Homeschooling parents share ideas to keep children happy during lockdown

Now is the perfect time to understand that life is not run by competition   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you are an exhausted parent trying to keep your child engaged at home, here are lessons in homeschooling from parents who have been doing just that, all year round. Kokilashree Vickneshwaran, who lives in a farm in Attappadi, Kerala, has sons aged 12 and nine; Chennai-based Durgesh Nandhini has daughters aged seven and three; Coimbatore-based Senbaga Poonguzhali has a seven-year-old daughter; and Madhu Karthik, in Erode, has followed these till her son turned five.

Let your child lead

Now is the perfect time to understand that life is not run by competition. Instead of again following a fixed set of ‘to-do’ tasks, try and listen to your child. Learning is a lifelong thing. Children learn even by observing the world around them: by seeing their mother do yoga, their father do the dishes, or water the plants. So instead of foisting multiple activities on them, go with the flow and tailor your day based on what your child is interested in and wants to do that day.

Live like there is no tomorrow

What if today was your last day on the planet? What would you do? Homeschooling parents prefer to look at each day as though there was no tomorrow. Teaching driven by fear is not always a good thing. Parents can be doers. If working on your laptop is inevitable, do so before your children wake up so that you have plenty of time to spend with them. If you have to work, sit together at a table, rather than each person in their own room. When engaging with your child, be there 100%.

Children can learn by observing the everyday activities at home

Children can learn by observing the everyday activities at home   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Learn by doing

When you are cooking, explain why, for instance, vegetables are being added to rice or dal. This will teach them the science behind nutrition. Some homesehooling parents prefer to have a timetable for the various subjects to be learned over a day, while some others prefer to keep teaching free-style. You could also make the learning process about movement. For intance, label each step on a staircase with numbers and encourage children to repeat them as they hop up and down. This will be a fun way to teach counting.

Ease the pressure on yourself

Everything you do with your child need not be a learning moment. Enjoy the early morning sun, or the play of shadows on the wall. They may end up asking you why. Let your child poke at the ground with sticks, open up an old toy, cook something age-appropriate if they would like to. Stay with them, and participate only when called for. Lists are necessary, but let them be sparse, and keep them to chores to be done and shared by all.

Break the routine

Routines are good, especially when it comes to health and hygiene, and a certain rhythm to a day is sometimes necessary when everyone is also working from home. But think of the evening as ‘free’. You and your child may think of taking dinner up to the terrace, or painting a wall. In terms of the ‘class’ routine, let your child lead — you may have wanted to do language, but she prefers to learn about the solar system: go with her choice. Get set to tell stories about planets and the stars. If you haven’t prepared, tell her, so you can find out more together. Teenagers, especially, given how they are already dealing with a lot of changes emotionally and physically, could do with the parent understanding their moods and tweaking the day’s activities accordingly.

Watch for signs of burnout

You are human, too. Set aside time for yourself every day. Ideally, both partners should be involved in the homeschooling journey.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 9:27:29 PM |

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