UK System Dynamics Society

Homeschooling – Tips for Parents

Most countries require parents to send your children to school. There the children receive lessons from trained educators and also provide the necessary proof of performance. If the state or nationwide school closes, the kids must receive further schooling at home. This is how it works: 

Set up some kind of schedule for studying, studying, or working around the house. If your children are a little older, ideally from 10 years of age, include them in your schedule.

If you also have to work at home because your employer or special situations require you to do so, combine your home office with the study time of your children.

This has the advantage that you are all “working” at the same time. Your role model effect has a positive influence on your children to do the required work (learning material).

Create spatial conditions that make it easy for all of you to enjoy working and learning, and above all with concentration. In particular, this means that there are no toys or other distracting things at the current “classroom”.

Can you make it possible to sit down all together at a large dining table? Toys, televisions, and digital devices are out of reach. You are also immediately available to answer questions from the smaller children.

However, if the children need digital devices to cope with the tasks, they are there to help and explain them. Especially the little ones need support when they are supposed to create text files or have to scan worksheets.

If the children are older, everyone can stay in their area. However, rules should be agreed that determine an age-appropriate learning attitude.

For the work and learning phase in the home, it has proven to be beneficial from an educational point of view, especially for children up to the eighth grade, to organize half-hour learning phases. In the school, 45 minutes are set, but in the home area there is no teacher reference, so 30 minutes is sufficient.

You should therefore plan regular breaks for the children after every half hour in your schedule. Design the break times creatively and spend them together. Sports activities are just as important as a coffee or tea break or the preparation and consumption of a small snack.

After five learning units (2.5 hours) plus four short breaks (approx. 1 hour), you should plan a longer break. For this, it is advisable to prepare lunch, to take it, and to plan a relaxation phase. In the afternoon, learning units can take place again for students from the ninth grade.

The little ones should now be allowed to play, do handicrafts, or pursue their hobbies.

Planning for homeschooling

Homeschooling has nothing to do with completing homework. When doing homework, your child has been taught the subject matter at school and only has to rework it or do exercises. However, homeschooling is about new subject matter that needs to be developed.

The school and pedagogical obligations do not end with school closings. The teachers are still obliged to make the learning material available to you. Today it is mostly transmitted digitally.

The best thing to do is to discuss with the school teachers through the parents’ representatives how the supply of learning material should take place and which requirements must be met.

Make sure that your children are not overwhelmed. Only you as a parent can judge that. The teacher does not know what situation you are in, what technical requirements you have, and what pedagogical skills lie dormant in you as a parent.

The best way to do this is to ask the class teacher to be available as the central contact person. However, ask for a telephone number or an email address from every teacher who gives out material. This is the only way you can ask direct questions about a specific question and expect an answer as quickly as possible. 

Set up communication groups, such as a WhatsApp group. There will be questions that arise with several children or in several families. This is how effective communication can take place.

Stand by your children fully and supportively. That means, if worksheets need to be printed out, don’t talk yourself out of not having a printer at home. There are now inexpensive devices. 

If something is difficult to understand, ask the teacher to write more understandable tasks. Ask the teacher for answer sheets so that you can do more to support your child.

Use school programs that are offered on TV channels or YouTube, where there are now numerous tutorials on a wide variety of school topics.

Watch the programs with your children. You can then evaluate them with your children. You can do this by designing a question and answer game, a small questionnaire, or simply have the children repeat in sections what they have seen.

Look for suitable learning apps. There are now a lot of good English apps that are suitable for learning, practicing, and training.

Make sure that fixed time units are adhered to. Your offspring need structure. Take care of your child. If you notice that it is overwhelmed and can no longer learn, longer breaks may be necessary or the requirements may be reduced.

A child who was used to being taught by the teacher and having everything explained by him can suddenly find it very stressful in homeschooling to be “taught” by their own parents. Be lenient and motivate your child by creating incentives. Small rewards, in whatever form, will motivate the youngsters to stay on the ball.

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