Tips from a Catholic Homeschooling Mom

So, your kids are home from school for weeks, or possibly even months. You have assignments and lesson plans from their teachers, but you’ve never done this before. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the new responsibility of teaching your kids at home—while juggling work, other kids, and household responsibilities during a pandemic—you definitely aren’t alone.

Kym Allex, whose husband works at Relevant Radio®, is a homeschooling mom of seven kids who also works outside the home in parish ministry. As an expert in juggling family, work, and school, she has some advice for you to survive and thrive in the upcoming weeks. It will be a big adjustment, but you can get through this!

Here’s what she has to say:

What an awesome and intimidating responsibility to educate our children at home! As a homeschooling mama with 7 kiddos under 12, everyday is an adventure! Here’s some tips I’ve learned through the years of home educating and I pray they help you as well!

  1. Create a flexible schedule with mini-breaks. Plan out large chunks of time with extra small “break times” in between the lessons/activity, instead of an hour by hour schedule for your day. That way, if the activity or lesson bleeds into the next time slot, it’ll be ok since it’s a small break you’ll lose.
    girl does homeschooling work in hammock
  2. Inspired classroom spaces. Depending on your child, the dining table might not be the greatest learning space for your kiddo. It’s ok to be creative with where classwork gets done! Think outside the box. My little ones love making the table into learning forts made by comforters; grab the books and work on them under the belly of the table, it feels like a cave!  I have independent learners who love taking their math textbook to the bathtub filled with fluffy pillows and blankets—close the shower curtain and now it’s an oasis! How about your deck, or set up your camping tent, even a hammock can be a great reading nook!
  3. Pulling from resources. It is 100% okay to ask for help if you don’t understand what the lesson plan is. Reach out to the teachers, seek out online forums, or even call a friend to ask what it means!
  4. Let creativity flow! So, this depends on the school parameters, but again think outside the box! School “book reports” could allow you and your child to explore their creativity and show off their interests! Could it be a Lego creation depicting the book they read? Then he/she could share a verbal synopsis of the book and explain their creation! Maybe your kid loves to be an artist; they could create a work of art to explain their book report! Have a kiddo who struggles with reading and you need a break? Utilize the grandparents via phone calls, apps like Marco Polo, Skype or FaceTime to have your early reader share their reading progress with Grandma!
  5. Supplemental aids aka Internet. What an incredible world of opportunities that our kiddos can learn via the Internet! Finding great helping tools are everywhere: YouTube videos, or Pinterest, on mom blogs, or websites! Just remember, these tools can be a great help but those web-based supports shouldn’t substitute for the greatest teaching that your kids yearn for: YOU! Through the laughter, tears, bickering, or hugs, your child is excited that YOU are taking time to be fully present to them! Put down those phones, because this time will go by faster than you think!

Dad helps daughter with homeworkRead about screen-free activities for Catholic kids here.

Lindsey Kettner serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a wife, mother, and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she studied journalism and advertising. She writes daily at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.