Gary Coker Ph.D
Home schooling has, heretofore, referred to children as those who did not attend school away from home but were taught at home. The coronavirus has changed this definition as schools have closed and many children are now taught at home. This change in environment from school to home requires a change in the behavioral approach in your home and to your child and represents something quite different.
May I encourage you to go to homeschooling.com and design a daily schedule. This will take patience primarily due to the behavioral aspects your child has learned at home. For example, most likely he/she will want to lay on the bed, the floor, or somewhere he/she has traditionally studied. It is important to have a place conducive to learning- preferably a straight-backed chair at some form of desk or table, a place not surrounded by visual distractions such as wall posters, etc., and absolutely no television or audio devices. Your child needs to understand this is a time of learning and is free of distractions. If your school provides online classroom learning you will need to monitor ‘time on task’. Your schedule should provide for an orderly transition between classes and other activities. Remember, the greatest predictor of learning is time engaged with a specific learning objective.
Tips for you during this time of home schooling.
- Start with a weekly schedule for yourself. Time-blocking or scheduling chunks of time for certain tasks will net you the most productive use of your time. It will not be uncommon for your child/student to want to assume a more casual time schedule. It is important for the learning process to be organized with a specific schedule at a specific time.
- Do not forget important family activities; lunch or breaks. It is easy to lose track of time especially if your home becomes a virtual classroom.
- The amount of free resources, tools, plans, etc. being offered are overwhelming. In a virtual world you are going to make a few choices….Kahn Academy, probably the most reputable home school program, is readily available and has great reviews and recommendations.. Scholastics offers an array of lesson plans and programs that are easily followed and tailored to the child’s academic level of functioning. Your child’s school will provide you with lessons and experiences needed during this time. An important question for you to ask is : “what is the essential learning in this lesson.” It should not be ‘busy’ work but the acquisition of “essential learning”. In the Elementary grades the answer will most likely be skills or knowledge. In the Middle and Upper School, skills, knowledge, concepts and higher order thinking will be the focus.
- Online learning or classes at home can be flexible, but must have a set of routines and procedures. You will want to be flexible, but still have expectations so your child will know what to expect. Students aren’t the only ones who need routines and procedures. Make yourself a checklist of tasks that must be completed each day.
- Discuss with other parents, even if remotely, practices you are doing and share ‘how to’s’.
- Don’t forget to give yourself breaks in an orderly fashion. Home schooling can quickly start encroaching on family and relaxation time. Separate home from school.
Be of good cheer and remember…………..“when they grow old, they shall be like their teacher.”