Taking Charge of your Child's Education: From Home

In recent months, more and more of us have had to dip our toe into the complex and complicated world of homeschooling. Now, more than ever, many of us who have taken for granted our public school teachers, college professors and daycare workers, truly understand and appreciate the hard work these professionals have invested in our children. For those of us who were already homeschooling our children, we’re heartened to know that now people truly understand the work and labor involved with educating children of all ages, abilities and talents.

If there’s any silver lining to practicing social-distancing, it’s that more of us have been given the gift of time with the children in our lives, and are able to have a direct hand in their education. For many of us, we’ve never been so hands-on when it came to our children’s daily lessons or homework. This experience is as rewarding as it is difficult.

If you’re still getting into the swing of things when it comes to your child’s remote learning - either because you’re getting used to requirements set forth by social distancing, or if you’re just new to the homeschooling thing and plan to keep doing it permanently - you may be wondering if there are any easy tricks or tips to help ease you and your child into this new situation. Luckily, there are. With educational technology ever on the rise, there are quite a few programs, platforms, apps and resources out there for parents who want to do remote learning at home.

Whether you’re teaching a young child, helping a high schooler with homework, have a college-aged kid staying with you temporarily, or you’re going back to school yourself, there are simple ways to make remote learning easier for you. Here’s how to go about it:

Getting Set Up Remotely

Before turning on the computer and starting that first lesson, the first thing you want to do is make sure you have an adequate setup for remote learning. Now, this means more than just having a working laptop and some spare paper and a pencil. Most public school days last 7 hours or more; your child is going to be sitting doing work for a while, and you need to make sure they have a clean, efficient, working setup that makes learning as simple and easy as possible.

This means making sure you have a fast internet connection, so they can easily segue between sites; a good working mobile/smartphone where they can utilize apps, video conferences and more with their teachers; as well as setting up extra tech accessories such as webcams, smart devices (many schools provide students with Kindles, laptops or other devices), monitors, wireless mouses and more. You also want to be sure, before allowing your child to surf the web, that your security protocols are in place and that you have parental controls enabled and anti-virus software adequately installed.

If all this sounds daunting, don’t fret. You can hire a professional to take care of the remote learning set-up and have everything done for you, easy-peasy. Having a pro take care of your remote school setup ensures that everything is done according to school regulations, that your software and internet are all running quickly and efficiently, and that everything will be in correct working order before your child never sits down for their first lesson. You have enough to worry about, becoming your child’s teacher as well as their parent. Let a pro handle the setup. It’s worth the money to make sure that your child’s education goes as smoothly as possible in times of uncertainty.

Organizing the Day, Classes and More

Children benefit with a routine, especially children who have learning disabilities, anxiety or are on the spectrum. You can easily outline a daily routine for you and your child to follow that allows for frequent breaks, “open” learning time (for reading or research), that allows for in-home distractions such as lunch or taking the dog for a walk.

Speak with your child’s teacher and regularly check online portals and documents they send to make sure that you’re not forgetting any assignments and carefully schedule lessons and work time each week to ensure that your child is able to get everything done in a timely manner. Having these written down in a date book or in a spreadsheet or online document can help you, your child and the teacher keep up with the schedule so you can all stay in sync. Being able to say the daily/weekly schedule laid out in easy language with assignments listed will help your child stay on track and feel less overwhelmed, too.

Be Available, but Don’t Do the Work for Them

A big mistake a lot of new-to-homeschooling parents make is that they tend to hover over the child during assignments and end up doing a lot of the work for them. Of course any enterprising and clever child will take full advantage of this. But the problem is, if you’re doing the bulk of the work, the child isn’t learning much.

Adopt the policy of being nearby and available, but not doing the work. Have a hands-off policy when it comes to assignments. If there are lessons that need to be taught beforehand, obviously you’ll assist with those, but when the time comes to work tell your child that you’re here to help if they get stuck, but doing the work is up to them and them alone.

Also, refrain from re-teaching or trying to adjust lessons that your child has already learned. As education and technology change, so too do methods of teaching. The way you were taught multiplication is likely very different than how your child has learned it. If you try to “do-over” lessons and teach them “your way”, you’re only likely to confuse the child. Resist the temptation to overcorrect and let them use the methods they’ve learned to complete their work. When in doubt, consult the teacher for guidance.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Just as your teacher gives your child a little leeway from time to time, so should you. There will be days when your kid is tired, or overwhelmed, or simply can’t grasp a concept or complete their work. Be compassionate and understand that children are feeling stress and uncertainty the same as we are. All of this is new and strange, they are missing their routine, their teachers and their friends. Don’t sweat it: just let them have the odd “off” day. As long as they make up their work later and are generally keeping up with their tasks, giving them a break from time to time is a good thing. Likely your child’s teacher will agree.

Free Learning/Learning Outside of “School”

Now is a great time for enrichment and learning that has nothing to do with school. At-home learning, if you will, which is a lost art that many of recent generations have let fall by the wayside.

How do you get an education at home? Simple! Teach your child skills such as how to bake bread or bake a batch of from-scratch cookies, how to make homemade salad dressings or homemade lemonade, how to do crafts such as learning to sew or knit. Get outside and give a lesson in basic gardening, or let your child pull up weeks or run the mower (if they are old enough and follow safety precautions). Even getting outside and identifying native plants or staying in, watching informative documentaries can be part of their at-home education. Look at every opportunity to fill the time with fun and learning.

It’s rare that most of us get time with our children to spend doing enriching and engaging things that fill the soul with joy. Why not bake some homemade biscuits or teach your child how to make candles? These activities are not only educational, but fun and come with an added reward at the end; the fruit of their labor. Not to mention, you’re making precious memories.

Homeschooling can be tricky at first; it takes some easing in, getting used to a schedule, learning to adapt your time and your brain to a new method of learning. It can be anxiety inducing for both the present and the child. But if you follow these easy steps/advice, you’ll get the hang of it much faster than you think.

The idea isn’t to be “perfect”, to get straight-A’s or replace the teacher entirely. The idea is to stick to a routine as best you can, ensure that your child is learning outside of school, and keep their brain engaged and developing. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your child’s teacher(s), friends who also homeschool, or even look online for resources, and remember, you understand on an intuitive level what’s best for your child. You’ve got this!


  1. I love these! Great tips to always remember!

  2. My sister is now in the world of homeschooling due to the virus. She says she now appreciates/respects teachers more than ever! It is a tough job!!

  3. I have always respected teachers, professors, etc. for their time, their patients, and their hard work! I don’t have children anymore, but when I did, I made sure that their learning space was quiet and separated from the rest of the family. I had a separate drawer for school supplies so they didn’t run out and lose their concentration. Now parents have to worry about the safety on the Internet. This article was pin worthy! Thank you for sharing!

  4. This is really great advice. Homeschooling is a big adjustment at first, but it is a wonderful experience!


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