Are you a parent who is panicking at the prospect of “Distance Learning” or needing to homeschool your child or children? Or maybe you are already teaching school at home and are looking for some practical ideas to help you be more successful? Fret no more! Brain Lady Julie is here to share some incredible tips that will help you realize, “you got this”!
First things first, Tip #1, try to remember to breathe! When the brain is stressed, the amygdala will take over and rob the thinking portion of your brain of oxygen. When under stress, take deep breaths. Even just a few seconds of nice, deep breaths to re-engage your brain, to get that thinking portion of your brain back in gear, can do wonders. Julie’s podcast “Deal with Stress” is a great resource with lots of helpful ideas. Remember, if you are not thinking with your whole brain, your kids will know it and they will feel it. To help keep your brain as destressed as possible, try to keep it open, well oxygenated, and well rested! Take care of yourself!
Tip #2 – Keep an open dialogue with your kids – they are smarter than we think! You will be better off giving them the full picture than letting them draw conclusions on their own. Try to have an age appropriate conversation with them about COVID-19 and the current situation.
Tip #3 – Take some pressure and stress off yourself. Change the “I can’t” voice in your head to an “I can” voice. No matter what program you decide to use, you are going to have plenty of aids and resources at your disposal. Your main responsibility is to create an atmosphere that is healthy for your child’s brain and to manage the schooling environment. Create an environment that fosters and encourages learning.
Try not to allow yourself to get frustrated, you are the adult in the situation. If you think about it, as a parent you are already a natural teacher! Write down all the things you have already taught your children. You have likely taught your kids how to walk, speak, eat with a spoon, make the bed, etc. You have been a teacher from the moment your child was born, so this is not that different. Step back and know that you got this! You have been teaching them their entire lives. Recognize that your brain is listening to everything you are thinking in your mind, so be careful what you are telling it! Tell it – you got this!
Tip #4 – Stay in control. You are the adult! Try to take their feelings into consideration but do not let them control or overrun you. If you start feeling overwhelmed, take a break. Step away, hydrate and breathe!
Tip #5 – Be open-minded and explore your options. Your local school district likely has their own plan in mind. If that is what you want, go for it and lean into it. But also understand that you have a lot of options out there, many resources, which will vary in different states and countries. Look into your options!
Check out the book “Quickest way to Insanity – Homeschool Your Kids!”. It is a beautiful, concise, brain-based book written by our Brain Lady and homeschool veteran, Julie Anderson. It explains how to teach your kids with their individual brain’s needs in mind and how to teach them in a way that is healthy for their brain.
Remember that one size does not fit all, some countries and states are strict while others are more open. The Internet can prove to be a great resource if schooling kids at home. There are complete school programs online, such as K12. In the U.S., K12 is considered a public school that is done entirely online. Check into your options, a lot of support and school curriculum is already paid for through your taxes, which means there will be no extra expense to you.
There are also online based charter schools available in the U.S. Some schools are more focused on the arts while others are more focused on biblically based teachings. Those may cost you money, but you may find them to be worth the financial investment . Try not to feel like you must do what the local public-school system is telling you to do. You can also investigate becoming your own school at home and reporting directly to the state. Do your research and find out what fits you and your children’s needs the best!
Tip #6 – Create a brain friendly environment. Set up a designated school area and understand that you can school anywhere, even outside! Change up where you and your children sit. If you want to have and keep organization, set up an area where the curriculum is kept and keep school supplies in that spot, so they are not all over the house. If the schoolwork does happen to get all over the house, have the kids clean up at the end of the day. Remember to take care of you as the parent and try to have a sanctuary spot in your house.
Tip #7 – It is important to have a consistent schedule but be flexible! The brain loves flexibility and creativity. So, take a deep breath and beware of being too strict. Start schoolwork at whatever time works best for your kids, kids need their sleep! You can have a schedule but try to be flexible to lessen the stress on everyone. Allow flexibility to meet each child’s individual needs. Think about it, teaching your kids from home can be a beautiful memory for you and your children! Having your kids do some physical work or P.E. first thing in the morning will help get their brains engaged in a happy and healthy way, so they can be ready for schoolwork.
Tip #8 – Be open-minded with the curriculum and method you are using for each child, understand that each child is an individual and needs something a little different. The chances of all of your kids having the same learning style and Brain Quadrant Dominance, is very unlikely. Each child has unique needs. Find some homeschool support sites and read some blogs! Julie offers a beautiful course on how to successfully teach/homeschool your children at home.
In conclusion, learn to take deep breaths. Remember, as a parent you are already a teacher! Try to have an age appropriate discussion with your kids about the current situation. Stay in control, calling to mind that you are the adult. Consider different options and what will work best for you and your family. Set up an area in your house so at the end of the school day, all schoolwork will go there, and your house will become a home again. Lastly, be consistent yet flexible in your schedule and be open-minded with your kids! Above all, remember that you are a natural born teacher as a parent, and you got this!
Click HERE to listen to this full podcast!
Written by Rebecca Younger | Staff Blog Writer