Until a few weeks ago, many of us have taken our educational system for granted, unaware that we would ever need homeschooling tips or have to teach a real classroom lesson! So FamilyApp CEO and homeschooling pioneer Peter Kraus has put together this resource including some of his best tips to stay safe and sane as he engages in COVID-19 homeschool.
Peter’s Homeschool Tips
Strap in for the ride, new homeschoolers! Your homeschooling journey might just turn into the best memories of one-on-one time with your child. As we’re getting through each day I’m posting short video clips of ideas to make the most of this time with your family. These aren’t typical homeschool resources or curriculum from those perfect homeschooling moms, but rather straight talk from a guy who is right there with you struggling to remember everything from phonics to the Phoenicians and figure out online lesson plans and learning. I’m really just relaying great advice from my parents and siblings as we recall homeschooling as a child years ago through high school education. Many years from now you’ll look back cherish this unexpected homeschool year.
Tip 24: Teach your kids the value of perseverance by celebrating their achievements. I don’t know about you, but it’s April 30th and I was hoping this quarantine would be over by now. Not sure how we’re going to celebrate when it is, but boy are we going to!
Tip 23: Start every school day out with something positive — a thought, a prayer, an inspirational quote. And, have each of the kids take turns being in charge of this.
Tip 22: A good homeschool day starts with planning the night before. I remember my dad had a pen and pad beside his bed and he would just empty his mind so he could get a good night’s sleep.
Tip 21: Hug everyone in your house at least 20 seconds. Apparently that releases oxytocin which helps you deal with stress, or in my case, general irritability.
Tip 20: Pick something to memorize as a family, or something that’s age-appropriate for each child. When I was a kid I memorized “If” by Rudyard Kipling and it sure has served me well during this quarantine.
Tip 19: Have a family briefing at the end of the day or at the end of the week. What went well? What didn’t go so well? So you can adjust your schedule. Oh and take tea breaks!
Tip 18 is from my sister Heidi and her husband Matt. Teach your child to garden. It can be outside, if you’re so lucky, or just grab a pot and some seeds and teach them about photosynthesis and nutrients and all that good stuff.
Tip 17: Teach your kids to break down big tasks into small ones. It’s a lifetime skill that has served me well which my parents taught me. In developer speak it’s epics, sprints and issues.
Tip 16: Call your grandmother, or grandfather, or both if you’re so lucky! I just got off of a call with my parents and siblings and grandmother and it made her day. She’s been sequestered by herself for over a month.
Tip 15: Take the time to thank your kids’ teachers for all they’re doing. We have a hard enough time keeping track of our 3. I can’t imagine how they do 30 plus their own kids!
Tip 14: Don’t be afraid to repeat subjects your child just isn’t learning. My mom made me retake algebra in 7th grade and I ended up majoring in accounting. I aced the ACT math section, and of course I ended up with a career in software development.
Tip 13: Capitalize on things homeschooling is good for — like working at your own pace and focusing on the resrouce your child is most interested in. We seem to be writing a lot of plays and playing a lot of piano in this household.
Tip 12: Remember each child probably has a different homeschooling strength or learning style. It might be kinesthetic, or hands on, like me, or visual, or audio. Leverage these strengths when you’re trying to teach them.
Tip 11: Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it all done! Just focus on the three “R’s” — reading, writing and arithmetic. I broke my femur bone when I was five and and missed half of kindergarten, and I turned out all right. 🙂
Tip 10: Institute family work days. When I was a kid it was Saturdays; and when we were finished a task we had to come ask my dad, or tell him – “What’s next, Dad!”
Tip 9: Tip number 9 is from my brother, Tim. Put all your household rules and schedules up on display where everyone can see it. That’s a good one! I’m on my way to do it now.
Tip 8: This tip is from my sister Wendy. Allow the older kids to care for the younger ones. It gives them a sense of purpose. I remember Wendy teaching our youngest sibling Heidi. Today they’re caring for COVID-19 patients, like so many heroes in our hospitals.
Tip 7: Physical Education & Exercise!! (And, yes, we’re working on proper pushup form. This tip is from my Dad. With his background in physiology and early career in parks and recreation management, Dad was well qualified to teach us P. E. To this day he’s encouraging us to eat healthful food and stay fit! We’ve settled into a routine of mandatory family activity at 4 pm. Oh, and cleaning the house counts, too!)
Tip 6: Stick to a schedule with ample time in the curriculum for deep thinking and deep learning. For right brainers it’s a bit of a challenge, but remember it makes space for creativity.
Tip 5: This is more of a true confession. Hold your child accountable. We’ve been challenged to find a loving and consistent way to do so. But not holding them to task is not loving them. As I told one of them recently, everyone has a boss.
Tip 4: Take breaks — breaks during the school day, breaks during the week, vary your activity. Especially digital breaks.
Tip 3: Assign everyone a day of the week, or days of the week – and the privileges and responsibilities that go with it. Right now our kids help cook dinner and lead devotions on their day. Thursday was my day as a child. I loved it and dreaded it.
Take yourself seriously, but not too seriously. Get up, get dressed for work, get dressed for school, pledge allegiance
to the flag. We even have dress down Fridays! I get to wear a t-shirt today.
Tip 1: Take personal time every day — whether it’s prayer, mediation, personal reflection. Get yourself straight first before your family. Like the airlines say, put the oxygen masks on yourself first, then your child.
Remarks from Peter about these homeschooling tips and great resources.
As we’ve all been thrust into COVID-19 homeschool, we’re so grateful for our kids’ teachers and school systems leveraging technology to continue on. I now realize how important it is for us as a family to embrace this homeschooling. On this note, I actually have some relevant personal experience as a homeschooler. I was part of a pioneer homeschooling family in the state of Virginia some 30 years ago. (Yeah, we were homeschooling about the time HSLDA started!) My dear homeschool mom not only established a curriculum that helped us through high school education and into college and grad school, but my homeschool parents came together and figured out a way to run their household and the homeschool day such that all seven of us could thrive together and not be stepping on each others’ toes. So I figured during this next month of continued social distancing and “corona cocooning” as we’ve been calling it, that I’ll share tips from my own personal homeschool experience.