Teaching Tips to Make Homeschooling Easier from a Former Teacher
It will still be hard but these tips will make teaching your child while juggling other responsibilities more manageable.
Four months ago I shared how I managed my daughter’s homeschooling. It was more laid back then since it was already towards the end of the school year when they shifted into homeschooling. We also needed time to adjust to the new normal.
This time is different. It’s the beginning of the school year and no one knows how long this “new normal” will go on. Her academics now mainly rely on me. I will still not try to make it normal but I will now try my best to catch up on her academics.
Here are teaching tips I do which may also be applicable for you.
1. Start with a motivational activity.
A warm-up activity will (ideally) get your student (child)excited about the lesson. This doesn’t need to be an elaborate one, just something to set the mood and get your child ready. A song, a short video, a question, or a simple experiment are examples of motivational activities.
The drill may or not be related to the lesson. Either way, you can ask your child how the activity is related to the topic. This will let you gauge the current knowledge of your child on the topic, it can be a teaching opportunity for your child, or it can even be a learning opportunity for you.
2. Let your child copy the traditional way.
Even if there are books, modules, tablets, and videos that may seem to make pen and paper obsolete, it is still best to give writing activities to your child. Copying will improve retention since more senses are involved. It also improves reading, writing, and spelling skills.
In your part as the teacher, it gives you time to rest, review the next activities, or do house chores for a few minutes. To make note-taking more enjoyable for your child, give them freedom on how to do it. Allow them to choose colors or add drawings.
When I was still teaching, I found it fascinating to check student notebooks. I take time to respond to them through their notebooks especially things that I forget to tell in class. Some students also communicate with me through their notes. They’re in year eight but they still loved stickers and simple notes. One student was thrilled when I posted a “Happy Birthday” sticker on his notes. He was so delighted that he asked me to “autograph” the sticker.
3. Youtube is your friend.
Don’t torture yourself in trying to understand concepts that are new to you so you can teach them to your child well. There are plenty of video lessons on Youtube that are well-explained. Some of my go-to channels are TED-Ed and AumSum Time.
You can add your inputs after the video or ask your children what they think. Just make sure to watch the videos you intend to use first.
4. Collaborate with the teacher.
If something is not clear, ask the teacher right away instead of figuring it out yourself. Ask for suggestions on how to approach the module. Voice out your comments about the module.
“It takes a village to raise a child” as the saying goes. A parent and a teacher can learn from each other in the best ways to teach a child. Be honest if you are clueless about a lesson. It’s okay. Your child’s teacher should be willing to help.
5. Ask the child to suggest activities.
Participation is better if the child is involved in decision-making. Once in a while, let your child pick the activity for the lesson. If your child is too young to suggest, give choices, and let them pick.
This will also reinforce the child’s ability to think and decide for themselves. If their suggestions are not possible, allow them to think more until you come up with something doable. Better yet, ask them how to make their idea possible.
6. Incorporate the child’s interests into the lesson.
Use characters, food, or movies that the child likes when giving examples or explaining concepts. For example, if the lesson is about changes in matter and they like The Avengers, you can get scenes from the movie showing physical and chemical changes.
You can even use an entire movie for your assessment. I used this in class when our topic was about emotions. I let the students watch Inside Out and have them list down 20 different kinds of emotions while watching. Then they were free to just watch when they finished the task.
7. Let the child go through the modules alone.
If your child can read, allow the child to go through the modules alone. This will enhance your child’s ability to read, understand, and follow instructions. Encourage them to ask questions and teach them how to find answers themselves if they’re old enough.
Set time for independent learning and then follow-up afterward. Let the child explain what they learned and correct as needed. Work on your child’s weak areas but don’t forget to appreciate your child’s efforts.
It is a tough job to be a parent or a teacher, let alone be both. Don’t make it harder by giving unrealistic expectations to yourself and/or your child. My suggestions above are just suggestions to make homeschooling easier, but always make room for mistakes and adjustments. Don’t forget to have time for breaks too!
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