17 Aug 10 Tips for Successful Home School Learning
Back to school this year is like no other in our memories. Whether your kids are going back to school in person full time or starting online, at some point this year they will probably be working from home – with you! If you were given a choice by your school district to start online or in person, I’m sure it was not a choice that you took lightly.
From March to now, I’ve observed a real shift in how clients with children are thinking and planning for online home schooling. I’m also hearing a lot of fear, anxiety, and overwhelm around the idea of balancing online learning with their own work responsibilities. It’s a lot. You are doing a lot!
My friend and colleague, Janet Nordine, MS, LMFT, RPT-S, put together a wonderful list to help parents and kids with some ideas that may work in the transition to virtual learning. I asked if I could share it here. Of course Janet said yes because she feels your pain and wants everyone to thrive during this unusual time.
10 Ideas for Successful at Home School Learning
1. Create a learning space for each child. This is an area of the home where school is only done during school time. Try to keep them out of their bedrooms and in a common area of the home.
2. Have a box, bin, bag for school supplies – pencils, crayons, etc. and put it away at the end of the learning day. Use this only for school time.
3. Allow a fidget toy or 2 – it is hard to be on a screen all day and allowing hands some movement while listening helps the brain focus (small movable toy, fidget spinner, etc.).
4. Keep TV and other distractions off during school time.
5. Spend time after school talking about the child’s day – ask about what friends they saw, what their teacher did and said. Not just “how was your day?” Ask specific questions. Have your child teach YOU something they learned during the week.
6. Have water in a non spillable container and a snack with protein in it available to keep the brain hydrated and ready to learn.
7. Keep to a structured routine – breakfast at the same time, dress for school, hair combed, teeth brushed. Say no to pajamas to keep school feeling like school.
8. Read together, to your child and have your child read to you. If you have multiple children doing school together, find separate spaces for them to interact with their classes to avoid conflict and interruption. This will help with avoiding fights and telling on siblings.
10. Only use school-issued computers for learning – no downloading games, watching YouTube, etc.
- Give your child praise daily.
- Validate that this being home for work and school is hard and share that it is hard for you, too. Offer support and to listen to them.
- Give hugs and encouragement daily.
- Attend parent-teacher conferences – stay in touch with the school and teacher. Let the school know when your child is struggling, and you need extra help and support.
* Originally heard on a local radio station in Janet’s hometown of Las Vegas.
Self-Care is part of the Equation too:
Successful online learning includes you getting self-care time so that you can be reasonably patient and focused. If you’re in a 2-parent household, make sure you both get time to yourself. It might be only be an hour, but it’s important.
I’ve heard family members and clients talk about the sheer joy of sitting in the parking lot of a favorite store or fast food restaurant without kids. If it’s just you, consider asking a family member or a trusted friend to take over kid duty for a short time.
Self-care is especially important if you’re doing the bulk of the 1-on-1 time with your kids. Recent data has shown that online school and childcare is falling largely on women during the pandemic (shocking, I know).
Remember, therapy is self-care too. A 50-minute hour to process this unusual time is valuable to your piece of mind and mental health. Please feel free to call or email me to discuss online therapy. I’m licensed in Georgia and Florida. If I’m not in your area, I’m happy to offer referrals or direct you to directory resources.
Kate Murphy, LCSW
Kate Murphy specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety. You can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18 to support healing, communicating, and experiencing joy more often.