Homeschoolers offer tips to those learning remotely for first time

Posted at 5:38 AM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 17:52:06-04

CINCINNATI — Learning from home during the pandemic has presented new challenges to most parents and students, but parents who have been homeschooling for years have a few tips to offer.

Spark Homeschool Co-op board president Delayne Thornburg homeschools her 16-, 11- and 9-year-old children, as well as other children in her care. Because of that, she has a lot of experience teaching children at home, and she has a few pointers to help parents new to teaching from home.

First, Thornburg said to limit distractions.

"Keeping TVs off, keeping phones from ringing," Thornburg said. "That sort of thing is really important, especially if you're virtual schooling and you have a live class that they're attending."

Next, she said to give time for breaks and physical activity as at any other school. One way she said people can work this in is to give students a one-hour lunch break. It might take students between 10 and 15 minutes to eat, so the rest of the time can be used for playing outside or going for a walk.

If you have young children, like toddlers, at home, it can be beneficial to get them involved in learning also, Thornburg said.

"Drawing, blocks, anything that they can do quietly," she said.

Making sure that children are social and are connected to their peers is also important, according to Thornburg. That can mean starting a virtual book club for children who aren't comfortable yet coming to in-person classes.

Finally, Thornburg said that like anything else, there are going to be good and bad days, and that is normal.

"There are days when I'm going to lose my mind because nothing's working," Thornburg said. "[Then] there are days when you are, 'Everything is perfect and everybody's going along.'"