In today’s world, in times of this current pandemic we’re calling coronavirus (isn’t it a very nice name for such a nasty virus?!), parents must totally revamp their lifestyles as they help their kids learn from home. If you are a parent, you may be looking for socially-distanced alternatives for your kids to being in the brick-and-mortar school classroom. You might be wanting to develop some new or at least more interesting, creative curriculum, or you might be looking for better learning setups in your home.
With searches for home school classroom spiking to all-time highs, you might also be thinking of how you can change your lifestyle or home to accommodate the needs of your children.
For home classrooms, consider organizing what could be a small space in your home (even your child’s bedroom). One of the first steps you might do is to “purge,” or remove things (to the trash bin or storage) that are not being used. Use your shredder if necessary, or you can take it to a store which shreds documents for a fee. Another good idea is to label your shelves, bins, drawers, etc. Try using a color-coded system, something especially helpful for younger children, as they are positively stimulated by bright colors.
You could consider making this small learning space a sanctuary – someplace where you and your kids will feel comfortable and peaceful – a good environment for learning. If playing music in the background is helpful and conducive to learning, by all means play it! Decorate with whatever leaves you feeling calm to encourage more optimal learning. Computers or tablets, of course, must be there, but rules during school time should be in effect similar to what is allowed at school – do designated tasks on a certain time frame, and then play on your phone, tablet, computer, etc. when “school” is out. If you decide to have your child “attend” school virtually on a specific schedule, make sure there are break times built in for recreation and healthy food. Oh yes! Healthy food is a “must,” as it will enhance your and your kid’s ability to handle stress.
Don’t forget to have a calendar in a prominent place so deadlines for work submission will not be missed. And of course, all of us – parents and kids alike – need some kind of exercise. I personally prefer doing something I enjoy, like dancing, or biking, etc. Always keep in touch with your child’s school to ensure that your child is not falling behind.
As to extracurricular activities, try doing some different things with your children, like watercrafts, biking, dancing, painting, martial arts, sewing, book club, chess club, etc. You are only limited by your imagination! Think about this – while academic learning is a “must,” this does not stimulate all-around learning. In the extracurricular activities, kids can learn more about teamwork, problem-solving, building positive relationships, etc. – even if some of this is virtual by necessity right now. Remember there are many free services which connects us through our technology to others on the screen (think Skype, Zoom, Facetime, etc.).
You might also be interested in the notion of unschooling, which is an approach to home-bound learners, and is akin to learning through real living rather than through conventional school learning. Parents partner with their children rather than creating a mini school at home and allow their kids to follow their own interests and curiosity, utilizing assistance from other supportive parents. Some of you may have heard of the Montessori method of teaching, where kids learn in a prepped environment, working in small groups, stimulating the growth of social skills and cooperation, whereas unschooling is a kind of philosophy where kids may spend time learning around other kids (in this case most likely virtually or with siblings) and they mostly socialize with adults. Thinking about unschooling versus homeschooling, when kids are being homeschooled, parents are essentially the teachers, but in unschooling, kids are supported to follow their own interests.
If you are a working parent, do not forget your need for self-care and time management, or you will be drowning in the stress of adapting to these difficult times, another layer of stress. Now would be a great time to hone your own parenting skills!
As always, have a happy, holistically healthy day!
Need more suggestions or have a child that is a little bit difficult at home? Take a look at the course: Your Parenting Style Matters!
Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.