Many parents have suddenly become homeschool teachers and many teachers are adapting to distance learning. That can be a lot to get used to. Learning from home is very different from sending your kids to school—but it doesn’t have to be a struggle! We’ve put together seven great tips that will help you master distance learning.
- Establish a routine. It’s a good idea to write up a rough timetable for every day of the week so that your days get some structure. The timetable doesn’t have to be hour-by-hour (we know home life can be unpredictable!)—you can just block out sessions for certain subjects so that you have a clear idea of what you’re tackling that day. And don’t forget to include regular fun breaks!
- Aim for short, fun sessions. Children (especially younger ones!) don’t have very long attention spans, and being tired doesn’t make for productive learning! So aim for short bursts of study time, and pay attention to when your child shows signs of being tired or distracted. Be prepared to be flexible—if your child gets tired earlier than you thought, it’s better to take a break and return to the task later, rather than trying to power through.
- Get creative and mix up the ways you learn. Mixing things up makes learning more fun, and there are endless possibilities for different learning activities! Aim for a nice mix of video-based learning, independent reading and writing, games and quizzes, hands-on activities, and discussions. There are plenty of resources available for free online—for example, we’re offering free access to Twig Science Tools (K–5) and Twig Secondary (6–12), which both contain thousands of videos, activities, visuals, quizzes, and learning materials.
- Learn with your child. Teaching at home doesn’t mean you have to lecture. Make learning time fun by exploring a topic with your child, and encourage them to think further by asking questions and providing feedback. Your child is likely to learn a lot more this way, compared to if you simply tell them the facts. Plus, research has shown that students find interaction with their parents very motivational.
- Schedule alone time. This might seem like it goes against the earlier point—but homeschooling is all about variety! You’re going to be together for the whole day, so some alone time can be beneficial. This could involve watching a video that is both fun and instructive or doing independent research and reading. We’ve prepared independent learning packs for grades K–6 that are perfect for independent study. Check them out! Teaching older kids? Twig Secondary also contains independent study resources.
- Stay in touch with classmates. Learning at home can be lonely for children who are used to seeing their friends everyday. But with today’s technology and platforms such as Zoom, they can still see each other! A perfect activity is watching a video together, and then prompting discussion among the kids using prepared questions. For example, each week we publish a new episode of Twig Science Reporter on Youtube with exciting news stories from the world of science, including discussion questions!
- Find a “learning space” at home. It can be weird eating, sleeping, working, and studying in the same space, and it might make the parts of the day blur together. But if you create a space dedicated for learning, you can still have the routine of “going to school.” This can mean simply moving from the kitchen table to the living room, or even just changing up the kitchen table a bit to make it feel more like a work space.
We hope those tips will make your homeschooling days a bit easier. If you’re looking for free science resources, we’ve made thousands of videos, activities, lesson guides, games and quizzes available for free—plus we’ve put together independent study packs for all ages. Find out more!