How to Support Your Child Learning at Home
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I hope that this blog series has helped you to create some predictability and rhythm for your kids and remote learning. In this post we will focus on the final step toward creating Happy HOME rooms.
Setting up Support!
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To summarize our week of establishing a do-able 4-step system for Happy HOME rooms, we started with setting up a Space, then setting up a Schedule, followed by setting up a System. Pretty much the nuts and bolts of just working it all out functionally.
Seems easy enough when written out like that, but you and I both know it can be a little more involved. The kinks might not be all worked out right away, and you should know that is normal. Even teachers have to get their systems established at first, so don’t worry. Get your basics in place and keep tweaking it as you need.
Now that the nuts and bolts are getting in place, we will focus on the last system, setting up Support. This is going to deal with general well being.
And remember The WHY that we focused on all week? To establish a system that helps relieve underlying stressors for the kids AND you too!
Because Happy Students are Good Students. And when your kids are good, you are good. And when you are good, the family is good.
So here it is, our Fourth and Final Step.
Set up Support for your homeschooling child
What kind of support?
2020 is a unique time for most of us. While this is not unprecedented, it is new for us. With new can come discomfort, insecurity, fear and anxiety to varying degrees. So support is meant to create a caretaking balm of sorts to soothe what is irritated.
Keeping it focused on the homeroom topic, here are some common concerns that you might be experiencing.
- My kids social needs are unmet without the classroom environment
- They need more homework support
- Are they learning enough?
- They are missing their extra curriculars
- They need more interaction for learning
- I feel guilty that I am stressed by having them home all day
- I need some alone time.
I am sure that the list goes on. These are all real concerns and can hinder the kids general well being.
The purpose of today is two-fold:
First, know that you are not alone and that what you are feeling is common.
Second, to stimulate brainstorming ideas for support.
There are thousands of families in your same situation just in your own community. I don’t want to diminish your experience in any way, but rather to express that collectively we can share and grow and work to make the best of things.
And the support systems that I bullet in this email are ideas. Ideas that are meant for you to take on if they work for you, but even more I want you to use them as seeds that can stimulate other ideas that are even better for your unique needs.
As always, keeping the purpose focused in on addressing each unique need or concern. The list above is just a sampling. The best thing is for you to write out a list and then try to categorize them. Grouping will help you address multiple needs with fewer solutions. Here are very general categorize that I suggest you use.
- social needs
- academic support
- physical needs
- personal space
ESTABLISH AN ONLINE STUDY HALL
Kids really learn from the exchange of ideas that take place in a classroom environment, as well as from explaining to one another. This element can be lacking in the remote learning environment. Once your schedule is set, reach out to other students in the class and create an online study hall with set times.
Using zoom or skype can be easy ways to have homework time together and let the kids learn together in small groups.
This will not only help them in their learning, but can give them the social connection that they crave.
SEEK OUT TUTORING
Sometimes kids just need a little more. Tons of tutors, even upper-class students can offer their time and knowledge to help the kids. If budget is an issue, perhaps a small group can minimize the cost, or maybe someone can donate their time and support like an older sibling, another parent or a retired teacher.
The online forums are an easy and safe way to proceed AND you can be nearby to monitor for the kids’ safety to your comfort level.
SET UP HOMEROOM MOMS/DADS FOR SUBJECT HELP
When we set up systems we talked about communication. The idea being that one or two people could address all the issues of one particular subject – like math. If the parent is adept in that subject, perhaps they can offer their time or resources to help supplement the kids need in terms of small group help.
CREATE REGULAR SAFE SMALL GROUP GET TOGETHERS
“Playdates” for young and old are possible in most states. Especially when outdoor gatherings can be accommodated. Even just spending time with one other friend can be a relief for kids.
The same goes for you. Your needs should be addressed as well, and having time to go for a walk with a friend or sit outside for coffee and catch up is important. Schedule these times in your day.
SET TIME FOR REGULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Just in case the sports are cancelled doesn’t mean we have to be sedentary. Set up physical activity. You can do it inside or out. You can participate with your small groups. Or even go to a track and kick a soccer ball or go for a run. It is good for the body and the mind.
SEEK OUT SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL TOOLS
We are so lucky to have resources online that can help support a learning environment. Kahn Academy and other online learning environments can really be a great source of help in case you don’t feel like the kids are being educated well enough in these circumstances. While it might not seem fair that they have to seek this out, that really isn’t the issue at hand. Stay focused on the need and fill the gap for learning.
DO NOT DISTURB/PRIVATE TIMEOUTS
With all shutdowns you wouldn’t think we need quiet time, but the stress from things being different can fatigue us. It’s normal to need sanctuary and alone time both for the kids and for you.
Support that need, and create a lovely getaway. Whether it be in your room or a cozy chair in the corner, set up a quiet retreat and a do not disturb sign. Set it for 15 minutes to just decompress and breathe. Pray, reflect, regroup and count your blessings.
With all the needs of the kids, don’t let the marriage fall into the shadows. Date night is just as important as ever. The date might not look the same as it used to but nurture your relationship. If going out and leaving the house isn’t an option, here is an idea that I used… Couch time.
My husband and I dedicated time in the living room on the sofa for 30 to 60 minutes in the evening. Sofa time.
We set a timer and let the kids know that this is mom and dad time. Our kids were old enough to understand that unless there was fire or blood, everything else would wait, lol. It didn’t matter if we sat in silence and held hands, read a magazine, had a glass of wine or talked up a storm because we knew we needed to prioritize us. Even on the nights when we were too tired, we needed it.
It was gold. I encourage you to establish your marriage as part of your routine. Grow together and be even more solid as a unit.
TIP 1: Set up your systems in place and when that is in order, start setting up support. You can easily see what the kids need and add to the schedules once they are established.
TIP 2: Seek to create some balance and address all areas of your child’s development. Often times emphasis gets place in only a couple of areas, like social time, or physical activity. The Bible tells us that Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men. Whether you believe in scripture or not this provides a clear view of how we are to raise our children as a whole and in a balance, and continually: intellectually, physically, spiritually and socially. Remember to include activities with church or youth groups, or volunteering and giving to the community. Teaching the kids that there is a great big world outside of them and that they are participants is a great gift.
ACTION ITEM: Set up the first 3 steps. Meanwhile, you can start planting seeds on how to create support systems, or create group chats with other moms and students and get share the load. Working together you can move mountains!
ACTION ITEM #2: If you are totally on top of this, that is truly fantastic. I can only encourage you to utilize your gifts and seek out others who might need some extra help. Just feeling overwhelmed can cripple moms and kids, so offering help with a little lift can really brighten another person’s day. Share your love.
I hope these ideas will be helpful. Seek out the support you need and also offer what you can to help others. Remote or homeschooling might be new for you and your family, but new doesn’t mean impossible.
Please let me know how this is working out for you, or if you need more. I would love to hear from you – always and at any time.
My prayers and best wishes for all of you and your families. I truly hope the best for you and the kids.
Happy HOME Rooms!