The best 10 school work at home tips—from a homeschool mom to parents who are forced into remote learning during uncertain times or closing all schools due to emergencies (with school canceled for tomorrow and beyond). We’ll cover organizing school work at home, how to focus on school work at home and work on school assignments without losing your mind and even ways to make remote learning at home fun!
So, you find yourself stuck at home and doing schoolwork at home with your child for … whatever reason — a weather emergency, a virus quarantine, or something else.
Maybe the most you’ve done before is help your child with homework after he gets home.
You’re certainly not experienced in helping with remote learning and leading your child in emergency homeschooling, right?
As emergency situations arise, schools may close and you may find yourself homeschooling your child when you didn’t really want to and scramble for child care alternatives or finding ways to stay home and work and home school — all at the same time.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I get it.
School at home is something that many of us who homeschool prepared for and most of us weren’t thrown into it due to an emergency.
BUT, I HAVE GREAT NEWS!
We’re going to walk you through school from home and helping your kids with online classes, video conferencing, or remote learning for this temporary homeschooling period.
However, before we get to the school work at home tips, let’s cover some common school work at home questions:
How can I focus on school at home?
To focus on school at home, you need to get organized by gathering all your supplies in one area. Also, be sure to remove all the distractions like phones, television, tablets and more.
How can I make school work faster?
School work goes a lot faster when you are doing it from home because you don’t have to deal with an entire class of other students. Once you organize homework by scheduling online courses, creating a homework schedule, and keeping all your supplies handy, school work will go faster.
How can I motivate myself to do school work?
One of the biggest things about doing school work from home is the motivation. Because you are in charge of the study schedule, it’s easy to put things off or get distracted.
To get motivated to do school work:
- Create daily goals that must be met.
- Set small rewards for when those goals are met.
- Schedule small study blocks. (For example, work for 15-30 minutes and then break.)
- Allow breaks between study blocks.
- Change up your view (and move around the house if feeling stuck!).
- Set a cut-off time when homework must be completed each day.
- Create visible calendars or lists and cross off items that are completed.
- Work with study buddies to keep each other accountable.
How To Make a Homework Schedule
Homework tips for students stuck at home:
- Gather all your study materials in one central area.
- Gather supplies (pens, pencils, laptop, etc.) so you don’t use getting up to find things as an excuse.
- Compile or make a list of all of the assignments.
- Print off a blank calendar or a daily schedule. (We actually like this calendar to keep multiple kids or students organized.)
- Spend time documenting (on the calendar or schedule) assignments and when they are due.
- Remove distractions (turn off phones, TVs, tablets, etc.).
- Set a regular study time.
- Regularly take breaks. Get some fresh air if you can!
Onto the full school work from home tips!
Here’s how you can complete schoolwork from home without losing your mind — no matter if you’re schooling prekindergarten through 12th grade! Just adapt these tips for your learning level and school needs.
10 IMPORTANT TIPS FOR DOING SCHOOL WORK AT HOME DURING EMERGENCIES
School Work At Home Tip #1: Breathe.
Take a beat and allow everyone to just breathe.
An emergency that keeps everyone home is a shock to the system and the schedules (to say the least), so everyone is going to be in a high-stress state.
If you can, give a day or two of just downtime to adjust to what is happening.
Go lighter on the school work during the first day.
- Play board games.
- Read aloud as a family.
- Listen to podcasts or audiobooks.
- Play outside or take a nature hike (if the emergency situation allows for you to be outside) or do an outside (learning) scavenger hunt (print a free scavenger hunt here).
These are all ways that kids learn without even realize they’re learning!
School Work At Home Tip #2: Don’t try to recreate school at home.
Listen up because this realization may surprise you:
Your child is not going to need eight hours to school at home.
In fact, if you’re new to a home schooling method, you may be surprised to learn how fast school work will go when you’re completing the work at home with one (or just a few kids).
A teacher in a classroom has 20-30 students that he or she is juggling. That creates many distractions and diversions that take a lot longer to get things done.
It will not be this way with schoolwork at home.
You could feasibly finish up the work for the day in a couple of hours!
So, don’t try to stick to the same hours that your kid attends traditional school.
School Work At Home Tip #3: Look for guidance from your school.
Some schools have detailed plans to teach online and for requiring students to work with an online learning program.
But … other schools may not.
If you can, try to understand how your school develops plans for distance learning before an emergency situation.
Will it be video conferencing?
Will they have to access an elearning portal for classes?
How will you get messages from teachers?
How will they submit assignments (or will they be asked to hold their work until they are back in school)?
Students might just be encouraged to read books or work on homework that is assigned.
But, be prepared!
They also might pile on extra homework out of fear that students don’t learn at home!
If this happens and it seems overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask what a reasonable level of completion is for each student.
School Work At Home Tip #4: Set up a central school work area.
You have to get (semi) organized to make this run smoothly, so it’s time to convert your dining room, playroom or kitchen table into a learning area!
You don’t need an entire homeschool classroom, but it will help save time and sanity if you have a centralized learning area for your at-home learning (a school work area at home!).
Keeping supplies (pens, pencils, laptops, etc.), books, and homework assignments in one place will save so much time with the, “I don’t know where my pencil is!” or “Moooooom! Where’s my math homework????”
(And, as you probably already know, those are the things that grate on your last nerve.)
Grab a calendar calendar that you use for normal family stuff and convert it to the school work calendar.
Hang it in your new school work area so it is visible for everyone to help keep everyone on the same page.
Make it a rule that when they’re doing schoolwork, they need to be at your temporary “classroom” location. (They also need to leave all their books and supplies in that one location so they’re easy to find!)
This will also allow you to easily glance through their work each day to ensure they’re staying on track.
School Work At Home Tip #5: Create a (relaxed) school schedule.
Unless your kids need to be up and ready to log onto an online class or are video conferencing at a specific time, it’s OK to let your kids (and you!) sleep in a little if they want.
(It really helps in stressful situations. Trust me.)
Also, they really can learn in pajamas, so allow them to have comfortable pajama learning days if they want!
Remember, you’re not trying to recreate exactly what a school day looks like. You’re just trying to make sure you get the assigned work done.
If it’s easier to start at noon and finish at 2:00 p.m., then do that. If you have early birds who like to get started by 8:00 a.m. and are finished by 11:00 a.m., that’s OK, too!
Your kids aren’t going to develop “bad habits” in just a few days or a couple of weeks of sleeping in and doing school work in the afternoon.
It’s a special circumstance, so don’t be afraid to allow for special considerations in getting the work done. It will make all of your lives easier during this time.
School Work At Home Tip #6: Stagger the learning for different ages.
OK, this one is a biggie and I’m just going to give it to you straight:
Schooling multiple kids of different ages and stages is HARD.
It’s something that many homeschool parents (even those who have been homeschooling for years) struggle with regularly.
One of the best pieces of advice I can give to you for homeschooling different ages and stages is to stagger the schedule.
This means while you are getting the little ones breakfast in the morning, have the older kids get started on some independent study.
Spend some time reading and playing with the littles after breakfast. If the older kids need help on a topic, ask them to put that aside until after lunch.
Then, while the younger kids are napping or having quiet play time, help the older kids with any issues or questions.
You can also enlist the older kids to help with the studies for the younger ones. (And, reward the older ones with extra video game time or whatever for their help!)
DON’T FORGET: The goal is to get the work done without everyone losing their minds.
School Work At Home Tip #7: Realize that kids learn many different ways.
Just because classes have moved online from your home, it doesn’t mean that you can’t implement some other (fun) ways of learning.
Even though it’s required, not all kids are going to love e-learning online or video conferences or just straight worksheet homework.
Try to mix it up for them!
This is where you need to think outside of the box in order to save your sanity (and keep your kids from killing each other).
- Cover PE class by playing outside, climbing on equipment at the part, and doing things like kicking the soccer ball around. Stuck inside? Let them build an indoor obstacle course for some extra exercise. (And, be patient when things are a mess. It’s OK!)
- Assign self-paced learning games for homework. (Try: PBS and NatGeo for Kids.)
- Use documentaries for history and social studies. (Try: PBS, History Channel, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. We REALLY loved The Food That Built America on the History Channel. It’s super interesting and covered a ton of history!)
- Use family podcasts to teach a variety of topics. (Try: Wow In The World.) Use audiobooks as well.
- Try painting and arts and crafts! Not only are they relaxing, but they hone skills used for a variety of learning. (I like to keep all-in-one art/craft sets like this on hand.)
- Play board games to practice a variety of skills (math, reading, critical thinking, team building, patience, sharing, and more!).
- Bake or make some fun recipes (and cover subjects like math, reading, and nutrition and skills like critical thinking).
School Work At Home Tip #8: Allow for free time and play.
Spend the free time at home studying and playing. It doesn’t have to be all school work all the time.
Allow for lots of free play and alone time, too.
In fact, I would have an “everyone to their own room for quiet time” part of the day.
It allows everyone to decompress, gives you (and them!) a break, and even may reset some crabby moods.
(I use this in our own homeschooling.)
Not only that, allowing your kids to get bored is actually a good thing. (For real. Read about the benefits of boredom.)
School Work At Home Tip #9: Remember: Your kids are stressed, too.
Depending on how traumatic the emergency situation, your kids may be in an extremely stressed state. Be prepared for questions and tears and maybe even acting out.
Create a calm environment where your kids feel safe (even if you’re panicking inside!).
Turn off the news or streaming social media that is constantly talking about the emergency.
Cook some favorite comfort foods.
Use fun distractions like busy bags (make them with things you already have around your house!).
Let them Facetime or message their friends.
Allow them to zone out with video games sometimes.
Have a buddy study day where you allow each kid to invite a friend over from their class to complete assignments together (and then have free time after!).
School Work At Home Tip #10: Let it go.
Remember that this is a unique, temporary situation for your school and the students.
There are going to be some hiccups and teachers will be forced to be more understanding than usual.
If some of the work feels too overwhelming and your kids seem to not be adjusting well, allow them to skip it for the time being. You can discuss it with the teacher later and make up any assignments that are absolutely required.
Remember, in emergency situations where students are forced to work at home, many schools will add a lot of “extra” because they think this is what students need when they are home. Not completing all of it may be “forgiven” when they get back to school, so don’t be afraid to reach out to the teacher for some counseling.
Curious and want to learn more about homeschooling? START HERE:
Weather issues, an emergency, natural disasters, or an outbreak may force school closure.
Be prepared at any time!