Home Schooling Tips

Image: Mom and two young daughters being homeschooled

A former schoolteacher who now works at Shelter offered some home schooling tips you might find helpful during a crisis like COVID-19. 

Break it Down
Students learn best in twenty minute increments, and they are more successful if you can show them how the things they are learning fit into the real world on a daily basis. It helps them take ownership of their education. Try these tips:


  • Most people, including adults, enjoy being read to.
  • For struggling readers encourage them to read anything they are interested in.
  • Have them read to their siblings if the siblings are too young to read.
  • Parent - read the same book they are reading.
  • If they do not enjoy reading, break it into small sections.  This will help keep them focused and help reduce frustration.
  • Have them draw a representation of what they have read.


  • Give them the opportunity to free write (ten minutes about what they are interested in).
  • Give them a writing prompt or story starter.


  • Try using Legos to describe fractions using one full block as a whole, the 4-knob Lego to represent a half, and the 2-knob Lego to represent a fourth. You can do the same with a pizza cut into eight pieces. (Instead of using a real pizza, you can use a paper plate and let them draw their own pizza then cut it into half, fourths, eighths, etc.).
  • Cooking and following recipes will teach measurement, reading and following instructions, and you end up with a delicious treat as a reward. (Cut a recipe in half for more advanced math with regard to fractions.)
  • Give students a grocery ad and have them make a list, then add up the amount of money it will take to purchase the items on their list.
  • To teach about percentages, have them shop items online and figure the end price of each item after a percentage sale.
  • Have kids recite multiplication tables while jumping rope to incorporate physical activity with learning.


Since you are at home, you can get creative with teaching spelling words. Spelling words can be written in sand, pudding, colors, in chalk on the sidewalk and in the air.

Alphabet and numbers:

Have them use yarn to make their letters and numbers.

Location Matters:

Not everyone learns the same way. Sitting at a desk and concentrating isn’t always the best way for some students. Try using a clip board and let them sit on the floor, outside or anywhere they choose that is reasonable.

Turn the Tables:

Let them teach you! Ask them to explain what they have done, but in a casual manner. Say something like, “I’m not sure how you did that can you show me so I can learn?”

Other Suggestions:

  • If you have been given a packet to review, try reviewing it one sheet at a time rather than the whole packet.  Then take a five minute break.
  • If you have older students, have them do five math problems at a time.
  • For core subjects like science, social studies and writing, try reading a few pages then have them write down important facts (three to five things they read).  Repeat until the assignment is done.

Keep your head up and think about how you learn best. Trust your intuition, and don’t be afraid to ask your kids how they can do their best work.  Learning can be fun for all of you, even during challenging times so have fun!



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