The past 18 months have been a whirlwind! Our entire world was flipped upside down due to the coronavirus, and a feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty continues to linger. Doctors, nurses, healthcare and frontline workers faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic. And then there were the teachers and students. Children, who only knew of a world where you go to school, see your friends, and receive instruction from a teacher, were now suddenly homeschooled. Many students rose to the occasion, embracing this new way of life. However, not all students were as motivated which left teachers and parents frustrated and looking for help.
It is not a secret that children like routines and when their routines are disrupted, they become, well, disruptive! As a parent, what can you do in troubling times like these? Raising a son who struggles with ADHD and has an IEP, has taught me many things. You are the adult and you must be the leader. Children look towards adults for guidance, and when that guidance isn’t there they become withdrawn or disruptive. My teenager was the type to shut-down and recoil when times got tough. His grades suffered and he missed seeing his friends and family members. However, there were some bright spots that continued to motivate him (and me) to push through the pandemic.
As a parent and educator, I noticed that students who complete their education at home seem to handle the situation in two distinct ways. Either they are structured, motivated, and get all their assignments done as soon as they are posted, or they procrastinate, thinking they have endless amounts of time to complete their work. I had the latter student. So what do you do with a student who likes to procrastinate and seems to struggle with learning from home?
- Create lists – Every morning I would write down the assignments for the day on sticky notes; preferably a different color for each class. As each assignment was completed, my son would cross it off the list. At the end of the day or when all assignments were finished, the sticky notes were thrown away. This small action gave my son a sense of accomplishment for the day.
- Chunk assignments – This is a great tool that teachers use all the time, especially with larger assignments that require multiple steps. Cutting worksheets in half and only giving half of the page to students will help them focus. You can also make a copy of almost anything on the computer. Copying assignments and then deleting parts will help your child focus on one section at a time.
- Set timers – For years I have been relying on my Google Hub to help me with my daily life. You just ask Google to set a timer for a specified amount of time and voila, done! No using the microwave or stopwatch anymore; although those two gadgets work just as well. Students benefit from timers by learning to judge the amount of time it takes to complete a task. It also helps keep them motivated, especially when they are “racing the clock”.
Homeschooling children is not an easy task, even without a pandemic. But it is not impossible and many students learn quite well at home. However, if your child is struggling, it is important to remember to set schedules, boundaries, and be the leader your child needs you to be during these challenging times.
HomeschoolFacts.com has a complete list of support groups to help support you in your homeschooling endeavors and connect with homeschoolers near you. You can search the list of support groups here: https://www.homeschoolfacts.com/homeschool-support-groups.html
Melissa L. Quinn