4 ways to make the homeschooling experience better for parents and children
I know that homeschooling and working from home is super difficult at the moment.
For many, we have been following a comfortable routine of sending our children to school, and fetching them after a long school day. Home is where there is comfort, freedom of space and time to relax.
The home environment has now changed – where not only are parents making up a "home office" area but children have to also adapt to learning whilst they are at home. What tends to easily happen within the lockdown environment is that shared space becomes a common area for work and play – this makes it even more difficult to actually get in some constructive work during the day.
Therefore, creating a simple and de-cluttered working space will clear up the mind, to know when it is time to work and play. Here is what you can do :
Create a specific ‘home-schooling’ area
By clearly having a space to study (even if it is a small desk and chair in a corner of a room with sufficient ventilation and light), you will create an environment to help your child understand that, when she is in that specific environment, the thinking and learning ‘cap’ needs to be worn.
You are therefore creating a mind-set of learning within that specific space. As you set this boundary – you will see that the mindset of your child will adapt to knowing that specific time and space is now allocated to learning, and this will be easier to manage. Be sure to have an airy space and one with enough light (either natural sunlight through a window or a bright light) so that the eye does not take strain.
Establish a play space
Create a space where your child can relax and enjoy play. By doing this, you will be creating a similar environment to school; as the classroom is a learning environment and the playground or field is a play environment.
By establishing these subtle boundaries, you are re-programming your child’s mind to understand that it is now time to play, or it is time to work. Make the play space fun, and offer your child the creative ideas to keep them happy and busy.
This could even look like make a floor-mat with different colour fabric – scattered around, where they have to collect and colour co-ordinate. The same activity can be re-purposed to teach colours of the rainbows, counting and even spelling. Just through some creativity you can make playtime a fun, learning experience.
Also, by creating a fun space to play – you can rest assured that your child will be mindfully occupied for a while, and this will allow you to work whilst your child is at play.
Knowing your work-space is equally important
We do often get caught up sitting either with at our laptop or mobile device in hand – whilst we are trying to home-school. Be wary that by multi-tasking in this way, both the teaching and working can easily take far longer and become frustrating to both you and your child.
Mistakes in your work can quickly crop up, simply because you are not completely focused. This can result in your child also becoming restless and agitated – making the entire teaching and learning process – even more difficult.
Remember, the trick is to always look for ways to lighten the pressure that everyone is feeling during this time – so by offering your child full attention for a short time – will surely curb long stressful bouts of teaching and working simultaneously. When you have created your work-space at home, your child will also know that you cannot be disturbed because it is now time for mum or dad focus on what they need to do.
Do not disturb signs
When you are expected to attend an important online meeting, have a ‘do not disturb’ sign on display at your laptop. Let this also be fun, and inform your child before-hand that when the sign is up – she cannot disturb you as you are attending a virtual meeting. Have a few ‘practice’ runs in order to get this right, and allow your child to take a turn using the sign too.
Using these simple yet effective technique of re-designing your space can create a world of difference not only within the home environment but also in establishing structure and routine during this time.
Rest assured that even the smallest physical space can be re-designed to accommodate work, learning and playing. Just be a little creative in how your set your area, and you will find a calmer, more relaxed lockdown experience.
Krsangi Radhe is a neuro-linguistic programming practitioner, time line therapist and women and children empowerment coach. She is also an educator, public relations practitioner and motivational speaker. Krsangi Radhe can be reached on [email protected] or visit her website www.sankalpacoaching.co.za