Best Guide to Homeschool Your Kids
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Hong Kong Education Bureau announced on February 25 that classes of all school remained suspended until April 20 at earliest. Some parents might feel worried about how this suspension may impact their children’s educational progress. On the bright side, parents can see this as a great opportunity to bond with your children and to teach them with a more flexible and practical means. We understand it is not the best time for having kids wandering outside and attending playgroup classes or tutorial classes, therefore, we’ve prepared a short article about how to help your kids better spend the idle time during class suspension, and how your domestic helper can assist you with it.
Today, we will discuss how to educate kids at home (homeschool) effectively. We hope you will find some useful nuggets to use (or share!).
If you are a stay-home mom, you can try to apply Montessori principle at home to educate your kid.
What is Montessori education?
Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. It encourages children to explore their interests, to work on different tasks at their own pace, and to pick up some practical skills from daily life.
Follow these 4 principles to effectively apply Montessori teaching at home, they are:
1. Listen and Respect the children
One of the goals of applying Montessori principles is to empower the children to explore, to learn naturally and to solve problems. Therefore, you should listen and speak to the children patiently as you would an adult so that your children will feel confident and safe in sharing you about their feelings and expressing their opinions. You can learn more about it from checking out our article “How to Communicate Effectively with Your Children”.
2. Allow children to gain hands-on learning experience
Young children are very active learners. They pick up knowledge and skills rapidly and easily by observations in their daily life. Many children in Hong Kong are fairly dependent on their parents and domestic helpers. One of the reasons why is that they are lack of hands-on learning experience because they are usually excluded to get involved in the most daily tasks and their timetable is filled with extrinsic skills learning. However, this is a great time for the children to experience and to make discoveries by themselves, such as taking them to supermarkets to buy groceries, meal preparation (something easy and without using sharp knives), setting the table, cleaning the house, folding clothes, and organizing toys, etc.
3. Follow and guide the children
Speaking of assisting the kids to self-direct their interests, you can observe their behaviour and reactions in a respectful manner and an open mind. By doing so, you can understand why they would act in such ways. Sometimes, kids do not want to have mess things up, but they didn’t know how to express their disinterest in something, so they might act in a way parents consider they are being naughty or disobey. Instead of telling them off immediately (when they are not interested in what you prefer them to do), you should ask ourselves “why do they act this way?”,“what are they interested in right now?” and “how can I provide opportunities and support to follow this interest?” to think empathically.
4. Solve problems with children together
Most of the time, when we want to get our children to do something, we might habitually use extrinsic motivators, such as rewards, punishments, or even bribes (trade-off). However, it is not the best practice because the children might think they should only do or avoid doing certain things for a reason and they will never understand why they should do that when the motivators are absent. Therefore, you should focus on how to educate the children on why they should and should not do certain things, how to solve the problems, and how to make amends. It is important for parents to solve the problem with their children since it will give them a feeling of security that it is okay to make mistakes and they will have to confidence to learn from the lessons.
Apart from teaching kids with the Montessori approach, you can also consider preparing STEAM education material for your children.
What is STEAM education?
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. It aims to strengthen the foundation of these pillars by helping children to enhance their critical thinking, creative thinking, and problem-solving skills.
There are many STEAM or STEM institutions in Hong Kong. However, considering the coronavirus conditions at the moment, we have picked some alternatives to allow your kids to get access to STEAM education at home.
1. Science: Minute Physics
The videos answer big physics questions, such as “Why is the solar system flat?” with colourful illustrations and simple explanations, making them perfect to entertain and educate children.
2. Technology: Code.org
It is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools, women, and minorities. It provides interesting and fun curriculum and learning material to teach students from all range of age.
3. Engineering: Scrap Mechanic
This game is for children who love to build things! It allows players to build structures and machines from all sort of mechanic scrap parts, such as wheels, engines, and cars. It is also great for teaching mechanics, design, and physics concepts.
4. Art: Blokify
This app encourages children to use their creativity and design thinking to draw, design and create objects with 3D printing. This 3D modelling software enables them to create toys.
5. Maths: MathGameTime
It offers quality, educational, and interactive maths games. The free online game material curriculum is designed for students in Pre-K through 7th grade. They have a lot of mathetics related resources for children to explore.
If you have a domestic helper and she spends a decent amount of time with your kids alone, you might be interested in our previous article Have Your Domestic Helper Support Children Development, in which we discuss the effectiveness of having your helper teaching your kids about certain things.