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How parents can homeschool during the lock-down

Make a schedule


Once you and your kids have identified the subjects they'll study, make a schedule and display it in a place where everyone in the family can see it.


Most children work off a schedule in classrooms, so recreating something similar at home can make the transition a bit easier.


However, Jen Reyneri, who has homeschooled two sons, ages 16 and 12, said every family should embrace the opportunity to create a rhythm of life that works for them.


"Include chores, family dinners or breakfasts, and family projects in your new family routines," said Reyneri, who runs a blog and co-owns an Italian restaurant in Hobe Sound, Florida. "Because this is such a unique situation, it's also OK to let everyone sleep in a bit later."


You might find it helpful to set aside time for educational games on a computer or mobile advice, too.


Recognize that kids have different needs


Recognizing that children have different needs that need to be met can get complicated in families with several children. 


Monica Smith, who lives in Healdsburg, California, has twin 7-year-old boys and said one was recently diagnosed with ADHD. She said her district just completed an individual education plan for this child, and she admitted she is anxious about how she'll be able to manage his special needs while also being there for her neurotypical child.


"Without the help of [school] resources, I'm nervous about how to best meet his needs and keep him engaged," she said of her special-needs child. "I also need to be conscious of what his twin brother needs, and make sure he doesn't feel 'ignored' just because he has the ability to work independently."


"Nobody knows your kids better than you do," said J. Allen Weston, executive director of the National Home School Association in Denver. "It's OK to take the time to give [each of them] what they need."


Incorporate recess 


In a typical school setting, kids are allowed to go to recess or get some sort of outdoor time during the day. Homeschooling shouldn't be any different.


Dr. Jessie Voigts, a homeschooler and founder of Wandering Educators, a global community of educators sharing travel experiences, said it doesn't matter if this time is structured or not, so long as the kids get outside.


"A walk in the woods is not only healthy for your body and spirit, but your mind, too," Voigts said. "What new plants are growing? What bugs can you find under decaying logs? Count the tree rings in a downed tree. Reroute a waterway in a little creek. See how the sun moves through the sky. There are so many ways to learn."


Downtime is your friend


Downtime, or time for children to work on things quietly and independently, is just as important as activity time outside.


Hannah Gauri Ma, a homeschooler and blogger currently living in the United Kingdom, said this space allows for independent exploration but also can help reduce friction.


"Kids will react differently to a parent as 'teacher,' and they will push back in ways they don't at school," said Ma, who runs the popular Loving Earth Parenting website. "Allow for the fact that kids will be holding a lot of tension around all these sudden and often stressful changes to their routines and lives."


Use arts and crafts


Art is an important part of education, and homeschooling provides parents with an opportunity to get creative with crafts.


Amanda Kingloff, the founder of Projectkid.com, a website with tips for crafting, suggested getting creative with materials for different art projects every week. In particular, Kingloff advised reusing washers, buttons, fabric swatches and ribbons, as well as used jars, plastic bottles and cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls to form the basis for recycled art.


"You probably have these things around the house anyway," Kingloff said. "Many of these materials allow kids to create three-dimensionally without the challenge of sculpting something or making something out of clay."



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