It’s Jasmyne with Relate Family Therapy, and I want to talk today about homeschooling and online school for your kids. The first thing is that I notice that a lot of people are referring it to homeschooling, and it’s really easy to refer to it that way because your kids are learning in your house, but if you have a little bit of a shift and reference it more as “online school,” it can help you recognize that their teachers are still there. They’re still ready to help you, and they still want to help your kids, and they have ways of doing that, whether it’s email or if they have Zoom times that your kids can ask questions. Some schools are even making videos of different concepts so your kids can watch them. And I know, for some kids, they may have to watch them a couple of times because it can be difficult when they’re in their home to get the information in the same way. One of the first things that I want you to do to set yourself up for success for online school is at the beginning of the day – or even the night before when you’ve received the assignments for the next day – I want you to take a little bit of time with your children and go through their day’s work. You can talk through about how long you think each assignment will take, what kind of assignments they are, if they have any questions or think that they’ll be easy or hard for them, and kind of build in a check-in time for them with it, too. Because, for some kids, most of the work is easy and they can breeze right through it, and for other kids it can be very challenging, and time-consuming, and difficult. So organizing an order of operations so they feel like some of the work can come a little easier and harder and having them work on chunks at different times of the day can help them just feel a little bit better about the amount of work and the work that they’re doing. The next thing is to have a designated place in your home that you’re doing online homeschool. That place can be anywhere, really. Just a place that has all of their supplies. It can even be a cardboard box that you lay out on the floor that they have that they can just put their stuff on. There can be a dining room table. I would try to keep it in a place that can be a little bit quieter, because sometimes when older kids – or younger kids – might still be there and might be done… The TV can be a big distraction. People making food, and that sort of thing. So having it be off to a place where they can have a little bit of privacy and some quiet can be helpful. Another thing that can come up is food. Kids love to graze and snack all day. Setting aside designated times for kids to have food can be very helpful in the planning of the day, and part of the reason why schools have snack time and times where kids can get what they need. Being able to work in those transitions and having a routine around the day can be good for kids. Saying, “if you complete this assignment then you can have a snack,” and so on and so forth, and making mealtime something more special than something while they’re eating when they’re doing their work can help break up the day and give them a little bit of incentive to work towards. Being able to get outside is so important for kids, and that’s why recess is such an invaluable part of school. Right now it’s snowing in Colorado, but I do know that there have been several nice days, and giving the kids the option to do some of their work outside can be good for them. You know, there are things that come up right now that we aren’t going to get back, and one of those things is having the chance to be able to to give your kids their spelling test outside on the back deck or being able to sit with them while they read their assignments, and listen to their teacher talk to them through the online programs. Being able to get to know your kids’ schoolwork can really help them feel like you’re more involved and can motivate them to help each other. I really like to have my children come together and talk about their assignments, because I think it’s nice for them to feel like they’re connected in it. My daughter might help my son with his math, and they might do an activity like their art project or a science experiment together. So, that way, it feels like that have someone there to share it with. Utilizing the school’s Google Hangouts or some of the features that they let the kids use through the safe means that they have established, are nice ways for them to still get that peer contact and talk to the kids that are in their class and even go over some of the homework stuff that they might not be able to get on their own. Another nice thing for kids is to have something to look forward to at the end of the school day. We are all home together all day. And, as we’re sitting and doing our work, it’s nice to be able to think that at the end of the day there’s something that we can come together and that’s fun. So, I know tonight there’s a Disney sing-a-long that a lot of people have mentioned that they’re looking forward to. We have little things that we do in our household. One of them is a Wii tournament. We like to have a Wii tournament after the work is done for the day. My daughter likes to have a little bit of extra time to talk to her friends, and so, that’s something that she can get and earn if she’s able to get her schoolwork done. These are some ways that you can just help push the work into a place where it doesn’t feel like drudgery. Having your kids know that this is hard, and you recognize it’s hard for them, and it’s a change. That’s probably the biggest thing to connect with them. If you have any specific questions about what’s going on in your household and how we can help with it, you can feel free to just send me a message, and we’ll go from there. Otherwise, I hope your family is staying healthy, and we’ll check in again soon.
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