Homeschooling Tricks and Tips

During this unprecedented time many of us with school aged kids are having to learn how to be teachers on top of everything else going on. It just so happens that my Mom is a doctor of education with more than 3 decades of teaching and private tutoring under her belt. She has graciously offered to share some advice to help parents navigate these sometimes tricky waters. We will be out of this COVID19 crisis very soon. But some day down the line we may be in a similar situation again. The knowledge Dr. Theresa Stanley shares here will be good to have in your back pocket for years to come. Enjoy!

Video Dialogue

Tyler Stanley: Hey everybody. Today, I have a very, very special guest with me. This is my mom, Theresa Stanley, and she is a Doctor of Education. So many of you probably already know her. And she’s here to offer some advice for those of us who are homeschooling right now, and how to get through this time and maybe some tricks on how to navigate it. So mum, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself

Dr. Theresa Stanley: Well, I retired from public school teaching after 32 years. I also did a great deal of private tutoring through those years, and have experienced at elementary, middle and high school levels.

Tyler Stanley:  Because you retired from elementary teaching, how long did you teach elementary?

Dr. Theresa Stanley: I taught elementary for about the last 15 years of my careers. First 15 years was a higher level and then I moved to elementary.

Tyler Stanley:  Okay. And then you’ve done private tutoring for?

Dr. Theresa Stanley: I actually did some classes, private tutoring and classes with homeschool students. So that gave me a little bit edge when we started this.

Tyler Stanley: Yeah, because you’re homeschooling Waylon right now and how is that going?

Dr. Theresa Stanley: Well, it’s going well, the transition was difficult. These are young kids, he’s in the first grade. And transition was touchy, because they don’t really understand what’s going on. But right now, the school system has just been incredible with providing everything that we need, resources for all the kids in the county. And so we have everything in our fingertips, and that’s been big help. He’s also become more accustomed to the school day at home.

Tyler Stanley: That’s awesome. Yeah, he’s at St. Mary’s Elementary School. Right?

Dr. Theresa Stanley: That’s right.

Tyler Stanley: And, you know, we’re going through this whole thing right now, Lauren’s doing an awesome job with our kids. And same thing. We’re getting a lot of great resources from the school but a lot of it still falls on your shoulders to do this kind of stuff. So what advice do you have to offer parents who have never done this before? Or maybe it’s been a long time since they’ve done it?

Dr. Theresa Stanley: Well, the first thing that I’d say is that kids love to be in control of their world, we know that and sometimes that causes us some issues, you know, but in this case, it’s a good thing. Because if you will allow them to do some organizing, you know, at Waylon’s age, it’s mega reward chart, or let him help me make the list of what we’re going to do today. And they get really excited about that at all ages, but mostly in elementary school. 

And with middle and high school students, they can take that to another level, and they can create presentations for you about their plans and you know, what they’ve achieved and where they’re gonna go from there. And you may find that some hidden talents become exposed because they may have a lot of fun doing those sorts of things and taking control of their own education. And I found that it’s a good thing. And, like I said, it takes a little time, but when they have a vested interest in it, it’s a big help.

Tyler Stanley: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. And then what else outside of just the homeschooling with being at home with the kids, do you have any advice on that?

Dr. Theresa Stanley: Well, first of all, I think that in order to alleviate stress, to keep in mind, how important this time with family is, I mean, we have to remember that they’re going to have the memory of this year for their entire lives, and we want those [INAUDIBLE 03:44] most memories to be about family, and the time that they spend. We want them to remember that it was teamwork, and that we were sharing in their learning. And if they can carry that with them, then that’s going to be beneficial for all of us.

Tyler Stanley: Yeah, for sure. And I, you know, tell me if you agree with this, but I think, you know, the parents, well, I know this can be true, we also need to, to, you know, give ourselves a little bit of a break too, because there’s a lot that we’re going through, there is a lot of stress that a lot of us parents are going through.

Dr. Theresa Stanley: Right. It’s really important. As you mentioned, I think earlier in your work from home video, it’s important to implement that in homeschooling too. You know, there should be blocks of time that are set aside just for school, and it can always be but just as a plan, and then there need to be lots of time set aside for you. And kids need that space too. So if you have those blocks of time for everybody to kind of just take a breather and regroup. That’s really important.

Tyler Stanley: Gotcha. Tell me a little bit about Waylon’s reward chart. How does how does that work?

Dr. Theresa Stanley: Well, he created it he decided that … We have one big star. And that star fills up during the day with chalk on the chalkboard. And he patterned it after the accelerator reading program. It has a flower that fills up with their points as they go. So we fill this truck up as we complete parts the start up as we complete parts the assignments.

 We didn’t have to buy anything. We didn’t have to put, you know, buy a chart, and we do it on the chalkboard. And then when you complete the star for that day, we add it to the weekly calendar on Friday. If he has five stars, then he gets reward. So he loves it. He loves filling up a star. When he finishes an assignment, he says, can I color one more star now. So it’s worked out really well. That’s awesome. It was his idea.

Tyler Stanley: Was it?

Dr. Theresa Stanley: Yeah, it was his idea. So, I said, You know, I think you should be rewarded for your hard work and he said, Hmmm what can it be?

Tyler Stanley: That’s awesome. Well, that’s great. Um, is there anything else any like what last tip that you want to offer parents …

Dr. Theresa Stanley: I would like to say that it’s really important, really important for parents to communicate with the schools. Like you said, they give us resources, we are actually boots on the ground doing this at home. But schools are waiting to hear from you. So you and your teachers probably have office hours that they’ve implemented, so that there are certain times of the day when you can contact them. But please do that. Because everything’s available to you. And that’s going to be the biggest help.

Tyler Stanley: Gotcha. Okay, great. Well, thanks for joining us, and thanks for offering some advice. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Theresa Stanley: And keep in mind to relax, we’re gonna all get through this. And your kids are going to remember the time when mom and dad were part of school