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OBC’s Top 5 Homeschooling Tips

by Dr Robert Wallis, Principal and Education and Curriculum Manager

For parents who are new to homeschooling their children, this type of learning environment can present itself with a unique set of challenges. To help make this transition easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of our Top 5 Homeschooling Tips.

1. Avoid battles. If it becomes too difficult, move on to something else. As much as possible, let your children decide what they want to learn. 

We know that there’s a lot of material to learn and to cover. However, it’s important to realize that we all have our limits (especially children!). When the learning process is starting to take its toll – and you and your child keep getting into arguments – try switching gears and focus on learning something new. A new subject will create novelty and that should help to re-engage your child.

2. You can rarely make a child do anything, but you can empower them (trick them?) into making the right decision.  So when there are things they must work on, give them choices. 

Sometimes you just have to get an assignment done. Rather than taking a top-down leadership approach, try giving your child options in order to see what they might like to work on first. Help them make a plan on when they would like to complete something, and the steps needed to achieve that. It will give them greater agency – and help to teach them about time management and organization.

3. If your child gets too antsy, try seeing how fast you can all run around the block.

Sitting in one place for a long time to complete an assignment can be quite frustrating, especially if your child has an abundance of energy that is keeping them from focusing on their work. In this case, and just like with ourselves, it’s important to take breaks. Try taking a 3-minute break (more if possible!) to see how much energy your child can expel by running around the block. A quick mental reset, increased oxygen, and exercise are great ways to help them refocus and take on problems with a refreshed and clearer perspective.

4. Find a way to make learning fun for you. Your child will be able to tell if you think it’s boring, too.

Enthusiasm is infectious. If you find a topic boring, your child will likely, too. Figure out a way to make the lesson more entertaining for yourself and your child so you can share in the enjoyment. Remember: learning should be fun, not tedious.

5. Don’t set your expectations too high or work your child too hard or too long just to complete something. By the time they are complaining, they are unlikely to learn anything new.

It’s important to recognize if homeschooling isn’t your expertise. These are unprecedented times that require both acceptance and understanding of what you can realistically accomplish. All you can do is try your best, so try to be OK with that. The most important thing you can do right now is to support your child in the best way that you can. Having realistic expectations about the outcome will not only help your child, but help you in the process!