School From Home Tougher Than Work From Home

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The pandemic and the consequent lockdown will change the education system forever. But this crisis has also presented us with an opportunity, which has revealed the joys and benefits of homeschooling.

For more than three weeks, my kids and I have been stuck in lockdown in a city that we had moved into not more than a month before. In the past few days, many of my mom friends have called me, raising concerns about how their kids’ education will proceed in the pandemic. I understand that there’s a lot of uncertainty over how this crisis will impact our children’s studies now that the schools are shut.

After hearing stories from friends and family, I realized that children welcomed the pandemic initially. Because for them, the lockdown was an unexpected but relaxing break from school. On the other hand, the parents were concerned about how their children were going to catch up with their studies once things went back to normal. I also observed that many parents gave up trying to get their kids to study in the early stages itself, so they simply subscribed to all the kid’s channels available on TV and the internet.

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In case you’re wondering why these parents called me up for suggestions, it’s because my kids have never been to school in their life. They were homeschooled from very early on. But first things first, what might help all of us, especially all parents and kids who are trying to navigate this situation, is to accept and acknowledge the circumstances that we are in. Yes, there is an ongoing pandemic that has forced us all to stay at home. And it felt like a holiday for children initially because their school-going rituals had suddenly stopped. But it’s just as stressful a situation for the kids as it is for the parents.

School from home involves perhaps a more difficult transition than work from home because no parent or child saw this coming. Without their school routine, children are having a hard time adjusting to this new environment. Truth be told, online courses and videos won’t work if your child is unable to initiate learning by themselves and remain motivated. Instead of consulting too many people about how to deal with this situation of ‘school from home’, just go through different kinds of suggestions and try to come up with your own plan.

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Make sure that the routine is slightly flexible. If you have planned your day to the minute, it will only lead to disappointment if you don’t stick to the plan. It’s possible that an activity which was planned for 10 am today, occurs at 9:35 am tomorrow. Relax, and allow the schedule to shift a little bit. On some days, your kids will just want to be a chef and experiment in the kitchen; on other days; they might be interested in observing the bird which has just laid eggs on your balcony. Let them enjoy themselves. Education doesn’t have to be the opposite of fun.

Parents with prior experience on how the learning process takes place in homeschooling understand that children usually take more time to grasp things at home than when they are in school. In this situation, what can be really helpful for you in charting a learning plan for your kid is to know how your child takes in new information and how long it requires them to process it. Does your child enjoy a particular topic? Are they afraid of anything? What gets them motivated to study? Home-schooling is a wonderful opportunity for parents to learn more about their children’s learning patterns.

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Many parents that I have interacted with in the past have asked me if my kids were used to spending a lot of time inside the home since they didn’t attend school. But that is simply not true. My children are often out of the house. They go to their friend’s place, to the park in our neighborhood, to the swimming pool, for their dance class, sometimes they come along with me to the market. Perhaps, they spend much more time outdoors as compared to school-going kids. So the pandemic has affected their movement just the same.

But this is the time for us as parents to come up with innovative ways to keep the children busy at home. There’s a lot that can be done as well. You can play board games with them, get them to read, help them discover a new hobby, or engage them in some chores at home. Since my kids and I just moved into our new home, all of us have been occupied with arranging the house. Even though the lockdown has imposed several restrictions on our daily life, there’s a lot of things that can be done with what we have at home. All you have to do is think of ideas that are a little out of the box.

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As stressful as the last few months have been, it is important to do small things that can make you and your family feel happy and comfortable. If we can help our kids get through this pandemic without getting bogged down by the circumstances, perhaps we are teaching them something much more valuable than what a YouTube video on algebra can.

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