Tips for Homeschooling During COVID-19

Tips for Homeschooling During COVID-19

Tips for Homeschooling During COVID-19

During this time of COIVD-19 there are so many challenges and new ways of life for now, one of the many tasks that parents are undertaking is homeschooling their children.  This can pose stress for parents and kids, which can affect mental functioning, relationships, and parents’ ability to work from home. Ekkk, that’s a lot! So how can we mitigate some of these challenges and what is the most important part to focus on?  Below is a list of tips to help you and your child hopefully find some peace, hope, and calmness in the midst of homeschooling during this global pandemic.

  1. Schedule and Space

Finding a set space for kids to do schoolwork can help to separate them from feeling as though they are constantly at school. This can support their ability to know they must do work when in this spot in the home.  Kids are also used to a schedule so helping them create one can provide some normalcy during a time that feels very out of the normal. Allowing room for the schedule to change when needed can be supportive. Maybe your child is needing a break or is on a role with a project they enjoy, helping to support them and seeing what they need and reassure them that you care about their wellness and success.

  1. Lean into What Your Kids Enjoy and Want to Learn

While there might be things that your children have to accomplish there can be ways to support what they want to learn about and what will be helpful for them.  Allowing them to explore what interests them can help to foster their intrinsic desire for learning, which has been found to be a great motivator in the long term.  This can also be used as a motivator to help them accomplish tasks they need to do and then create time to work on their favorite subject.

  1. There May Not be a Full Online Learning Replacement – Know Your School District

While many school districts have implemented online learning, this is not a full replacement or requirement in some places.  For example, schools need to ensure that all children have access to resources and be able to service all children including those who have a disability.  It can be supportive to discover what is and is not a requirement for your child to complete.  Within Colorado there has been information about kids staying back and about the ability for grades to only go up during this time, so finding out what applies to your child can help alleviate unnecessary stress to better discover what is important to focus on.

  1. It is Okay if You are Frustrated with a Certain Topic Too

While your kids may excel with certain topics in school and others are frustrating, this is probably for the case for parents as well.  This is not to say parents have to fake it to make their child enjoy the topic more.  Rather parents can support and validate their children’s feelings while also modeling a positive attitude for completing the challenging work.

  1. What can Kids Learn from Home?

There are other skills that parents can teach their children that they may not learn in school or that they can expand upon.  Think about experiential learning, what hands-on projects can parents do with kids? What about cooking, money management (mostly for older kids but can apply to younger), music, sewing (e.g. creating masks), gardening, woodwork etc.?  This is a time to reflect on what you wish you learned in school that was not apart of the traditional curriculum to help support your child’s learning.  We can learn so much in school and there is also learning that takes place outside the classroom that can be just as valuable.

  1. Provide Choices

Whenever possible it is supportive to allow your child to make the choices for things.  This can help to provide them with a sense of control in a world that right now feels very out of control.  Some examples can be, when do they want to take a break, what subject do they want to start on, is there a certain project they can do today, do they have additional ideas for learning.

  1. Know Your Child and What They Need

All kids are different, and they have unique needs and learning styles.  Parents know their children well and know what they may need in this time.  If you find your child is having a particularly hard time with school and this is unlike them then maybe there is more going on that they are upset or distracted with at this time.  It is helpful to check in with your children to see what they need regarding help with school and with life.  Some kids may need more hands-on help and collaboration, while others are fine with doing what they need on their own.

  1. Screen Time

How much screen time is your child (and you) engaging in?  This may be something that is not always in the front of parents’ minds while teaching because so much has recently transferred to computers and phones.  However, taking breaks from this, even while learning, can be crucial to help reduce fatigue and eye strain.  Another tool many people have found to be helpful are blue blockers, glasses that help to block out some of the blue light from screens.

  1. Model Self-Care and Regulation

There will probably be times when parents get frustrated with home school, working, and watching children all at the same time.  This is a time when modeling regulation and self-care can be crucial.  As parents, what do you need to keep yourself grounded?  Is it time for a break, tag in another caregiver, call a family member for support, take deep belly breaths, go outside, watch something funny, etc.?  Think about how you expect your kids to try and emotionally regulate.  As adults we need to be their model of how to do this especially during challenging times.

  1. Embrace Children’s Emotions and Help Them Regulate Their Emotions

It is helpful to validate kids’ emotions; simple statements can go along way.  Instead of saying “don’t feel that way,” rephrase it to “I hear you are upset, while there are some things we can’t change, what do we have control over, and what helps us when we feel upset.”  Reminding them of different types of coping skills, that you are there for support, and that there are some things we can do to help stay safe can go a long way.

  1. Mastery and Passion Projects

Is there a project you and your child have been wanting to work on but have not had the chance to complete?  This is the time!  Encourage your child to explore new skills they can learn from home and work on.  Maybe there is a topic they are interested in a school has not allotted the time, are there things they can learn from YouTube video platforms, and some companies are even providing free virtual lessons for different skills during COVID-19.  This may be a time when your child learns they have a new love for something they may not have discovered otherwise.

  1. Learn from What has Worked and What has NOT Worked so Far

Every day is a learning opportunity for your child to learn and what works for them.  Maybe one day homeschooling was terrible and the next was smooth.  What happened during those two days? How can we learn from the challenges and remember to replicate the things that went well? And even if we try and replicate the good days there can still be challenges that come up and that is okay.  Give yourself and your child grace.

  1. Prioritize What They Need Help with and What Your Kids Can Work On

This can also be a time to help your child catch up on a subject that they have been behind on and support them with what has been challenging over the school year. Consider prioritizing subjects so that your child feels accomplished with each milestone.

  1. Compassion – Towards Yourself and Your Child

Remember to have compassion! This is something that is crucial with everything going on and can go a long way. Some days school may go out the window with other emotions and basic needs coming up. Remember to allow yourself that space when you need it and to remember that tomorrow is a new day. Your child may need the same type of supports and reminders as well!  Check out more of our blogs for more information with coping with COVID-19 and to schedule an appointment with one of our counselors.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Photo by Antonio Gabola on Unsplash

Sarah Richards, MA is a registered psychotherapist working towards becoming a licensed professional counselor in Colorado. She studied international disaster psychology at the University of Denver and holds a master’s degree. Sarah’s clinical training has primarily been with children who have experienced trauma and childhood adversity. Much of her work has focused on childhood bereavement and how to support grieving children. She uses a trauma-informed care lens to support her clients and meets them where they are. She has experience working with children as young as three years old through young adulthood. She utilizes individual therapy, play therapy, family therapy, and group therapy.