While Washington state students are out of school due to government requirements, many parents are left wondering how to juggle it all: kids at home, work at home, and family life at home.
Our headmaster, who has taught study skills for over 15 years, and our PK-grade 12 school principals have put together a list of their top 10 tips for success while schooling at home:
- Maintain a Routine – Establishing a daily pattern and expectation will help students get in the right mindset for work. We all benefit by clear expectations, and communicating a family plan helps everyone stay focused.
- Break things down – To avoid being overwhelmed, it’s helpful for students to develop a daily plan for how to accomplish their tasks. This is helpful for all ages.
- Get to bed at a similar time – Particularly for older students, this could turn into a time of staying up late as if we’re in a perpetual extended weekend. Getting to bed at a reasonable time establishes a healthy rhythm.
- Start work around the same time – We recommend starting work int he morning, and on a daily basis try to start around the same time. Again, the pattern is psychologically helpful.
- Take breaks – Rather than work for two straight hours, find time to grab a snack, take a walk, or play with the dog. A 15-minute break recharges the mind and allows for sharper thinking when work resumes.
- Get dressed – Research shows that clothing can impact attitude and state of mind. It’s not a bad idea to have students wear the school uniform, or at least portions of it. We recommend avoiding wearing pajamas in order to establish that this is a work time, not a lounge time. This is particularly helpful for younger kids.
- Establish a specific place for work time – Any place can work as a dedicated study area, but find a place conducive to focus and free from distractions.
- Consider Family Work Times – Very few people work well in a noisy or chaotic environment, and children work best when everyone else int he home is also industrious. Many parents are working from home, which helps promote this time of work productivity.
- Minimize screens – Screen and phone distractions can turn a one-hour assignment into two hours. The less distractions from screens, the better. White noise can increase attentiveness, particularly if you have little ones in the home that may prove distracting.
- Avoid procrastination – Follow the lessons outline by teachers according to the communicated plan. Particularly middle school and high school students are notorious for thinking they have so much free time that things can wait. As many of us have learned, procrastination is a dangerous habit and rarely ends well.