Homeschooling children has become very popular in the United States, having originally appeared rather niche a decade ago.
It is estimated by the National Home Education Research Institute that there are around five million homeschooled students in grades K-12 in the US. That equates to around 9% of all school-age children, making it very much a mainstream method of education in the modern era. With the pandemic still raging on, it is even believed that number could have rocketed higher across the US entering 2021.
How that manifests itself at the delivery end of the issue is interesting. How do you go about creating a viable school environment for your children, and what extra steps should you be taking to ensure the process is both enjoyable and effective? In essence, how do you create the perfect school, at home?
School can be the first real taste of structure that a child has to their day, and you should be looking to offer them that same experience at home. That starts by having a single location in which they are to receive their schooling. It may be a home office, it may be a repurposed room, but each lesson should be in the same place. This signals to your children that school has started and that despite being at home, they should behave and pay attention in the correct manner.
Make sure any room you work in is well insulated and cozy, because as we explain in our article ‘Planning for 2021’ poor weather is a strong feature in many US states, particularly over the winter months. You can protect your children by ensuring drafts are blocked out, and in extreme weather maybe even using thick drapes to help keep the room warm. If you are schooling from home for the long term, consider insulating rooms, too. A feature on how to save energy by HomeServe, states that something as simple as loft insulation can save a quarter of the heat from your home, making the classroom environment far more bearable for your children.
It is so easy to be distracted at home, not just for your child, but for you as well. Make sure tablets and mobile phones are put away. Televisions and radios should be turned off, too. You do not have to insist on complete silence. A classroom would be noisy and full of life. Choose the right type of noise. You might even have to remove pets from the room. Remember to adhere to your own rules. Whilst a child would not watch television during a lesson, a teacher would not play on their phone, either.
Do make sure your child sticks to a routine, which plays into the regular location theme. Have a set start time, as well as regular breaks, which the children know they can work towards. Try to mimic a regular school day as much as possible, having a morning break, lunch, and maybe an afternoon break. Stick to those times, so your child has a clear idea of when the work stops and when it must start.
Do Not Stress
Finally, try not to stress. Remember, homeschooling should be a relaxing and focused period in your child’s life. Therefore, you need to project that whenever you are teaching. If you cannot get the environment exactly right, then focus on content. If your child is learning, it does not matter if they do it all from the sofa. The calmer you are, the better they will react and interact.