Homeschooling : It doesn’t have to feel like work!
Scenes like this are playing out all across to country. Don't despair. Here are a few tips to get you through.
I’m sure that there are many parents stressing about how to teach their children in this crisis. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all. Not even close. This is a great time to reinforce what they already know, allow them to apply their knowledge, and have them teach you. Yes, you heard me, make them the teacher. Teaching a skill is the best application of knowledge.
There are a multitude of homeschooling sites and resources out there to use, and I won’t got into that. Plus, your teachers will be sending work home on a regular basis, as they adapt their lessons to be more self directed.
Again, you are not expected to bring your child through an entire grade, just to make sure there is no summer slide. You know the way students forget 10 months of schooling in 2 months (sometimes weeks…)?
Now I can’t be grade specific, but in general, the older the child, the more independent they are, and they need to be. You are there as an encourager and supporter..
Here are my hints and suggestions:
English Language Arts
Can’t learn anything without this subject and it’s easier than you think. Really.
Read to your child: Students learn from experience. Model good reading habits and the student will mimic what they hear.
Have your child read to you: Don’t always correct. Let mistakes happen and discuss skills to decode the text. Sounding out words is not a foolproof method. So many rules and exceptions make this tricky to use. Try the following prompts.
• What do you think it says?
• Read the sentence and tell me what word would make sense there.
• Can you find a word within the word to build on?
When you read, how many words do you have trouble with? Probably not too many. Once a word is learned, it’s in there.
Have spelling bee competitions: This helps you too! I have trouble visualizing words in my head…
Play Scrabble: And Pictionary. Concentration. Make word searches, and crosswords.
Write stories: The best way to learn language is to use it. Verbal vocabulary is always way beyond written or reading vocabulary. Have the student make up a story, then write it down. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar at this stage, it will be a good lesson in editing for any age. If they write words the way they sound, you will more than likely be able to read it, and it’s all about the creativity at this point.
Once you edit, using simple editing marks ( circle and add sp for spelling, carets ^ for inserting, three lines under a letter to capitalize (three lines with a diagonal for lowercase) and – through a word to indicate a different choice etc.), the student can move on to revising. And revising again…
Illustrate: No rules here. It’s art, just have fun!
That’s all you have to do. Really.
Oh-oh. I suck at math. More accurately, I struggle with many aspects. I like math, numbers are fascinating in the way that they work, and I enjoy doing algebra. Really. So, I practice doing math. Not everyday, but I try to do it often. It can’t hurt…
This is the only place where I will put in a recommendation: Greg Tang (or Gregg Tang), nope its Greg Tang. Why? He has a wonderful way of breaking down mathematical processes in ways that students can apply to do math mentally. I don’t remember how difficult it gets, but you can start using it for early grads. Did I say Greg Tang? Yes, I believe that I did.
This is a good opportunity to apply math in everyday life. Add up grocery prices, estimate how many jellybeans (what? You forgot to stock up on jellybeans? M&M’s then…),
Play card games: Cribbage comes to mind.
Play board games: Don’t count the spaces one at a time, do it in 2’s, 3’s, or one fell swoop. Each player in Monopoly takes a turn and being the banker so you spread out the opportunity to skim off the top (No, I did not say that…). Games like Blockus, build special skills, as do puzzles.
Read the textbook: There are still textbooks in school, right?
Work through the textbook: You didn’t think you would get off that easy, did you?
Again there are many online resources. Use them to improve your skills as well.
One more idea: Bake. Cut the recipe in half or a third. double it, etc... Ratios!
Play: You heard me, play. Inside, outside if you can. At least an hour. An hour will fly by.
History and Geography. This is where textbooks come in handy again. Remember those? Ah, they are probably online anyway.
Watch TV. Bill Nye, MythBusters Jr., Magic School Bus, The Weather Network, The Science of Stupid.
Listen to music, play music if you can, and talk about music. What do you like about it, how does it make you feel. Draw, sketch and paint to music. Write music. Dance.
You will notice that Math and ELA are the most important. Without those two, everything else is out of reach. So, if you are going to do anything, do those.
I hope that I have been able to ease some anxiety when it comes to this new responsibility that has been thrust upon you. Don’t feel like you have to do it all, do what you can to maintain what is there and most importantly, spend time with your family.
Oh, and one more thing you will discover:
Teachers are underpaid…