Tips on teaching the kids at home from a Salmon Arm parent who's been there, done that - InfoNews

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Tips on teaching the kids at home from a Salmon Arm parent who's been there, done that

From left: Ethan, 8, Lauren, 10, and Izzy, 6, work on the day's lesson at the kitchen table.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Candice Munro
March 31, 2020 - 8:00 AM

"Give yourself some grace."

It's the recurring message homeschooling parent Candice Munro wants to give parents who woke-up Monday, March 30, faced with the daunting reality that they have to teach their kids at home.

"People tend to want to make this a perfect Pinterest experience and it's not going to be... it's not what it looks like on social media," Candice said. "Don't be too hard on yourself."

With four kids at home ranging from two years old to 10, Candice and her husband Nathan have always homeschooled their children.

Lessons start between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. and Candice teaches her three school-aged children at the kitchen table. The Salmon Arm resident strongly recommends parents get as much done in the morning as possible and wrap up in the early afternoon.

"Do the same subject for all three (children). We'll sit down and we'll all start on math together," she said. "Rather than all of us on a different subject, one subject for all kids, it's easier to keep them in the same mind space."

She started using this tactic this year and said it's far better than trying to teach three children three subjects at the same time. The strategy has also meant her daughter in Grade 4 will help her other daughter in Grade 1.

Homeschooling is also much like having a private tutor, what a person can learn in an hour one-to-one can be the equivalent of an entire day at school. Candice says school work may take only an hour or two for young children "if they're focused."

It's all about small rewards to help them focus.

"You can tell when they're distracted or not ready to focus... giving them breaks is really important," she said.

"It's not perfect, they certainly complain and can argue... but it's routine and they know when it's done they can play and have the rest of the day to themselves."

A common problem with homeschooling is that parents and their kids get behind, putting work off for another day. Candice said she purposely chose the Kleos Open Learning homeschooling program as it had clear weekly goals. Candice said if a child wants to just focus on one subject all day, let them complete a weeks worth of work that day.

Depending on the school district, parents across the province will be given different instructions but Candice recommends setting weekly goals and targets. Also remind yourself it's not the end of the world if things don't get done.

"Parenting is hard enough already... you're just trying to do your best."

Teaching involves everything from math and English, to art and physical education, and Candice says for parents scared they won't know stuff, it can always be looked up. She regularly learns new things and new ways of doing things.

While the couple's choice to homeschool came from a desire to have more flexibility and to travel while running their online business and they haven't been thrust into it by the current situation, they still had the same apprehensions when they started out homeschooling. Talking to people in the same boat and supporting each other is key, Candice said.

And while homeschooling isn't for everybody, Candice said its "super rewarding" watching your children learn.

And she reiterates again, "give yourself some grace."

Try not to be perfect, she said, "it's pretty impossible to be perfect with kids at home."

And one thing she had learned from homeschooling, she has a lot more appreciation for teachers than ever before.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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