A Survival Guide To COVID-19 Homeschooling: By Anna Kohler, Submitted by Kathy O’Neill RN, Parish Nurse

Posted on May 8, 2020 by Published by

Helping with homework can be challenging enough for parents despite the hardship of unplanned homeschooling due to COVID-19. A psychologist and pediatrician team up to provide parents guidance on how to survive this new parenting challenge.

Dr. Brent Sylvester, psychologist and Dr. Aaron Traeger, pediatrician, both with Advocate Medical Group in Bloomington, Ill. suggest the following to new homeschooling parents:

  1. Manage the environment: Sylvester recommends turning off distractions such as cellphones and TVs during learning time. Younger siblings can be an additional distraction during homeschooling. Occupying these siblings during the other child’s learning time can be beneficial.
  2. Create a schedule: “The phrase ‘plan the work, then work the plan’ allows children the opportunity to help establish the order of the day,” says Dr. Sylvester. “Providing a visual timer helps make time more concrete for kids and makes it easier for them to see time passing.” Dr. Traeger also recommends strategically planning the day so the child has strengths mixed in with activities in which they get frustrated.
  3. Allow for frequent breaks: A typical school day includes breaks for the kids to get up, stretch and give their mind a quick break. Dr. Sylvester recommends including breaks in the homeschool routine as well. “It depends on the child, but younger kids could have breaks every 15-20 minutes and older kids could have breaks every 45-50 minutes of learning throughout the day. These breaks help avoid frustration before it occurs,” says Dr. Sylvester.
  4. Rewards for effort: Rewarding children based on effort instead of accuracy is important in keeping children engaged with their learning. Dr. Traeger recommends rewards such as praise or playing board games to reward a child’s hard work.
  5. Sleep routine: Many children think not having to go into school means their summer sleep schedule can begin. However, ensuring a consistent sleep schedule can benefit a child’s at home education. “Starting the day on time and keeping your child on a regular bed time schedule is important during homeschooling,” says Dr. Traeger.

Following these five homeschooling tips can help ease the transition of at home learning for both parents and their children during these unexpected times.

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A Prayer in Gratitude for Our Mothers

Good and Gentle God,…You who became human through a woman, grant to all mothers the courage they need to face the uncertain future that life with children always brings. Give them the strength to live and to be loved in return, not perfectly, but humanly. Amen

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