With the COVID-19 pandemic having pushed Baytown-area students into their homes to learn what normally would be taught in schools, many parents are being thrust into taking a role as scholastic teacher.
For many who never earned a degree or took even a class in education, building a teacher-student relationship with one’s child is a whole new ballgame.
Jennifer Adams, president of Baytown Area Homeschoolers, said that it all starts with a little faith and from there, healthy doses of strategy.
The main thing is to make sure you are praying and keeping your eyes on God,” she said. “Of course, make sure you are following along with the recommended lesson plan from your children’s teachers.”
Adams offered seven key tips for parents to use during the long haul if in fact, students are kept home for much longer than the hoped-for return in May.
Adams emphasizes a need to supplement the schoolwork with other areas of study that is tailored toward the child’s likes in order to build a learning momentum.
Also, continual engagement in other areas keep the students’ thought process firing.
Go with the flow
“Things don’t always go as planned, so be flexible,” Adams said. “Understand that it’s okay, and that you are not failing at this if plans aren’t going as you thought they should’ve gone. Your children will learn, and they’ll be OK. A little chaos is not unheard of.”
“Make sure that your children know that you are doing the best you can with a situation you didn’t particularly plan on,” Adams said. “This is new for your kiddos, but it’s also new for you. So, learn together, and make learning fun. Find out what interests your children, and research that. Pick something new every week to delve into. Have them write stuff about it, draw about it, watch a documentary on it, etc.”
“Is there something that your children have been wanting to do or learn, and simply never got around to doing it because of lack of time?” Adams said. “Now is the perfect opportunity to learn a new craft. Do you have a sewing machine that’s lying around? How about anything crafty in relation to yarn? Baking cookies?”
“Pull out those board games that have maybe been collecting dust for a while,” Adams said. “Those dominoes or card games that may be shoved deep in a drawer somewhere. Have some friendly competition. Maybe the winner gets to choose dinner for the night, or the next night if your dinner is already planned for the current night. Maybe parents can learn how to play a video game that their children love and play together.”
“Yes, that’s right, have movie nights a couple
times per week,” Adams said. “Get some popcorn,
chips, snacks, fruit, hot chocolate, or whatever,
and sit down for a fun family movie. Let the
children take turns picking out some nights, and
then parents can pick some nights. It’ll be
something that they’ll anticipate and look forward
to enjoying as a family. Not to mention the
conversations it’ll provide afterwards.”
6- Stay active
“I know it’s hard right now for all the children
that are used to P.E., or practices for whatever
sport or activities they are involved in,” Adams
said. “That doesn’t mean they can’t still practice
at home, in their front or backyards. Maybe they
can’t do the extent of the practices, but they can
do some of them. Set up an obstacle course in your
yard for your children to do. They’ll get some sun
and fresh air, and they’ll be able to burn off tons
of the energy they are storing from being at home
more often. Friendly competition while staying
active is always fun.”
“Yes, the internet is a great tool for all types of
research,” Adams said. “Use it.”
About a hundred families are members of the Baytown Area Homeschoolers and Adams know that this is not an easy process for those becoming defacto teachers on the fly.
“We’ll all get through this together,” she said. “In the meantime, let’s have fun, get creative, and enjoy the ride. Hug your children. I know that it seems exhausting and quite possibly frustrating during this current time. But when we get back to our normal routines and activities, working back out of the house, kids back in school out of the house, we will actually miss the extra time we had to hug our bunch.”
Kristin Howell, is a Baytown parent who home schools her children and she
“The advantages are being able to spend more time with your children, being a part of what they are learning and learn along with them,” Howell said. “You are able to explore their interests and have more control to allow them the freedom to spend more time on things that are an interest to them.
“One of the biggest challenges I experienced early on was when your children are with people, they tend to not know, they will be cooperative, and they aren’t as comfortable with them so they may listen more. When it’s you, you are mom or dad so they may have a harder time. You have to establish rules and structure in the beginning. It can be challenging for them of having the idea you are the teacher.”
Howell also recommends YouTube as a good vehicle for the teaching and learning process at home.
“Occasionally they will go through a lesson their teacher is teaching them and may not get it,” she said. “You can do a search for different types of math problems, language, grammar things and YouTube is a great resource.”