The last few years have seen the parents become the teachers, and the teachers help the parents, who are supporting the children… And so on! It’s been fantastic fun for some, and others struggled through. Both ways are fine because no one was prepared for it, but there are some ways that learning can be fun (and probably still a little frustrating).
One of the most important things to remember is that learning is a journey, and sometimes there will be ups and downs. But a little fun along the way can make a world of difference.
These tips are general, and they might not all work for you – but take away what does!
One of the interesting – or not so, maybe – things about learning in school is they do a mix of learning styles in each lesson. Some students learn by watching, others by listening, and a large percentage of children learn by getting hands-on.
Kinesthetic learning involves the child learning by doing. When we think of learning by doing, things like riding a bike and using a round-about are great examples.
Sometimes though, even for children who love reading, the doing can be more enjoyable. Although you probably have some lesson plans, if you are facilitating, try and see if there are some ways that your child can be active while learning.
If you don’t have anything mapped out in terms of a learning timetable, then LEGO, building blocks, K’nex (or similar) can provide a challenge, and stimulation too.
If the children are home educated, you probably have a good support network already. If you are being home educated because of other reasons, then you might need to work on it.
Both have in common that there will be subjects and topics that are difficult for parents – or your child needs more of a challenge from time to time. There is also the possibility that your child needs extra help in a particular area.
Part of the support network that you build can have their level of a tutor, for example, Online tutoring for A-Level, or support for any subject.
There are also many online forums that are brimming with parents who are in the midst of homeschooling, and they can be great places of support for those who need it.
Follow, don’t always lead
As adults, we often take up the mantle of leader when we have a range of younger people or children around us. And most of the time, that is the right thing to do. Even with education, there are some areas where it is beneficial for you to be in charge.
But from time to time, ditch the leader’s hat and hand it to one of the children. Ask them what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. Giving children autonomy over their learning will mean that they feel like they have control and choices. Choosing what they love best and indulging in it a little can make learning feel like an adventure.
For example, if they are falling in love with pandas (and who wouldn’t), watch movies with pandas in them, find a zoo in the area with pandas, and do a project on them. This could be any subject but giving children the opportunity to choose means they can discover new interests.
Unless you are a trained teacher or someone who has endless patience, it can be hard to do a full 5-7 hours of education with your children. If you have multiple children and a job, it becomes even more challenging.
While you will likely need to help them keep on track for deadlines (depending on the age of the child), taking breaks is essential.
Learning new material can be a struggle for anyone, and teaching it can be even more challenging. It is not uncommon for parents, careers, and students to get upset with each other.
The truth is, sometimes you need to put down the studying book and take a walk.
Add extra breaks and manipulate any days to meet your needs.
Chuck it in the bin
There are going to be days where you and your child won’t feel like learning; you’d rather lay on the sofa and sip cocoa under a blanket. Well, really, you can and should feel like that is okay. The homework and the school work will all get done – it might just get done at a different time.
Not everyone has the ability to be available for zoom school meetings or all day with lessons, and that is okay.
Chuck what in the bin, you ask? Guilt. Throw guilt in the bin. Don’t feel like you’re failing, or you haven’t done enough.
As much as many of us don’t want to admit it, electronics play a huge role in our lives and the lives of our children too. There are a lot of great and educational apps and games that can be accessed via electronics. Of course, you will need a laptop or desktop if you have a tutor, but what about other stuff?
Spend some time researching educational games and apps that don’t have an upsell in the game and offer a range of activities.
Technology can be a bit of a hero from time to time, and while you probably don’t want your children plugged into a tablet all day – it can be a lifesaver if you have things to do and need to get some maths in the timetable.
Making learning fun can sometimes mean letting go of a rigid timetable – or implementing one. It can sometimes mean watching Kung Fu panda or writing about the life cycle of pandas. There is no one way to learn, and what is more important is that it isn’t stressful for anyone.
It might take a while to find the right balance, but when you are helping your child learn at home, do what you can to make it fun for everyone.
Are you in the learning to read stage? There are some great tips in this post: Top 5 Tips for Learning to Read