Amid this year’s shutdowns and uncertainty, interest in homeschooling has exploded. In the early months of the year, 2.5 million children in the US were homeschooled, but research suggests that millions more may have joined that number this fall.
If you’re new to the world of homeschooling, you may be worried about helping your child succeed academically. After all, if you don’t have a teaching degree, how can you expect to teach your kids what they need to know?
Fortunately, homeschooling isn’t as overwhelming as you might think, with the right strategies. Here are seven essential homeschooling tips for parents.
1. Designate a Specific Area for Schoolwork
Parents who homeschool know how hard it is to help kids separate “family time” from “school time.” Kids work better when they have a space to sit and focus away from distractions, which is what makes this one of the best homeschooling tips. Make sure to set up your schoolwork area in a quiet place, ideally outside of their toy-filled bedroom, for best results.
2. Stick to a Set Schedule
There will always be variables outside of your control your family will need to tackle—like unexpected guests, sudden sicknesses, or home repairmen coming and going—but it’s important to strive for a single “normal” schedule. Develop a schedule for a typical school day, from waking to the end of schoolwork. If your kids are old enough, let them have input as far as when they tackle certain parts of their day, as long as everything gets done.
3. Take Breaks
At school, kids have plenty of breaks: recess, changes between subjects, lunch, snack time, and more. At home, they should be allowed similar luxuries, especially since taking breaks can help kids focus when they return to work. Walk around the block with them, let them play outside, or give them time for a craft or special activity.
4. Try Different Teaching Tactics
Not every kid learns the same way—even when the kids in question are your own! While your oldest may have sped through math and science, your youngest may need Touch Point math to succeed (learn more about Touch Point math here). If you struggle to understand how to homeschool your children, be sure to have a variety of instructional strategies in your toolkit and be prepared to switch them as necessary.
5. Keep Screens Away
Screens offer an unwelcome distraction in the traditional classroom, and the same holds true for your own home. But here’s a piece of homeschool advice for parents that might surprise you: both kids and parents should try to stay screen-free while class is in session! As the teacher, you’re just as prone to distraction, and it’s important to model the behavior you want your children to imitate.
6. Connect With Support Groups
If you’re new to homeschooling, here’s one of the best homeschooling tips: you may teach your kids on your own, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone. There are plenty of support groups for parents, both within your local community and online, that can answer questions, co-host activities, and help with lessons and curriculum.
7. Take Time for Self-Care
No one can learn from a teacher who’s worn down. Take time for yourself, whether that means calling a friend, getting some exercise, or reading a book—away from your students!
Follow These Homeschooling Tips for Parents
Whether you’re a homeschooling veteran or you just started this year, it’s important to keep these essential homeschooling tips for parents in mind. With a little care and attention, you’ll find your family easing into a familiar routine, and you may just enjoy learning more about your children as students!
Want more tips to help you and your family succeed? Check out our other posts for more helpful insights.