Remember that you are not a qualified educator and your kids don’t have to be doing online activities for school all day. So go easy on everyone and explore the world around you instead.
Bad day at the office
One US-based expat (a father of two sons) took to Facebook to give an insight into how homeschooling was going after one day: “Two students suspended for fighting. Teacher fired for drinking on the job. This isn’t going well.” Most parents would agree. Teaching your kids (while juggling your own work and other daily tasks) isn’t easy. For starters, the parent is not prepared or experienced. The ‘students’ might not adjust to the new ‘classroom’ or enjoy being bossed around by the new substitute teacher.
But rather than forcing your kids to sit down and try to replicate the entire school day, allow plenty of room and space for other educational diversions. “Remember that kids are born learning; it’s a survival skill that comes naturally to them,” said Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs. “If families can use this as a chance to engage their kids in genuine learning, that could be transformational for kids’ development.”
Gardening and teamwork
In short, relax your ‘academic expectations’ and expand your notion of learning. Teach what you know or use the internet as a resource to support explorations of your immediate environment. For example, if you have a garden, prepare a garden bed together and learn about compost, seasons and climates. When indoors, some basic cookery lessons can also be fun and informative (Google kid-friendly recipes and let them make their own lunch). Perhaps there are some safe and simple ‘DIY’ or redecorating tasks around the house that you can supervise.
Focus on their interests
If none of these activities pique the curiosity of your little ones, Galinsky advises thinking about their interests, even if they don’t interest you, and adapting. If your kid loves Minecraft, search for graphic novels based on the video game. If they’re interested in superheroes, read books on the subject with them and create your own. Talk about what it means to be a hero (and a villain) over dinner and then… relax. “If a child learns one thing they care about in a day,” Galinksy adds reassuringly, “that’s enough.”
Some of the above article is based on National Geographic’s recent feature ‘Forget homeschooling, teach life skills instead’
This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.