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2020 has held surprises and challenges at every turn. Not the least of which was a sudden switch from in-person schooling to virtual and homeschooling options. While homeschooling has steadily gained popularity over the past decade, it was still largely viewed as the exception and not the rule for most families.
The swift entrance of a ruthless global pandemic changed all of that.
If you are one of the many families across the globe who suddenly found themselves forced to juggle remote work, the responsibilities of maintaining a household and homeschooling your children, you are likely feeling the stress of being pulled in multiple directions at once. Your children, resilient as they may be, might also be feeling the anxiety of saying goodbye to their friends, teachers, and familiar classrooms in exchange for a brand new learning environment.
First, I would like to reassure you that you are not alone. Whether you are just learning how to homeschool or have been homeschooling for years, know that it’s natural to feel uncertain and anxious in our current climate.
The good news is that there are some simple ways to manage stress and combat the anxiety that comes with trying to manage your own career and obligations while ensuring that your children receive a consistent, high-quality education at home.
Here are a few tips for handling stress during the school day and making the most of your homeschooling experience.
We all want our children to have the best education possible. We also place high standards on ourselves as parents to ensure that they have every opportunity to succeed in school. Given that many parents are balancing so many responsibilities at once while trying to navigate safely through a global pandemic, it’s time to cut ourselves some slack.
Your school schedule may not be ideal. The learning environment may be chaotic at times. Know that it’s okay if reality doesn’t match the homeschooling scenario you’ve pictured. Your kids will learn better and feel less stressed if you remain calm, flexible and receptive to change.
I think it’s safe to say that we all have a little bit more nervous energy right now than we usually do. It’s no different for your children. It’s natural for school-age children to want to move and fidget. Some students may even retain information more easily if they have an outlet for their physical energy so that it doesn’t overtake their mental energy.
Allow your children to change seats or rooms throughout the day. Let them move to the floor or outside on the patio while they learn. Take a walk while you practice spelling words or review for a test. Experiment with different cushions, chairs, mats, or even exercise balls for seating options.
As a rule, most children find it challenging to sit still and concentrate after about twenty minutes. You are the owner and creator of your homeschool environment and are free to think outside the confines of a desk and chair. Enable your children to learn how to relieve stress by giving them the freedom to move and learn in a way that suits their unique needs and supports their mental and physical development.
Along with flexibility in their learning environment, children benefit from a wide range of educational experiences. Don’t forget to take breaks from traditional learning to enrich your homeschooling experience in other ways.
Nature is one of the best remedies for anxiety and stress. A well-timed walk on a bright, sunny day may be just the thing you and your kids need to hit the reset button and return to your books refreshed, relaxed, and clear-headed
More than a great test grade or a perfectly executed science project, we all want our children to be happy and feel safe. We also want to manage our own stress and anxiety in healthy ways so that we can best support our children’s needs.
With that in mind, be mindful of signs of stress or anxiety in your children. Keep open lines of communication and encourage your children to have honest conversations with you. Likewise, know your own limits. Remember, we’re all navigating wild, uncharted waters as we guide our children (and ourselves) through one of the most challenging years in modern history. Be patient with yourself when you make mistakes and ask for help when you need it.