By Meenal Arora
With schools being shut due to the novel coronavirus, thousands of children have been stranded at home. This has left parents with no option but to take the responsibility of schooling their children upon themselves to make sure the little ones keep busy and keep learning. The schools may have shut down, but the learning needs to go on, after all. Homeschooling is an option all parents need to consider in the current scenario.
Here are some tips that will help you navigate through these times and effectively homeschool your child.
Chalk out a plan
You cannot recreate the exact school environment, but you sure can keep your child focused by establishing a proper routine. Your child had been following a fixed schedule in her school, hence recreating a similar environment at home will make the transition easier for her. Keep the sleep and meal times structured. Break her day up into chunks by making a time-table for her and stick it somewhere all the family members can see it. Make sure you make her a part of this so that she is more invested in the activities planned.
Read out to them
Dedicate some time each day to sit with your child and read out aloud to her. This is a good exercise to improve her vocabulary and comprehension skills, and inculcate good reading habits that will stay with her for a lifetime. It’s okay if your child is playing quietly with Legos or puzzles or play-dohs while you are reading. You may feel she’s not paying attention but she is absorbing more than you think. To test her reading comprehension, you may ask her to put it all down on paper, or simply ask her questions around what you read.
Explore the creative side
Art and craft is an integral part of education and cannot be sidelined when you are homeschooling your child. There are many activities you can do together with your child to keep her engrossed and be constructive. Collect all your waste material and create something useful out of it. Come up with something as ‘Best out of waste’. Follow some DIY activity videos to do something new and interesting with your child. Make puppets and use them to put up a show. Let her decide on a topic, get the related pictures and other facts to come up with a beautiful and interesting scrapbook.
Don’t stop learning yourself
Only when you share your child’s curiosity, you will be able to teach her better. Everyday try to learn something new alongside your child. Don’t be a stern teacher to her. Instead, play the role of a facilitator. Even if your child’s school has switched to digital learning or made online lessons available, you need to be there for her for supervision and supplement those lesson plans. Dive deep into a subject together and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Let your child do the teaching while you step in the learner’s shoes.
Incorporate recess time
Do not forget to schedule breaks. In school, your child was usually active during the recess, playing with her friends or indulging in a sport. The lockout due to the Coronavirus may have restricted her physical activity, but you still can make exercise a part of her routine. Turn on an exercise or dance video on YouTube, and shake a leg together; or choreograph and record a dance video and upload online. You may also take meditation breaks with your child. You need to make sure you don’t undermine your child’s health and wellness in this whole process of homeschooling.
Remember, this is an unprecedented situation and we are all in this together. This is not going to last forever, and it is important to be patient and stay positive. But what is more important is to use this time to bond with our kids and make lasting memories with them.
(The writer is Founder Director, Shemford Group of Futuristic Schools)
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