9 Tips For Teaching Kids At Home (and how to keep the parents sane!)
Parent’s throughout New Zealand and the world right now are juggling like never before. With the kids at home, increased noise levels and distractions, as well as trying to get some work done – it can be easy to feel a bit frazzled to say the least!
This article is dedicated to the parents – the brave ones who can now act out the scenes from Frozen in their entirety, the ones who have heard the phrase “I’m bored” one too many times and the ones who need a wee break from almost two weeks of full-on bonding time with the family.
Don’t get too caught up in the idea of having to ‘homeschool’ your kids. The general message experts are relaying is to relax and steer away from trying to replicate a typical school day.
To keep the kids learning and the parents sane, we’ve pulled together 9 tips for teaching kids at home…
1. Remember learning can be done through play!
Cynthia Hancox, who is a government liaison for the National Council of Home Educators and home schooled for more than 20 years, said the most important thing is for parents to focus on ensuring their children feel loved and safe.
She said parents should focus on doing fun things with their children and not put pressure on themselves. Incorporating reading stories, playing games and exploring the backyard are all perfect ways to learn through play. Need some inspiration? Check out these scavenger hunt ideas:
2. Create a presentation
Task your child with creating a presentation about something they’re interested in. This could be an animal, a different culture or a festival. For example, for a presentation on an animal, they’d need to include the animal’s common and scientific name, facts about its habitat, diet, lifecycle and anything else you want to know. This is a great research task and good practice for writing, presenting and public speaking skills.
3. Baking and cooking
Allow the kids to decide on something they’d love to cook or bake and get them busy in the kitchen! Get them to document their creation and provide instructions, measurements and photos upon completion. This could be done by hand or in a vlog-like style. Getting the kids creative in the kitchen is an awesome task to get them working together, learning fun skills and some time away from the screens. You might even find you get some extra help in preparing family meals from time to time – bonus!
4. Staying active
Vital for both mental and physical health, especially in young growing bodies. Even though we’re all spending more time at home doesn’t mean we can keep moving. Some simple movement like a 30 minute walk around the neighbourhood is perfect. Why not turn this time into a fun game and see what the kids can spot on the adventure. We love this version of bingo, or make your own specific to your neighbourhoods quirks!
5. Life skills
Now is a unique time in that parents will have some extra time up their sleeves to teach their kids things they won’t necessarily learn at school. Not all lessons need to be academic, including time to teach children some invaluable life skills.
This could be how to properly vacuum, folding clothes, how to set the table, cleaning up after a meal or changing sheets. All tasks that can often be overlooked and get done in a rush by parents.
6. Make the most of online resources
We live in a time where there is no shortage of online resources for all kinds of learning. From free reading sites, to maths applications, to learning new languages (check out Duolingo) – there’s something for every element of learning. We’ve found some great online resources that will keep young minds intrigued for hours.
7. Conduct a science experiment
Do some research or simply choose a classic like the baking soda + vinegar experiment and get the kids to write down instructions, what they think will happen (a hypothesis of sorts), what did happen and take photos.
8. Make sure they stay in touch with their friends
It’s really important for children to communicate with their friends or somebody else that’s not you or another parent/adult. Set them up with a Zoom chat so they can stay connected, nurture friendships and maintain a healthy level of socialization (even if it’s virtual!).
9. Carve out special family time
It’s a good idea to have some designated family time each evening to relax together, just chill out and bond. For example, from 6pm onwards all phones could go away and activities such as boardgames, a puzzle, making some popcorn from scratch and watching something appropriate on Netflix or making a dessert together could be the focus. Enjoy this extra time as a family to get to know each other better.
Another fun thing to do together is plan a holiday! Why not create a bucket list of places in NZ you’d love to visit together as a family and activities you’d like to do, then lock in some getaways to look forward to. A great ‘feel-good’ for both parents and children alike we reckon.