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How to Ace Homeschooling?

What made humans survive through the millennia is their survival skills. Desperate times call for desperate measures. This pandemic has taught us many more survival skills. Parents are working hard to keep their children engaged, entertained, and happy. With schools shut, educators are imparting education through online classes. But online classes can only do so much. The onus has been put on the parents to disseminate the course material to their kids in an easy to understand way. They have to manage household chores, professional responsibilities, and also help their children with studies. No parent wants their child to fall behind in studies and thus, homeschooling, as a system has acquired tremendous importance.

Homeschooling: Then and Now

Unlike in western countries, homeschooling in India is a relatively new phenomenon. Families who have chosen to explore an alternative system to the traditional education system homeschool their children. Kids who do not go to a formal school adhere to a mutually beneficial schedule of studies.

Although the government of India has mandated compulsory education to every kid between the ages of 7-14, there is a grey area regarding homeschooling. The main advantage of homeschooling is that parents and the child decide the curricula they want to pursue. This provides an opportunity to discover, nurture, and hone fields that the child is interested in rather than a one-size-fits-all kind of teaching.

Apart from this, the child is paid individual attention which is often found lacking in formal schools. The child is encouraged to seek answers from his surroundings and experiences. And most importantly, the child and the parents create a strong bond. 

Due to the lockdown owing to the COVID19 pandemic, most parents don’t have a choice but to homeschool their children. But this forced homeschooling is quite different from the traditional homeschooling system. In this case, both the parents and the child have to stick to the school curriculum. School lessons are imparted either through audio/video clips or via online media such as Zoom, Google Classrooms, etc. They have to adhere to timelines for submitting assignments. One aspect many parents are struggling with is the limited availability of resources such as textbooks, reference books, etc. In addition to that, parents may or may not have the expertise to tackle a particular subject. But having said all that we, as parents, excel at beating the odds. After the initial teething problems, most parents and children have found out ways to make the best of a stressful time.

Tips for Effective Homeschooling

  1. Create a Schedule: Although it is quite difficult to recreate a classroom environment, a proper plan needs to be in place. Now, since parents are shouldering multiple and diverse responsibilities, sticking to a timetable is paramount. Set aside a specific time when you and your child would sit down to study. A structured way to schedule school lessons and activities, meal times, leisure time, household chores will help the child make a smooth transition. He would have a clear idea about what and when to expect different activities throughout the day.
  2. Be a co-learner: When the child is comfortable with his study partner, he will grasp things better. Be open to the idea that you may not have answers to everything. So rather than saying: “Why don’t you know this?” a better way would be to say “Oh! I don’t know this. Let’s find about this together.” Remember, your home is not a formal school, so keep the laughs coming. Studies have shown that a playful way of teaching goes a long way in developing sustainable learning of concepts.
  1. Regular Assessments: Assessments need not be the standard ones like in school but they are important to gauge your child’s progress. You could either plan a test after each lesson or concept or a weekly one. Rather than getting flustered if the child isn’t able to score well, be patient, and go over the lessons again. Make the exercise more fun by asking him to note down what he enjoyed the most in the lesson and what he didn’t.
  1. Make Physical Activity a Must: With going out being restricted, children are facing a lack of outdoor activities. But don’t worry. There are many ways in which you can recreate the outdoors inside. Playing a vowel and consonant hopscotch game or incorporating multiplication tables in a Snakes and Ladder game (you can draw the boxes on the floor with chalk) or even dancing together are great ways. Also, asking for their help in household chores can go a long way in keeping them active and building life skills.
  1. It’s not a competition: Although it might be a good idea to ask for tips from fellow parents, it is also important to remember that you and your child are not in some ‘Lockdown Competition’ of whose child is the best. The pandemic has been tough on many families and some stress does percolate down to the child. The idea is to be happy and positive first and inculcate the same when you teach your child. Each child is different and it doesn’t make sense to put pressure on your child when you compare them with others.

Restrictions are the new normal and parents and children are getting used to them. But it is up to us adults to set an example for the younger generation. So, chin up and smile. It’s a new day every day!

About The Author

Shweta is the Strategic Designer & Chief Editor for News Shuttle. Writing has been a passion with her and she hopes that this endeavour will help kids learn and have fun at the same time.

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