As a home-school parent and with all that is going on in the world, I’ve been sitting by and watching other parents worry over how to educate their children whilst the school establishments are on shut down. I realize and respect their feelings but I’m also a little annoyed at how they are buying into the “get organized” – “do or die” hype.

The reality, (in my eyes) is that we are all in a difficult position right now, we are all unsure and nervous about how this is going to turn out, but schooling your child doesn’t need to cause anyone unnecessary stress and anxiety.

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I also realize that it might come more naturally to some. So let’s just take a deep breath and I will share with you how to keep your children entertained, engaged and educated without all the stress.

Educate with simplicity

Stop organizing hours of worksheets and online learning. Keep your day simple. Wake up and have breakfast, let the kids help you, yes, even the little ones. Keep it relaxed, you don’t have to gobble it down because you want to “start the day”. Simplify the way YOU see the day.

Educate through life experiences

Do the daily chores, wash the dishes and pack them away, get your children to make their beds, feed the animals, fold the laundry and pack it away. Dust, sweep, wash a window, water the garden. There is so much to do that will expel their energy, create curiosity, conversation, all while keeping them from getting frustrated and bored.

Get moving

There are incredible YouTube channels for children of all ages. Turn on a Zumba class, Kickboxing, Yoga, take a walk around the garden, get some fresh air, do jumping jacks, handstands, even with your older children this would probably have you all in hysterics. Do a handstand yourself. You might wet your pants, but that would give you 5 minutes spent laughing.

Read, Read, Read

Your child can learn ANYTHING by reading. If they can’t read, read to them. If they don’t like reading turn on an audio book. The world is held in the words of a book. You’ve just allowed them some quiet time, to be in their own space, to imagine, dream.

Engage

Do something together that you wouldn’t normally have the time for. When I first started home-schooling the one thing that struck me was actually how little I knew my children, like REALLY know them. Yes, we all talk to our kids, but how often in the rat race of life do we get deep. Have those conversations that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to. Talk about aspirations, dreams, feelings, friendships, the world.

Target Time

Here is where you can teach a specific concept. Your days do not have to be filled with workbooks. Look at what your child might be struggling with academically and focus on that. Talk about it and explain it concretely, before piling on the worksheets. Some days will work well and other days might become frustrating. Take a deep breath, stop for a while, have another cup of tea. Try again later, or even tomorrow.

Choose Your Battles

It’s not going to help anyone if you are in a constant panic. I realise that there are children that need to now educate themselves for exams and stay up to date with varsity modules and this can and must still happen, but honestly, right now, it’s not worth creating an atmosphere of tension in your home, especially when you are stuck in it! Our children have an opportunity here, to rest.

Education does not only happen on paper, but it’s also all around us, whether we are out on the streets or in our homes. As parents, we must educate ourselves, change our viewpoint, remove our stereotypical understanding of learning. Step out of our comfort zone and into the space of our children.

My honest advice, throw away the rigid schedules!

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Jacqui Bester

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