While schooling at home has a great number of benefits, every CVA family will face challenges along the way. That’s where your CVA teacher, academic advisor, enrollment advisor and support services staff can help. Available by phone, email, or online chat, CVA staff are available to help you with your educational questions and to offer practical advice, tips, and support for schooling at home.
Here are some of the most common challenges and some tips to help you through the rough patches.
Over-Scheduling – With flexible schedules, many CVA families find that it’s easy to get involved in a lot of activities. While it’s wonderful to make time to participate in these activities and form connections with other families, be sure to keep your priorities in check. Over-scheduling and over-commitment can make for tired children and burnt out parents.
Be sure to leave room in your schedule for academics and down time.
Parent vs. Teacher – One of the most common challenges for CVA families is the change in role from parent to teacher. While mom can be playful, cuddly, and fun; teacher mom needs to ensure the children are paying attention and following through with their schoolwork. This is a delicate balance that many families find challenging and behavior issues can be common.
One mom said she has a special “teacher’s hat” that she wears when she’s acting as the teacher. When she’s wearing the hat, her children know that she’s in “teacher mode” and it’s time to follow the schooling rules and expectations.
Be sure to set clear rules and expectations for learning time and follow through with behavior consequences.
Juggling – As a CVA parent, you will have many balls in the air at the same time. There will be days when you just can’t stand to see the dirt marks on the kitchen floor, you have nothing in the fridge for dinner, and the entire family is out of clean underwear. Most often, these realizations will happen when you’re in the middle of teaching a science or math lesson. Don’t let it get you down.
Many CVA families incorporate chores into their homeschooling day. Older children can vacuum, mop, and do laundry. Younger children can help sort laundry, feed and water pets, and help load the dishwasher. The entire family can help with meal planning, shopping, meal prep, and clean up.
Learn to delegate. Make chores and meal planning part of your homeschooling routine.
Younger Siblings – Many CVA families have babies and toddlers at home. This can present challenges when the younger children need care and attention while the parent is teaching a lesson or working with an older student. Many choose to schedule some of the more difficult subject areas during nap time. This can help ensure your older student receives individualized attention with their more challenging subjects.
Another helpful strategy is to create “busy boxes” and offer younger children educational activities to keep them entertained. Also be sure to involve the younger children in hands-on activities, craft projects, and science experiments (as age appropriate). It’s easy to modify some of the activities and allow your younger children to participate. You’ll be surprised at how much they learn! One mom said she was shocked when her 3 1/2 year old son started telling a relative about the process of Photosynthesis! While the child was playing, he was also absorbing a great deal of information from his older brother’s lessons.
Create educational activities to help entertain younger siblings and be sure to include them in hands-on activities for older students.
Dealing with Doubters – Unfortunately, many CVA parents face challenges with relatives, friends, and even strangers who are not supportive of schooling at home. Whether you’re dealing with grandma, Uncle Joe, or the cashier at the grocery store, be sure to keep your cool. Explain that you’ve made a decision to school your children at home because it’s what is best for them. Over time, many friends and family members will come to realize that the children are thriving in this environment and some will even become your best supporters!
Keep your confidence and don’t let the doubters get you down!
This article was first published by Calvert Education.