Advice for my sister…

My sister called me the other day, & she had news to share with me. Her announcement was that she could not be a teacher. I giggled. We both laughed for a minute and I told her that she was a great nurse and I’m glad she chose that as her career path.

From the phone conversation, I could tell she was struggling with this newly founded homeschooling situation that so many parents have been thrusted into as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

As we continued to talk, I just simply let her share her story. By the way, she has 3 kids at home, all under the age of 15. The problem was obvious… all 3 kiddos were not feeling it, & lacked a bit of motivation. My sister was getting an influx of information from 10 different teachers… 😳😬 I really felt for her and I knew she was still trying to do the impossible- teach her kiddos, be mom, and work!!!!

In the last few days, I have really been thinking about all this change for so many parents and the homeschooling struggles playing out in the social media world. Some of the posts are quite funny, people are searching for what to do, & even the Today show did a feature on this topic this week!!!

So how we “teachers” do it in the classroom and make it all work???? Here is a working list for you today from a teaching veteran… 25 plus years of experience… turned Hardware wife. I hope this is helpful for someone out there as well as my sister… Love ya sister… hope this brings a glimmer of hope & insight to you today.

1. Keep a routine going for each day – begin & end at the same time-their school day is based on routine and specific schedules your kiddos are accustomed to

2. Allow for Brain Breaks, games, outside time. Simple yoga or meditation time can be used as well and many schools are using it now

3. When you are teaching new concepts, make connections to things they already know – build upon their prior knowledge is crucial to learning

4. Teach for 10 minutes & review for 2 minutes – we teachers like to call this concept “chunking”. Remember the attention span of a kiddo is 8-12 minutes (depends on age and gender) Adult attention span can be 15-20 minutes… well enough said

5. This one is my favorite and my students loved this one as a teacher-Read together- read aloud novels/chapter books… use your voice to project different characters, mood / tone of the story… stop and ask questions for comprehension along the way, discuss new vocabulary, integrate other subjects from story- science, math etc when you can!!!

6. Rome wasn’t build in a day… Adapt when things don’t work out like you expected. It will be ok if you don’t accomplish everything you need to in one day.

7. Overplan!!! & Communicate with your child’s teachers. Set your daily expectations out there to your kiddos, let them know what they will be learning/doing. This will help them to take some ownership of their own learning.

8. Integrate technology- use online resources, games, videos( music/movie clips), Pinterest, blogs etc. Honestly, this one is time consuming but well worth it… dig deep for your kiddos and you will reap rich rewards!!! (If your students are working with online learning from their school districts, use these as a supplement to learning)

9. Don’t forget to use YouTube- great wealth of resources!!!!

10. Start small!!! Begin with a few hours of learning when you tackle this undertaking, and work way up to longer instructional time

11. Share resources and information/inspiration with others!!! I always hated to work with other teachers who never wanted to share resources or ideas. The more help/ resources you have the better off you will be!!!

12. Have your kiddos to reflect on their learning… this could be a daily discussion at the end of the day, journal writing, checklist, etc. This will put ownership of learning back on them and what they need to do differently tomorrow. Checks for understanding of content should be frequent.., like daily

13. Don’t worry… your kids will know you are not an academic expert. At the beginning of each year, I always told my students we will learn & ask questions together… learning never stops for anyone!!! Set this expectation early!!! We are learning together…

14. Try Create & Make projects – hands on projects or creative projects are great for kiddos

15. When a task is hard for your kiddo, don’t forget this… “you are not there yet” – the power of “yet” is not failure… you are still working on it… ie., learning in progress. Grant your child a little bit of grace to keep learning and growing.

So here it is sister… my advice to you as you navigate this new chapter in homeschooling with your kiddos. I hope this will help you 😉 and everyone else out there who might possibly need this.

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