Keep Calm and Teach On

11 tips on teaching your kids at home

Girl learning on a laptop

Yes, the struggle is real. Many parents now find themselves teaching their children while they must also focus on their day jobs. Many moms and dads are finding that teaching their kids can be challenging, intimidating, and even overwhelming.

Our America’s Car-Mart Marketing team – and parents themselves – recently compiled a list of suggestions on how they are managing their new roles as teachers. And, they wanted to share their suggestions with Car-Mart’s family of customers.

Tips for homeschooling

Whether you have kindergartners, 6th or 12th graders, here are 11 suggestions that may help you find your voice as a teacher.

  1. Get up and going – just like a regular school day.Father and son eating breakfast
    Normalize things and maintain a school-day schedule as much as possible. Get up at the same time every morning, eat breakfast, get ready for the day, and ‘send’ your kids off to school.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the educational benchmarks for the grade level of your children.
    Understand what your kids should know and be able to do at the end of the school year for their grade level. Stay connected with your child’s teacher to obtain this information. Also, check the websites of your State Departments of Education. The bottom line is to ensure your children stay on track with their learnings, so they are well-prepared for the future.
  3. List out the day’s schedule on a whiteboard to help stay on track.
    Let them know what to expect for the day. Allow time for fun activities and breaks. For example, if they like a certain show, help them see that completing their assignments in the morning will allow for a break to watch their show later in the afternoon. Review the day’s schedule at the start of every day – perhaps at breakfast.
  4. Set up a specific place for your classroom and schoolwork.
    Find a room or table for school activities and work. Avoid outside distractions. If the sun is shining, sit outside at the picnic table. Learning can happen outdoors. Make it comfortable to encourage interest in learning.
  5. Schedule “I Wonder” time.Father and child on floor reading
    Ask your students what they are curious about, fascinated by, or wonder about. Then engage them in researching the topic and have them present their learnings to the family – maybe in a song or even a play.
  6. Check online resources.
    Google ‘creative things to do with my fifth grader’ to discover different things to do with your children. The Internet is a plethora of resources with a variety of teaching portals for basic skills in higher education. Khan Academy features thousands of free lessons in math, science, history, and more. For older children, Ted Talks is another great resource.
  7. Read, read, read, and read some more.
    Encourage your children to read about subjects that interest them – every day. Sit down and read with your kids. Your older kids may roll their eyes, but they will appreciate your time with them.
  8. Assign projects.Girl presenting solar system project to parents
    Come up with a project focused on their interests. Mix it up, make it fun. Focus on their passions – cooking, drawing, painting, rock painting, etc. Challenge your kids to think. Be creative. Build something with your teen-ager.
  9. Get social.
    Connect virtually – via Zoom or FaceTime – with friends. Maybe they can work on a math problem together or talk about a specific topic. Or just have fun together.
  10. Celebrate and reward the progress of your students.
    Keep your kids motivated. Celebrate with ice cream or chips and dip, or a special television show. Let them know the reward ahead of time to keep them motivated.
  11. Ask for help.
    Ask your neighbors for help. Perhaps one is an accountant and can help with your child’s math. Use Google for tips and ideas. Call your child’s teacher and ask for advice. Join an online group of teachers or parents. Just don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Additionally, if you don’t have Internet access, check with your school district, which may have access in various locations. Your child’s teachers may also have suggestions. Your local cable or telecommunications companies may be providing free access during this time.

Yes, you’re a teacher!

Mother and child doing school workYou are not alone in this teaching business. Know that it’s a great time to provide some one-on-one time with your children and engage in learning together. Use this as an opportunity to help your children and build their curiosity in the world.

The important thing about teaching your children is to work together, learn together, and make sure your kids stay on track with their schooling. Above all, have fun. You’re doing a great job!

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