How to homeschool better during lockdown
This article on how to homeschool better during lockdown came from the pros and cons of previous home-schooling attempts. If you have school children, chances are you already know parenting can be challenging at times. But lockdowns have added a challenge you probably hadn’t anticipated: homeschooling. Talk about a baptism of fire! My first homeschool attempts may have led me to drink, but with all things, practice makes perfect.
Now that we’ve done this a few times, we can objectively look at the pros and cons of home-schooling during lockdown and how we can homeschool better. Like our family, you may have learnt lessons on how to run things more effectively. And that’s important, if, heaven forbid, we need to do it all again.
Would you like the good news or the bad news first?
According to a 2013 study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin* most recipients prefer to hear bad news first, if only because it reduces the worry factor. So, let’s get the cons of home-schooling during a lockdown out of the way first. Then we can focus on the positives. Here are some of the pros and cons.
- Change causes anxiety – most people feel somewhat anxious at the prospect of a major upheaval; home-schooling is a BIG change. And when a child is anxious, they’re not learning.
- Less socialisation – everyone needs social interaction to stay mentally strong. But it’s even more important for children who learn social skills by interacting with their friends and peers.
- More screen time – with increased screen time we see more sleep issues, weight gain, neck and back pain, anxiety and depression.
- Online temptation – are your children studying or gaming? The wrong type of game can get addictive and cause bad behaviour. Not to mention no schoolwork being done.
- The juggle – you can’t be in two (or more) places at once! Chances are you tried to be if you also worked from home or have more than one child. The expectation put on working parents to also home-school (even if it is just supervision) is a heavy burden.
- More time indoors – thus less sunlight, which means less vitamin D and increasing risk of illness, fatigue, pain, depression and sleep issues, which all affect learning.
But wait, there are also positives.
- It’s relaxed – no more morning rush to get out the door (or to get dressed, truth be told). That can mean less arguments.
- No outside commitments – life is less busy, giving you all time to slow down, be more mindful and recharge. And ideally spend time as a family.
- It’s ideal for introverts or children with social anxiety or learning differences – this is the homebody dream.
- Quieter environment – Children learn best when they can focus, and that’s easier to do when there aren’t 20+ other children in the same room.
- Your child will become very tech savvy (more so than us parents) – they will learn to navigate devices like a pro.
- More sleep – this one is most likely to occur if you have a teen in the house; but no morning alarms or evening activities can also result in more sleep for others. Good sleep improves everything!
How can we do it better?
When entering a lockdown consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as your first focus. Maslow considered physiological needs like air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth and sleep, basic human requirements. Safety, including emotional security, and health and wellbeing, comes next. Followed by feelings of love and belongingness.
Schooling is secondary until those more basic needs are met. How many have you ticked off?
When basic needs are met you’re ready for school
Once you’re ready for home schooling, you’ll likely find the following helpful:
- Build a daily routine so everyone knows what to expect and when – and stick to it.
- Ensure there is plenty of time outside during breaks and lunchtime.
- Make a study nook that is just for your child.
- Ensure your child has an appropriate device – with rules on how and when it is to be used (make sure it has age-appropriate content and privacy restrictions).
- Build in time for your work, but you may like to let lesser priorities slide.
- Throw in life skills that aren’t part of the usual curriculum. Cook with your child in the kitchen, do some gardening, build something in the garage.
- Ensure there is fun to be had too.
- Unless you have an academic child sitting exams soon, end the “school” day early and don’t stress about it.
Put your own oxygen mask on first
Chances are you’re also managing your own emotions around change and what lockdown has meant for your family circumstances. Be kind to yourself and manage your emotions before you manage your children and theirs. As they say in aeroplane safety briefings, put your own oxygen mask on first.
Above all, focus on finding joy in small moments together, and take heed that your children are adaptable and resilient. This is just part of the bigger adventure of life.
In fact, you yourself likely have tips to share….. if that’s the case we’d love to hear them. Please comment below!
However you’re feeling right now, remember you’ve got this! There are always positives, and NOW is a perfect time to work on sleep!
And, if you’d like a little more on sleep (along with giveaways and parenting humour at times) then please, follow along on Facebook or Instagram. You’ll also find my free sleep tips download on my website: www.cherishedsleep.co.nz. If you’re noticing a distinct lack of sleep in your household and you’re ready to make a change, book a free call to learn more about my sleep packages. I work with all ages.
Kim Corley has a Bachelor of Science in psychology and pharmacology, with post grad health science papers. She is also the founder of Cherished Sleep (www.cherishedsleep.co.nz). As Mum to a teen son with ADHD and dyslexia, and a primary school daughter with anxiety, Kim is used to advocating for her children in all things school and parenting. She has home-schooled through 4 lockdowns and counting, while working as a behavioural sleep specialist in NZ.