The pandemic wreaked havoc on many families’ summer plans, and now as school starts back in session, it appears the turbulence will continue. Some schools plan to take place in-person, some plan to go virtual, some are planning for a blended version. Regardless of how it starts off, most schools have been clear that all plans are subject to change depending on COVID-19 numbers—which gives way to more uncertainty.
Uncertainty means different things for different people, as we are each faced with unique family dynamics and circumstances. However, we are all in the same boat when it comes to the concern for how these changes will impact our children’s academic success, mental health, physical well-being, and futures.
Whether your children are at home from the start or may be learning from home at some point, here are some tips to keep in mind to help them achieve success academically, stay physically and mentally healthy, and forge ahead with resiliency.
Six R’s for less stress homeschooling:
Realistic Expectations: This is a key starting point. Set your standards high but be sure to give yourself and your children grace along the way. Don’t strive for perfection. Don’t be too intense. Don’t overschedule. Simply do your best as you step into this type of teaching role while encouraging your child to do the same.
Requirements: Be clear on what is required of your child weekly and daily. Monitor their ability to comprehend the task at hand and complete the assignment. Depending on your individual child, your necessary level of involvement will vary—which means potentially more work and more stress for some families than others.
Rules and Routine: Create rules surrounding time for work and play. Many families find that it works best to get the schoolwork completed first, then have the rest of the day for play. If your child’s school requires them to be on live sessions, that will determine their schedule to some degree. However, it is up to you and your child to come up with a routine that fits best—then stick to it.
Relief: This comes in the form of self-care for you and for your child so that you can be in the best frame of mind to be helpful, and your child can be in the best frame of mind to continue learning. It’s essential that all parties involved are getting enough sleep, eating well-balanced diets, getting exercise, and making time to relax.
Resources: Check first with your child’s school to see what they have to offer, then go online as there are endless free resources to help with homeschooling.
Many of us got our first taste of homeschooling back in the spring when schools were shutting down across the nation. Depending on how that went for you and your child(ren), you may be feeling more or less stressed about beginning the new school year at home. You are encouraged to take it one day, one subject, one lesson at a time, and remember that we are all in this together and that this too shall pass.
NBC, Today Show, Hoda and Jenna Interview with Michelle Borba Ed.D., Angela Braniff, Andrea Thorpe; Education – The Newest Chapter. Aug. 11, 2020.
Know! Parent Tips are provided by Prevention Action Alliance with support from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, the Ohio Department of Education, and Start Talking!. Know! Parent Tips are also available in Spanish at the Know! archives.