Are you looking for ways to have school at home with success and peace? If you are suddenly teaching your children at home, things might feel a little overwhelming. I’d like to share with you what has worked and what hasn’t and some tips to help you teach your children at home with confidence and calm.
School at Home with Success and Peace
Because everyone is different, the definition of what success is, might be on a spectrum. I totally get that! Below are a few of my key indicators to benchmark school-at-home with success and peace:
Homeschool Versus School at Home
First, I would like to clarify the difference between homeschooling and school at home. Did you notice I did not call what we are doing “homeschool”?
In the past, we (our family) have homeschooled our children and it was very different from what we are doing now – following the public charter our children attended prior to the stay-home orders.
- Homeschool is when the parent leads the schooling choices possibly with the insight and feedback from her children, the students.
- The family chooses the curriculum, the schedule, and the subjects covered, for example, considering what fits the child and the values of the family best.
- The parent will also decide what constitutes mastery of the skill or subject, among other leadership roles.
As families complete assignments from an educator, we are doing school at home. And whether it be from printed worksheets or streaming or online instruction, families are an extension of that institution and not necessarily a homeschool.
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Another Major Difference
Another major difference between homeschooling and completing school at home right now is that usually, for us, at least, homeschool is in large part outings and practical learning experiences.
When we were homeschooling, we visited museums, parks, the library for materials, library programs, social groups, group classes, state parks, science centers, historical sights, tide pools for science, and professionals in various fields (baker, glass-blowing, law enforcement). That is just to name a few of the examples.
Under the current circumstances, our children have not been off of our property for over a month. We do not have supplemental materials from the library like we usually had and enrichment at parks and experiences is not allowed. This changes the dynamic of learning greatly for our active family.
Why the difference between homeschool and school at home matters
The reason I am defining the differences between school at home and homeschool is that more grace is needed. Based on the environment of today, a family may get the wrong impression of what a home-based education can look like. Maybe a parent is discouraged because this has been stressful or difficult. My guess is that some parents may feel guilt or shame because they “aren’t doing it right.”
What we are doing is not normal.
We are not home-schooling and working-from-home.
We are living through a global crisis and caring for our families the best we know how to and trying to get some work done.
Thanksgiving for Teachers and All Educational Support Persons!
School at Home with Success and Peace
SIX BEST TIPS
Now that I have cleared that up (hopefully haha!), I wanted to talk about your school at home with success and peace. These are my 6 best tips to help you love this time with your kids!
1 Take Care of YOU
Starting out, how can you give anything your best if you are not feeling your best? Be sure to get sleep, water, nutritious food, soul-enriching time alone (it’s hard, but possible even if it’s only 10 minutes!), and a little sunshine and fresh air every single day.
For me, getting up and getting showered and dressed and all ready for the day makes a huge difference in my attitude and momentum. I prefer to have the kids dressed, beds made, breakfast done, and teeth brushed, but these are not dealbreakers.
Take a few minutes to determine what you need to feel not only human but living your best. Make a quick written or mental checklist. Go over this list if you start to feel like you’re slipping. It seems like these would be so basic “how could I forget?”, but sometimes I literally notice that I am holding my breath for no apparent reason at all! Be intentional about caring for YOU.
2 Set Goals
As I listed before, success looks different for everyone. These are uncharted waters and we are setting a new course. Previously, I shared my school at home goals, benchmarks listed above. I encourage you to set yours. Without a way to measure your success, it is so frustrating to know if you have a success on your hands or not!
3 Apply Grace Liberally
Once you have some goals set, get ready to change them a few times and be OK with not meeting those goals with an A+ 100% grade. Again, this is a global crisis. Go easy on yourself, your kids, the teachers, your partner, the dog, your governor…who else can we go easy on? You get the idea.
I like to think that everyone is doing just about the best they know how right now. Tensions are high, so err on the side that you are probably doing better than you think.
Don’t fake it until you make it.
Do your best until your best gets better.
4 Get on a Schedule
Now, don’t click away yet! Hear me out. I am not talking about a regimented drill set on military time. No Sir! (LOL!) I am talking about a simple routine and rhythm for the day. Here’s a pic of one of ours (it has changed many times). Yours could be even simpler than that.
The many goal is to have a plan so everyone knows what is expected and try not to miss anything important.
5 Set up a Clear Learning Area
Stop the Amazon scroll, I am not saying that you need to order a globe, April showers bulletin board, and a cat poster (Hang in There!) for your new classroom. Nope, we use a table in the playroom and a basket for paper, books, and pencils. That is it. Having a designated area for learning can help with tone and limit distractions. (Pro Tip: the couch is 93% impossible for us to learn on.)
6 Make it Fun – Chocolate Helps!
Remember, one of my goals is to help children love learning. I also want to strengthen our relationship, so baked goods as bribes are not beneath me. Sometimes the smell of warm brownies is helpful to get everyone to the table. Maybe in your home, it is a promise of electronics after the work is done. Whatever you need to do to keep it fun, do it.
Last but not least, having a sense of humor goes a long way in keeping the sanity. The humor keeps things light a bearable and THAT is important for school at home success and peace.
School at Home Success and Peace
We can enjoy school at home success and peace with my 6 best tips to help you teach your children at home with confidence and calm:
1 Take care of YOU
2 Set goals
3 Apply grace liberally
4 Get on a schedule
5 Set up a clear learning space
6 Make it fun – chocolate helps!
Are you unexpectedly teaching kids at home right now? What are you finding to be the biggest challenges? What have been the greatest joys? Share with us in the comments on or social media links on this page.
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(Grayscale) print this fun School At Home Bingo Game!