Homeschooling Kids (on top of everything else) During Coronavirus
Are you going a little crazy trying to be your child’s teacher, as well as a parent during the Coronavirus shutdown? Check out this interview with Heather Forbes, a licensed clinical social worker, the author of the bestselling book Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control: A Love-Based Approach to Helping Attachment-Challenged Children With Severe Behaviors, the founder of the Beyond Consequences Institute, and author of numerous other books, including her newest release, Classroom180: Trauma-Informed Classrooms.
Many parents are stressed because they feel the burden of trying to keep their kids caught up in school during this time of self-isolation. And add that on top of all the other worries of trying to work at home or losing your job, financial woes, and general concern over the health of those you love and it’s a lot.
How to balance school expectations with what is realistic in our lives given our time, personalities/temperaments, and patience?
Establish a routine. Many kids and parents are struggling with the lack of routine that a school day provides. Kids and parents both thrive on routine so set up a rough schedule with blocks of about 2 hours and designate what you can do during that time.
What are some of the special challenges when trying to step into the role of teacher during this time when our schools are shut down? (power struggles, fear that they will get further behind, frustrations because they don’t seem to be trying or can’t seem to grasp the concept.)
Tips for homeschooling kids during the coronavirus:
Establish a rough daily routine that includes time for academics, but define academics broadly. Involve the kids in establishing the routine and do your best to accommodate their suggestions.
Relax expectations and give yourself some grace. Attachment and connection are more important than academics.
Don’t hesitate to alter school assignments to fit your child, you, your time, and your patience.
De-emphasize worksheets and focus on helping your kids love books and learning to satisfy curiosity.
Questions from our audience:
“How can I get through to my child? My daughter questions EVERYTHING I say. If the teacher says it, it is ok, but when she hears it from me, then it is up for debate! We get her homework through a school platform and we read it together, but she seems not to understand that assignments come from the teacher and not from me. Major communication problems that make the homeschooling hours very frustrating for both of us.”
“Any good tips for helping kids in a range of ages? (First grade through middle schoolers in our house.)”
“How to handle and occupy many ages so all can focus on school. 16 yr old is easily distracted and needs guidance but complains that she cannot focus when at the table where I homeschool the younger kids, yet when sent to work independently in her room rarely accomplishes anything.”
“ Some of my kids have ADHD and I’ve been struggling with ideas to help “get the wiggles out” since it’s been so cold and rainy here.”
“My kindergarten son, adopted at age 3 from foster care, is way behind his peers in school. And now this! The school has sent home worksheets and I’ve ordered a big book of worksheets. I am so worried that he’ll fall even further behind.”
“ Last week I was loving all the ideas that people are posting for educational things you can do with your kids. This week, I’m just tired. Everything requires my time to implement or do or supervise. I’m lucky to still have a job and I want to keep it so I’m working from home and cooking all our meals. I have no time for myself and am trying to find time in the early morning and late at night to work. How can we do it all and what can they do by themselves when they are either too young to learn by themselves or too unfocused.”
“My 16 year old son has decided apparently to blow off the rest of this year. There are classes and assignments online, but he either refuses to attend or doesn’t engage when attending. He has always hated school and now he says that school has invaded his only safe place—home. How hard should I push. What is my role and what is the school’s role?”
“I am really struggling with my adopted daughter with special needs to lower my expectations for her while trying to give her the structure and routine she desperately craves. How do I strike a balance there?”
“Tips and strategies for Tweens/teens who want to do their school work independently but don’t have the executive functioning abilities to manage their studies.”
“How to help a tween find balance who is too wrapped up in school/grades as identity and goes way overboard on time spent on school work.”
“How do parents stay motivated? Especially when we are trying to juggle work, housework, and our own sense of anxiety about the state of the world. And we don’t get the lunch breaks, recess time, and prep periods that teachers have. I am beat!”
Sue Badeau Video, Sue’s Tips for Schooling at Home
Music credit: Michael Ashworth