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A great read written by a well-respected educator.

I get questions about how many hours or minutes of homeschooling children should have while school is out.

First, don’t stress about school right now — especially if you are trying to work from home. Spend whatever time you can with your child engaged in quality activities such as nature walks, board games, singing songs, and reading to your child or listening to your child read to you. If your child is a reasonably proficient reader, you might like to encourage independent reading by using a reading tracker.

Whatever time you spend teaching and learning with your child must be positive time — you don’t want to end up annoyed and assigning “time out” or other punishments when your child does not pay attention or listen to you. No matter how hard you try — your kitchen table is not the same as a classroom and children do not view their parents or caregivers the way they view the teacher at school. Keep it short, sharp, and shiny. Make the experience positive and stop when you see signs that it is not working.

Routine is great — try to do the “school work” at the same time each day. Don’t make the sessions too long. Give lots of breaks. Don’t lose patience when you have to repeat yourself over and over — it’s what the teacher does. In the trade, it’s called “repetition for comprehension and emphasis” and it is a necessary part of the process.

If you can only do one thing — read, read, read. Libraries are closed but look around your house and find a chapter book that you loved as a child — Treasure Island, The Secret Garden, Charlotte’s Web, James and the Giant Peach, Old Yeller, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Harry Potter — if you go looking, you will find something suitable. Read with enthusiasm and stop regularly to talk about what you are reading — check for comprehension, asking questions about the setting, the characters, and the plot.

Remember, you are not just reading with your child, you are building the memory of what this period in his or her life was like. Years from now, when folks are recounting what Covid-19 was about, you want your child to be able to say that while it was a difficult time, the best part was spending time at home with family, and reading great books. READ. Start there. We can figure the rest out later. J. McMillan, A Book for Hallie

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