The New Normal has come and thrown things on its head, and now instead of children being sent out to school, school has come home! Some parents are enjoying the extra time to spend with their children and the stress free mornings, for others, they are struggling with their children being around all the time and the extra work that that involves. But whether you are enjoying it or not, the fact remains that school has to be done at home and here are a few tips how to make the experience more enjoyable and productive.
1. Create a ‘school’ space
Have a designated space where school will happen everyday. This can be anywhere in the house.
- It must be a place without distractions (like people walking around or toys or other attention drawing objects).
- Children can make it their own by putting their pencil box or sticking up a drawing or keeping something small that is special to them (like a rock or a keychain).
- Ideally, the space should have a desk and a chair so your child can write and do their work. If that is not available, you can keep a small mat for your child to sit on while they work on the floor. It is very important that the child is comfortable.
- It should be neat and free from clutter. Keep a small dustbin and tell the child that they are responsible for keeping their area neat, and need to put back their things when they are done.
The child should be involved in finding this space and then personalizing it, so that they have a sense of ownership.
2. Make a timetable
Have school at the same time everyday. Make a timetable for your child and stick it somewhere in their school space. It can be something like this:
- 9:00 – 9:15 Devotion and Prayer
- 9:15 – 9:30 Exercise and Song
- 9:30 – 10: 00 English
- 10:00 – 10: 15 Snack Break
- 10: 15 – 10: 45 Math
- 10: 45 – 11:00 Clay Time
- 11: 00 – 11:30 GK
- 11: 30 – 11: 45 Recap
3. Set a Routine
Since children don’t have to wake up early to get ready for school, the tendency can be to allow them to sleep late and go with the flow of each day. But if you want your child to get into the structure of school at home, it is very important to have a good predictable routine for your child – which includes eating at set times and sleeping at particular time everyday.
4. Balance discipline and having fun
Depending on your personality, you may tend to swing to either one extreme. But its important to maintain a healthy balance. School should be enjoyable and shouldn’t put pressure on the child beyond what they can bear. Be attentive to how your child is feeling and if they are struggling with a particular subject. Try and make it more interesting for them. But on the other hand, it is also important to push their limits and help them to grow to their full potential. They need to learn to finish their work for the day and increase their concentration span.
5. Provide quality time
Many parents are struggling with working from home and that is indeed a very real issue. Try and plan your day, scheduling school time into it. If you are able to, give your child a devoted 1 -2 hours to sit with them during school time. Keep your phone and other gadgets aside and let your child know that this time is important and a priority for you as well. If they know that you are giving something value, they too will start valuing it and even look forward to the quality time they get to spend with you during this time.
Do remember that this time may come only once in your life time and this is truly special time you get with your child. Make the most of it, for it will soon be over, and life will be back to normal.
I would like to acknowledge Ms Shilpa Yohan (teacher at Kids Joy School), who shared many of these tips at the Kids Joy School Orientation, June 2020.