Mom teaching child to color

As the debate continues on about whether schools will conduct in-room classes this year or not, the majority of parents have started preparing for their respective homeschooling journeys. Homeschooling might be a concept quite foreign to most Filipino households prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this method of learning has many advantages on its own. It allows a child to learn at his or her own pace, along with all the necessary attention needed to ensure maximum learning and retention1.

Now that you’re on full gear and ready to start, read on below. Find out about the ABCs you need to learn about homeschooling:

Age and level appropriate resources and achievable goals
Are you doing your own homeschool lesson plan? Are you getting materials from a certified homeschool provider? If you’re availing the services of a homeschooling provider, the fee that you are paying comes with a set of modules that you can do at home. If you’re DIY-ing your homeschool lesson plan, you have to make sure that the materials and activities incorporated in your daily lessons are appropriate for the age and level of your child.

As a starting point, try researching what the learning goals should be for their age and the activities that can maximize their skills and engage their learning potential. A combination of several materials designed to target both your child’s IQ and EQ are available online, some are free and some come with a fee. Always make sure that the materials you are using are appropriate because if not, either of two things may happen. One is you are setting your child up to fail for using materials that require much higher cognitive and developmental skills to accomplish. Secondly, the materials are too easy that they don’t provide the necessary stimulation to fully engage and maximize your child’s potential. 

Basic and simple homeschooling setup
As homeschooling might be a novel idea for most parents, there might be a tendency to go crazy on the preparations and overlook the most fundamental aspects to consider. Instead of nitpicking whether the design of the home classroom looks “preschool” enough, why not involve your child in setting up the place? It might take longer and messier as opposed to doing it on your own, but involving your child in the process gives him or her ownership of the setup. This will also encourage active participation and cooperation when the actual homeschooling starts.

Designate a learning-conducive space that’s appropriate for the activities that you’re going to do. It needs to be a space that’s suited not just for your child, but also for you. Remember that it’s not a homeschooling requirement for the place, the gadgets and the materials to be fancy. Most of the time even the most basic and simple materials work! It’s always easier to start simple. Thereafter, work your way up rather than going big at the first instance and then discarding when the momentum dies down. Would you rather spend a thousand pesos for an art kit, when you can make some from old cardboard, paper, and leftover paint?

Create a schedule and stick to it
Most kids thrive on routines because it helps them organize their day2. It makes them aware of what is expected of them. Additionally, it gets everyone on the same page in terms of expectations. If you are homeschooling more than one child, a schedule is important. This can ensure that all topics are covered and nothing is missed3. Incorporate in your routine some of the usual stuff that you do everyday. For example, a time to eat breakfast, time to get ready, and time for snack breaks and play4. Make things exciting. Do this by incorporating other activities like sensory play, audio-visual presentations, and storytelling.

If you have time and you are creative, you can include stage presentations in your homeschooling lesson plan. You can invite friends and family to watch via video calls. Make it an experience shared with loved ones. Keep in mind that creating a schedule and sticking to it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leave room for flexibility. Getting the Monday blues and not feeling up to it? There’s no harm nor shame in skipping a day to recharge. Remember to get back on track. As long as you stay disciplined and conscious, you’re all good.

Stock up on patience
Homeschooling will test your patience. There is no denying that. If your child does not follow your instructions and cooperate, offer words of encouragement. If you feel defeated and angry, breathe in and out. Do not lecture from a place of perfection. Let it come from a place of love and guidance. For support and sharing of best practices, you can try joining social media groups with other parents who homeschool their kids as well5. You will find that a community can give you the emotional support and encouragement that you need. You can also get some tips on how to approach some situations that other parents may have already encountered in their homeschooling journey.

Homeschooling requires a huge amount of work, patience, understanding and love. This does not just come from you and your child. It is a combined effort from everyone in the entire household. Making sure that everyone is onboard the homeschool train is essential in ensuring its success. Choose to change the mindset towards homeschooling. This may be one of the most important steps to take in your journey. Look at homeschooling as an opportunity. Make it a rewarding experience to get to know your child, your family and yourself.

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References:

1 Homeschooling (2015). Retrieved on August 19, 2020 from https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/homeschool.html
2 Ten Tips for Your Child’s Success in School (2019). Retrieved on August 19, 2020 from  https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/school/Pages/Ten-Tips-for-Your-Childs-Success-in-School.aspx
3 Homeschooling the Village (2020). Retrieved on August 19, 2020 from https://psychcentral.com/blog/homeschooling-the-village/
4 Working and Learning from Home during the Covid19 Outbreak (2020). Retrieved  on August 19, 2020 from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Working-and-Learning-from-Home-COVID-19.aspx
5 Tips for Effective Education through Homeschooling (2018). Retrieved on August 19, 2020 from https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/tips-for-effective-education-through-homeschooling/?ref=interlink