Homeschooling during a pandemic
Last week, after a particularly difficult ‘homeschooling’ session with my 7-year-old son, he looked at me and very lovingly said, “Mom, you just weren’t meant to be a teacher.” He was not telling me anything I didn’t already know, but somehow verbally agreeing on this simple fact made me feel better. As I’ve talked to more and more parents, I’ve realized that very few of us were actually meant to be teachers, and we’re all just doing the best we can. While I certainly don’t have it all figured out, and there are definitely days it all goes very wrong, there are some tips I’ve gathered through my education and training as a psychologist, and experience as a mom, just trying to survive.
Offering choices is always a good idea when interacting with children, of all ages. Kids don’t always have a lot of control in their lives, which can cause them to act out as a way of gaining what control they think they can get and need. Giving kids choices, all of which I am ok with as a parent, gives them a sense of control over themselves and their environment. Later on, when there are situations in which they can’t have as much control, if any, they will generally be more agreeable if they’ve been given control in other areas.
During this strange time of homeschooling, this means offering choices such as:
“When do you want to do your work – In the morning? After lunch? Before dinner?”
“How do you want to do your work – On Construction paper? With a pencil or a pen?”
“Where do you want to do your work – At the table? On the floor? In your room?”
Be careful to only give choices you’re ok with. If you know you won’t have enough emotional or physical energy after dinner to do schoolwork, then don’t offer that as an option. Give yourself (and your kids) permission to make different choices as they go along. So if they originally choose to do their work now, but then decide they’d rather do it later, think about if that’s a choice you’re ok with. Ultimately, the goal is to get the work done – HOW they do that can often be something they have control over. And allowing them that control will often get the work done, with more cooperation and fewer tears!
Check out part 2 of this series for more tips and tricks!
We’re Here to help!
At PSG, we have trained therapists to help you manage during this difficult time. Whether you need a space to process your own thoughts and feelings, or you child needs additional support as they try to work through all the recent changes, we’re here to help!
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