporate different pathways to learning, integrate individual talents and challenge our children.
1Set up an ideal study space
Have a designated area for your child to study as it brings an academic atmosphere into your home.
- Find a peaceful, quiet area either in a communal space or a more private room.
- Remove all distractions like phones and loud music, while keeping other digital devices for study purposes only.
- Play calm or classical music that will help concentration and not interfere with studying.
- Consider lighting and temperature that will enhance comfort and focus.
- Have all your supplies at hand and readily available as this will prevent unnecessary movement.
- Personalize the space to fit your needs and display motivating or informational posters on the surrounding walls.
- Be organized and clean up between activities and at the end of each day.
It is important that children are not allowed to leave their studies until schools reopen. No one really knows how long we will have to wait. And when that happens, the amount of pressure that many students will face will just be too much. Yet, continued assistance during the lockdown is likely to help in easing much of that.