By Pam Embler
America struggles with the expanding COVID-19 restrictions, many parents brace for the home schooling of their children. I would like to encourage parents to embrace this opportunity.
I have been a home school parent for 18 years and I have learned a few tricks. I work from home as an online nurse faculty member with the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
Home schooling lets you learn with your child. Whether your child is in kindergarten or grade 12, you are your child’s first, best teacher. Home schooling offers you an opportunity know your child on a deeper level; how they learn best and what they are most interested in learning.
You may have been given a list of subjects to address, but be creative. How they learn is up to you. Consider documentaries for history or science, use games to reinforce math concepts, read together.
Consider a schedule, but be flexible. You will be surprised at how much your child will learn in less time than a traditional school day. Do not worry about covering every subject, every day. It is ideal to begin every day with a great attitude, but we parents know that is not reality.
Capitalize on great attitudes and respond in kindness to rough starts. When a bad day starts the day – bake!
You can double or triple a recipe. You are adding, multiplying, solving proportions and ratios. Their reward is a batch of cookies, your reward is that they used problem solving, critical thinking skills and math.
Don’t be afraid to go off topic and go down a rabbit hole. If your child asks a question – and often questions are off topic – explore the question. Encouraging learning is what is important; you can return to the original topic or incorporate the off-topic question into the content to be covered.
Consider the ways you can use this interest to involve other subjects or skills. A history lesson can involve a map, writing and vocabulary.
Take advantage of current events. Explore COVID-19 and the many health concepts being discussed in the media.
Use technology to your advantage. Use phones or tablets for a game of “find the fact.”
This is an opportunity to discuss reputable websites and sort fact from fiction.
Provide your child the opportunity to become an educated and responsible consumer of online information.
Get outside. Nothing stimulates learning more than exercise and fresh air. Take a book to the park. Outside your door are lessons on topography, biology, geography and physics.
Let the older kids lend a hand. Providing your older child the opportunity to teach a younger sibling can be an empowering experience. Older children can read to their siblings as well as instruct on a subject. Older siblings often enjoy this additional responsibility, another lesson we parents all strive to impart.
Finally, be sure to have fun. Do not let home schooling intimidate you.
You may not be the expert in all the subjects that your child is studying but you are the expert in knowing your child.
Use this opportunity to encourage lifelong learning.
Pam Embler, of Hamburg, is a veteran of home schooling.