These are very unusual times! Schools have closed their doors and students have started online classes, tutorials, and testing completely at home. You may still be going into work or your whole family is self-isolating, ideally. We are all wondering, will online schooling be effective? Will my children pay attention, learn, solve homework, and score as well on their tests?
Spoiler alert: The key to establishing productive homeschooling for your children lies in your management skills!
Not many students have faced situations that required them to take full responsibility, particularly in an academic setting. This can make homeschooling a big adjustment and a challenge for students as they need to learn to be independent, self-driven, organized, and disciplined. Below are several useful tips that you may use to improve your child's or children's homeschooling effectiveness and overall experience.
1) Get in touch and coordinate with the teachers
Ask to see the curriculum or learning plans. Is there a rigid structure with defined learning objectives? Or is there freedom to adjust the schedule? Clarify what is to be expected from students. Are students required to learn on their own using other resources? or should students only use resources provided by the teacher?
This will help build a workflow that works for your child and your family.
2) Set a plan for school
This is best achieved with a schedule (try google calenders for free, if you're not already using this wonderful tool). First, figure out how many hours per week you need to dedicate (see recommendations below!). Next, slot an appropriate amount of time each day for schooling. Finally, decide what subject and tasks you will be completing each day (for example, "on Monday, I will dedicate 1 hour listening to lectures in Math and 30 minutes solving questions"). The image below is a depiction of what was just described.
Tip: lean into your child's natural interests! If your child is engaged and self-driven on certain topics, schedule these topics during times where you can take a mental break or focus on other work.
3) Plan the remainder of the day. Involve the whole family!
Homeschooling involves integrating your child's educational schedule with your family's routine. Even if you're following a lesson plan, it's good to brainstorm with your child about their day ahead. Give them options. Ask them what they feel about doing tasks in certain ways. Give them time to adjust to the schedule. Find a healthy balance for all!
4) Be flexible
Changes do happen. Even if you have a set study schedule, home school is a new scenario for many. Don't be too hard on yourself. Allow time to adjust. Facilitate your child's study schedule closely, but be flexible to change it up based on your child's learning tendencies and emotional state at the time.
5) Get in touch with other parents
Everyone is facing similar challenges at home. Make a group chat with other parents using one of many free platforms (Facebook, Whatsapp, Slack) to share solutions to common problems. Teachers can help you to get in touch with other parents. Similarly, you can find online forums and groups dedicated to this cause. Times may be hard but you don't have to go through it alone!
6) Use online resources!
The learning material provided by teachers may not be enough or easy for some to understand. This is a valuable learning experience for students to build initiative and seek out answers for themselves. Encourage your child or children to do their research online. We recommend "Khan Academy" as a free source of online tutorials (www.khanacademy.org/)
Finally, how we, Go2Grad Tutors, can help you with homeschooling:
1) Phone consultation to learn more about your specific needs and determine the best plan moving forward
2) Create a structured plan for all your subjects, taking into account specific class requirements
3) Online tutoring sessions for personalized, 1 on 1 teaching
4) Provide you with extra learning resources depending on your needs
5) Follow up on your progress and keep you motivated!
Recommendations from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board:
- Elementary students should spend 5 hours per week or 1 hour per day
- Middle School (grades 7 and 8) students should spend 10 hours per week or 2 hours per day
- Highschool Students should spend 3 hours per class per week. If you are taking 4 classes, then you should spend 12 hours per week or ~2.5 hours per day.