5 Helpful Tips for Homeschooling
Many of you may have found out in the last few days that your kid’s classrooms are shutting down over worries about spreading the new coronavirus. There is no doubt that this is new territory for our country and for families. Not only will many of you be balancing changes at work, but somehow you’ve got to make sure your kids receive the schooling they need for, well — who knows how long?!
This might seem like an overwhelming task for some, but we want to help you make the best of it! One of Truett Cathy’s life principles was taking advantage of unexpected opportunities, and with the right attitude, that’s exactly what this next season could look like for all of us.
We took some of our greatest lessons from years of doing camp and put them in the context of homeschooling as a way of helping you put some awesomeness in uncertain times. Reminder: YOU’VE GOT THIS!
#1 Have a Schedule
While Saturdays and Sundays can be a free-for-all, your kids are used to following the same schedule every day at school. We’ve learned over many years of camp that giving kids a schedule and sticking to it can make it an awesome experience for everyone involved! Of all the advice we’ve got, this is the first and most important.
Chances are you also will have to get some work done during these “social distancing” days. Having a planned schedule can help you figure out when you might have some time to sit at your laptop or start getting a meal prepared for later.
Print a schedule and put it somewhere your kids can see so they can know what’s coming next.
Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered! Check out this adapted version of a day at WinShape Camps for Communities. We’ve outlined how you might use these time blocks to help your kids have an awesome homeschooling experience!
#2 Give Your Kids Choices
If you’ve sent your kids to be a part of WinShape Camps, you know that we have a number of Skills for them to choose from. We want to make sure we cover all of the interests of kids, and we also realize those interests could change frequently. That’s why we have so many choices.
At the beginning of the week, let your kids make some choices about what the rest of their week looks like, and then use those choices as something for them to look forward to as they go through their school work.
Choices aren’t just about activities, but choices are also about how to act as well. Several of our camp locations give campers a chance to earn “tokens”. Campers can earn tokens for following the Honor Code, winning a competition, or sharing an answer in their small group time. Tokens can be one-time rewards for good choices, or they can add up to something bigger at the end of the week. No matter which reward system you choose, make it something that is visible and physical so your kids think about it all day long.
#3 A Whole New World
One of the trickiest parts of helping your kids transition from school to home is convincing them to treat “school days” differently than an off day at home. One tip for helping them take things seriously is to change things up in your home to make your kids feel like they’ve entered a whole new world.
There are a lot of ways you could do this. First off, you could move furniture around in a room to create a workspace or an activity space on school days. Maybe you could even build a fort out of blankets and sheets to create new spaces in a room that are designated for certain activities.
Another idea is giving them a nametag at the start of the day that they wear the entire time they are “in school.” At the end of the day, take it off to let them know the school day is over.
It might even be as simple as renaming rooms in your house. Make it fun and have a renaming ceremony where your kids get to determine the names!
#4 All In Faith
If your kids go to public school, they probably don’t get regular reminders of how God’s story is weaved throughout everything they’re learning. Spending a few weeks at home gives you a chance to help them remember some daily truths by connecting them to what they are learning. At camp, we weave truths in every part of the day by repeating them over and over and over. We even add hand motions to help them remember.
We recommend one truth a day, introduced early in the morning and repeated often. Here are some truths from previous summers you can use!
- No matter what, God is never-changing. | Matthew 7:24b-27
- When I love God with all of me, I put Him first in everything. | Matthew 6:33-34
- Our purpose we will find when deep friendship with God is yours and mine. | 1 John 1:1-4
- No matter what, God is always good. | Matthew 7:7-12
- Jesus is the Life-Giver. | John 10:10
- Follow Jesus and become wise. | Ephesians 5:15-17
- Jesus fills me, even when I’m empty. | John 4:10-14
- This is the key: Love God with all of me. | Mark 12:30
You don’t need a seminary degree to connect these simple truths to everyday life, or even your kid’s studies.
#5 Have fun, have fun, and HAVE FUN
In case you didn’t know…KIDS GOT SOME ENERGY. The best way to get that energy out is to get outside! Find times throughout the day to go outside and play. If you have siblings, have a daily time of competition and use things around the house to create games. Let them earn points that add up all week and declare a winner on Friday. You can even get some other families in the neighborhood involved. Just be careful to pick activities that will minimize the spread of germs and wash those hands often.
Another way you can bring some fun into the day is with regular dance breaks! You can stream all of WinShape Camps theme songs on Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play. If you connect your account to a smart speaker, you can even tell Alexa to play WinShape Camps for you. We’ve even got a dance video for last year’s theme song that you can learn the motions to.
BONUS TIP: Make Friday a Half-Day
Motivate your kids by making Friday a half-day if they can work well for the rest of the week. Might we even suggest you end their school day with a little Chick-fil-A Friday Family Fun Day picnic right in your backyard?
Whatever you do over the next several weeks, know that the WinShape Camps team is cheering you on and praying for all of our camp families! You’ve got this!
Meet ya at camp!