10 Tips for Parents Trying to Home School While Working from Home

By Abeer Shinnawi

Many parents and guardians have been transitioning into the world of “teaching during covid-19” while simultaneously working from home and maintaining daily household functions. 

To help you alleviate the stress of making it all work, here are some ideas to keep in mind on what is important to focus on with your child during a pandemic?

First, please remember to be patient with your child during this time of change.  Also, keep in mind that the required number of hours per day for instruction in the home is not the same as a school. 

Here is a breakdown of how much time daily should be devoted to instruction at home:

  • Elementary age students: 1- 2 hours
  • Middle school age students: 2-3 hours
  • High school students- 3-4 hours

I. SOFT SKILLS

  1. Problem solving: problem-solving will help in controlling situations that may get out of hand. This skill helps one come up with solutions for different scenarios.
  2. Creative Thinking: students need to be creative in their approach in every aspect and it helps them understand the world in a better way and come up with answers that might give the rest of the world a new perspective.
  3. Decision-making: students must learn how to make decisions within the given time. By doing so they will have a stand of their own and will not have to depend on other people.
  4. Self-advocacy: give students the opportunity to learn how to communicate their needs with their teachers and other students. 

II. ACADEMICS

  1. Allow time to transition: allow students time to review expectations and navigating what work needs to be completed.  Students are charting new waters by guiding themselves on activities or assignments that were once completed with the oversight of a teacher and peers. 
  2. Organize a schedule: assist your child/student with creating a schedule that works with the family.  Many students are now caregivers to younger siblings or live with an extended family, so they have added responsibilities.  Work on a schedule that allows the child to study in a time/place that is conducive to the dynamics of the home.
  3. Communicate: speak with your child about what they are doing, how their sessions are going and just listen to their thoughts/feelings.  Our children are internalizing an event that did not give them any closure before leaving school and there the aura of uncertainty is causing much anxiety. For younger children, be within proximity when students are logging online.  Having a presence with make them feel more confident.  Students at young age still need to learn how to communicate using online learning so being around to monitor what is being said/heard/written is important.
  4. Opportunity for outside of the box learning: this is a time to allow your child to explore learning outside the realm of a traditional curriculum.  This is an opportunity to have students learn about other groups from history that do not get the ample amount of time in traditional curriculum such as the real history of Native Americans or the impact Jim Crow laws still has on the American racial/social structure today.  If you need ideas on where to start or topics, use this link to access some materials: Altair Ed Covid-19 Middle School Resources.

Covid-19 has transformed how students learn along with the entire nature of education.  We are all weathering this storm together. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any education related questions.  You can contact me at [email protected] or via my website Altair Education Consulting.

Abeer Shinnawi is the CEO of Altair Education Consulting, LLC.