A homeschool expert offers tips for parents who are DIYing school
SALT LAKE CITY— Anne Crossman was homeschooled as a child. She’s been homeschooling her children since 2006. Now, she’s the driving force behind HomeSchoolExpert.com, a service that helps parents with the struggles of homeschool.
Learning at home is more relevant than ever. Salt Lake City School District says that 3,000 fewer students are enrolled this year compared with last, which they think is related to COVID-19.
Crossman has four basic tips for those who now find themselves, suddenly, wearing a teacher’s hat. And she says the first isn’t to run out and buy a curriculum.
1: FIND FLEXIBILITY
Crossman says even for parents doing remote learning via a public school, they may not be managing the content, but they are still managing the classroom from home.
She says, “Parents need to know how to make a schedule. NOT a bell schedule. But a flexible time structure that helps them see the goals for the day clearly and communicate that to their students.” She says work through them at your pace when real life inevitably interrupts.
2: KIDS LEARN DIFFERENTLY
“Parents really need to understand their child’s ‘learning preferences.’ Curriculums can be designed to meet the needs of almost any student if we understand their strengths and weaknesses.”
Crossman notes some kids are visual learners, others learn better by listening. Some children need to get up and move… the ‘Kinesthetic Learners’ that understand through movement and touch. She says tailoring to your child’s specific way of learning will show dividends.
3: BE IN A POD
You’re not alone. Crossman says you should search out others in your neighborhood that are homeschooling and “lean on them.”
Crossman recommends finding these like-minded parents so you can encourage each other and share resources. Have playdates. “That community is so essential to making it through a stressful season like this.”
4: FINALLY, THE CURRICULUM
After the first 3 are checked off, then Crossman says you should get a curriculum. “Now the questions can be answered: Given my child’s learning needs, what sort of math should I be thinking about? Or, can I share my textbook with the community?”
Once the other 3 elements are in place, then parents can make better choices about the materials and methods for teaching.