Part 1: Schooling from Home – finding your feet – Tips from the South West Home Education Association to you.
Blog content kindly provided by SWHEA
So, a few weeks ago your life looked totally different. You went to work, your kids went to school, after school hours were a smorgasbord of extra curricular entertainment and everybody had fun together on weekends! Fast forward to today and you are probably wondering how to balance it all – financial stress, health anxiety, social isolation, and now you have to add educating your children to that list.
Just to set your mind at ease – homeschoolers are not feeling at all smug about the recent turn of events. Home educating families use our social, outdoor, Aussie way of life to complement their homeschooling curriculums all the time. So we are suffering too! But hopefully our collective years of experience can help to support you through this challenging time…and go some way towards allaying your fears for the continuity of your child’s education.
Let’s start with the physical environment your children will be learning in at home. Homeschooling families all do it differently so here are some ideas for setting up a home learning environment:
Do you use your dining table for family meals? If not, then this may be a good spot to set up everyone’s shared work resources.
If you have a home office could this be shared with your children?
Your children may prefer to work in their own bedrooms – particularly if this is a current routine for school homework.
Do you have a spare bedroom or formal lounge room that never gets used? Perhaps this area can be converted into a learning space so that the kids have somewhere to go to do their daily work.
Perhaps you don’t need to set up anything formal but are happy to just find a spot that works for the job they are doing at the time.
Some supplies you might like to have at hand:
Paper for drawing, doodling, writing, jotting, etc. Try to have a few different sizes and types of paper
Perhaps a binder or a magazine holder to keep everyone’s work neat
A computer or tablet that stays in a permanent set-up
A comfy chair
An indoor plant or two
Helping your child to adjust a life at home:
Bear in mind that everything has suddenly changed for your child as well. The loss of their school environment will be disorienting and they will likely need compassion and patience – which may be in short supply. Homeschooling families all move through a period of adjustment at the start of their homeschooling journeys (and after significant life events). We recognise that we need to connect as a family, get to know one another intimately after some separation, and get used to spending a lot of time in each other’s company. So know that when it feels like you can’t take one more minute of whining or fighting without losing it, you are actually at the pivotal moment of finding out what really works (and doesn’t work) for your family. Trust us, we all made it out the other side of that moment.
The real 3 R’s:
Whilst everyone thinks that Reading, (W)Riting, and (A)Rithmetic are the three R’s, we know that the original R’s are actually Rhythm, Routine and Ritual. We orient ourselves in our world through these things. Thinking about what these will look like at home is helpful. Rhythm – what is your basic day going to look like – the big picture flow of things. Routine – humans thrive on order and predictability, especially children – try to find ways to build routines into your day so that your children know what to expect and can become independent in living those routines. Ritual – these are the repetitive things we do every day without even thinking about them – they provide the comfort of familiar sameness in a world where the rules are constantly changing. Try to prioritise these things over the academic work that is knocking at the door – if you put this stuff first, then it makes the other things fall into place.
Thank you SWHEA for your tried and tested home schooling suggestions.