EL PASO, Texas -- American children are home-schooled as of this week. That means millions of parents, including many here in El Paso, are responsible for making this transition a success.
ABC-7 has spoken with successful home-school moms who have been at it for years, and are willing to share their advice.
Having a designated spot for learning is key. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it should have the basics: school books, paper, pencils and art supplies - even tissues and water. (No excuses here, those kids need to stay on task.)
Most home-schoolers we spoke with agree that a schedule is key. Some parents come up with this themselves, others let their kids make it for themselves. Either way, hold them accountable.
Here are some other tips:
- Remove distractions
- Set clear expectations
- Make a checklist
- Schedule breaks
- Help kids stay connected (This could mean having them write letters, or make phone calls with proper phone etiquette.)
- Monitor mental health (Talk with your kids. The current circumstances can be stressful, especially for teens.)
- Keep kids reading
Kendall Hernandez has been home-schooling for two years. It took some time for her to adapt to teaching her daughters with different techniques to fit their learning style. One of them is very independent, and works alone, while the other needs more individualized instruction.
"You just need to pay attention to their personality type and figure out works best for them," Hernandez says. "When we first started, I just took the lesson plans and fit them in with everyone and expected them to do the exact same thing."
Hernandez also recommends thinking beyond the book, taking classes outside the home, and working in social studies and science lessons in the great outdoors, or in the kitchen as a family. Most importantly? Enjoy your time together.
"It's limited and it won't be forever but I cherish the time we have. There are times we're all on each other's nerves, but we're together," Kendall says.
The following websites are offering free access to help parents during this period of school closure:
- https://www.abcmouse.com/redeem - Early learning academy for preschool through 2nd grade
- https://www.readingiq.com/redeem - For Reading IQ (for children in Preschool through 6th grade)
- https://www.adventureacademy.com/redeem/ - For Adventure Academy (children in 3-8th grade)
- https://www.khanacademy.org/ - Free worksheets and remote learning resource information for all ages