The 5 W’s of Homeschooling
A lot of parents have been thrown into homeschooling with almost no warning at all. Many are feeling as if they need to handle the transition with ease, pretending to their employers that they don’t have kids or to their kids that they don’t have a job. The reality is, many of us are wearing a million different hats right now with little to no training. So many parents have reached out expressing their desire to teach their children well during this time while also voicing significant overwhelm and burn out.
At Wright Academics, we believe in the power of working together and supporting each other whenever possible. That is why we created this resource to help you continue homeschooling your children. While this guide is not comprehensive, it is meant to give you some clarity. Education is not about perfection, and we want you to know we are here to help you educate your children well (while taking care of yourself) during this time.
Below we have outlined the 5 W’s of homeschooling. Keep reading to gain holistic guidance from our amazing, committed team on how to continue teaching and helping your children grow during self-quarantine.
Everyone! Everyone is in the same boat during this weird time – kids, parents, tutors, peers, and teachers. We are all on the same team and all need to work together in order to support our children successfully. One thing we have been emphasizing to parents is ask for help when you need it! No one expects you to have homeschooling figured out in a month, and it is HARD to wear so many hats at once. Many of you are teachers, chefs, entertainers, coaches, and caretakers right now…you have a ton on your plate! Sometimes we feel the temptation to act like we have everything under control, but homeschooling is a day by day, child-specific endeavor.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to us, other parents, or co-workers who may be going through the same thing. Even those who normally homeschool their children often join homeschooling groups for support and community.
Your daily homeschooling schedule can incorporate many different activities. We often advise parents and students to focus on harder subjects in the morning when kids are more alert and to get outside in the afternoon. Many kids no longer have sports practices or outdoor activities, and they need to move around in order to learn effectively. Take the afternoon to play sports, go for a walk, take a bike ride, or garden with your kids.
If you are looking for additional educational resources, some of our favorite online learning sites are Brain Pop, Brain Pop Jr., Scholastic, and Khan Academy (ideal for older children.) We also believe in individualized, targeted instruction, which is why our tutoring sessions are often so effective.
If possible, try to give each student their own space in the house. Giving each child their own space will help reduce distractions. Designating specific learning spaces also creates a clear indication of when it is time to learn and when it is not. All of our environmental boundaries are now blurred, which can be confusing and stressful for children. What used to be the dining room is now mom and dad’s conference room, or what used to be the living room is now an online learning space for a sibling. Giving each child their own space as best you can will provide the child a sense of ownership and responsibility for their own area.
Also remember that depending on their age, children’s needs can be different. For example, elementary school children need lots of movement. If you can, give them a little stand up desk (maybe a short table) and try to incorporate movement into their lessons. Older (middle school or high school aged) children might be tempted to isolate in their room. They need movement too! Avoid letting older children stay inside all day and encourage them to get up and move around fairly frequently.
Another good practice is to keep all passwords and learning materials in one place. Giving your child all of their relevant passwords for schoolwork on a piece of paper can reduce confusion and potentially decrease interruptions of your own workday. By keeping all learning materials in one place, children will have a clearly defined boundary of where school is held and where they can enjoy downtime. Remember, your children are used to getting up, preparing for school, commuting, and learning at a school building. Now, waking up and walking over to a desk is your child’s school “commute.” Try to create boundaries and well-defined structure where you can.
I am reading an amazing book right now by Daniel Pink called When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. This book explains, our most productive hours are in the morning, and our productivity peaks at 12 p.m. Try implementing a 25 min. on and 5 min. off system of learning where your child learns for 25 minutes then gets a 5-minute break. Our energy then decreases approaching 3 p.m., and 3 p.m. is normally our “slump” period. For adults, that might be the time of day when you’re reaching for another cup of coffee, and for kids, this is often the time when they would normally be returning home from school. Our energy will then start to pick up as the evening goes on and then level off around bedtime. Our goal is to increase efficiency and learning while decreasing burn out.
Why am I including these statistics? To show you that a daily schedule helps everyone. Structure evokes a feeling of safety and promotes productivity. I also include those statistics so you can be more empathetic toward your child’s spurts and slumps of energy. Being aware of when your child is most attentive will help you be able to collaborate with your child’s teachers and educational team. The reality is, we are all feeling loss right now; we have lost our normal routines, special events, sports seasons, and much more. As your children navigate these uncharted waters, try your best to give them empathy and grace as this situation is hard on everyone.
What do you and your kids want to remember when this is all over? Your answer to this question is your why, and your why will guide you through your homeschooling journey! It doesn’t have to be perfect, and odds are, it probably won’t be, but if you continually show-up for yourself and your kids, you are doing a great job!
Hopefully, this resource will help you gain some traction as you continue to homeschool your children. If you need further, individualized help, we have knowledgeable tutors ready to support you and your children with compassion and excellence!
Interested in finding a tutor specific to your child’s needs? Learn more about Wright Academics here.
About Evelyn Wright
Evelyn Wright is the Director of Wright Academics, a tutoring business created to target kids’ specific needs. Her passion is helping students and families succeed so that they achieve their maximum potential in and out of the classroom.
With over 25 years of experience working with children and their families in public and private schools, as well as in private practice, Evelyn’s focus is understanding the individual’s learning profile, guiding families of children with learning differences and matching students to the tutor or coach that best fits the student. She believes in not only matching educational needs to the right tutor’s skills, but matching a student to the tutor with the right personality.