Windsor parents offer tips for homeschooling your children while schools are closed

Now that students will be off from school for at least the next two weeks, parents in Windsor who've been homeschooling their children for years are offering their advice to parents who want to teach their kids at home.

Their main message is to have fun with it.

Lourdes Daly has been homeschooling her children for three years and understands how difficult it can be.

She advises parents to customize the curriculum and make learning as enjoyable as possible.

"Try different things with different kids," she said. "Some kids really love online learning. Some other kids want hands-on, so it depends on the kid."

Avoid trying to replicate the classroom environment

Amy Houson, who's been homeschooling her kids for nine years, echoes the same sentiment.

"Keep it lighthearted. Don't be serious. Don't necessarily transition the role into a formal teacher. Don't set up a classroom with a Canadian flag on the wall and sing 'O Canada' first thing in the morning. Just live life and have fun."

Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press

Both women said there are a plethora of resources available online.

"There's online virtual tours of different countries. Dream about where you would like to travel to someday and have your kids help you find those places on a map," Houson said.

"It's about learning how to learn with everything you do in your daily life. So if a child is looking at you and you're washing your hands, ask them 'why do you think the hot water is on one side and the cold water's on the other?' And then find an answer for that with them."

The Greater Essex County District School Board also shared some links to some resources on their website.

Houson said it's important for parents to "stay cool, calm and collected."

"If you start being anxious and tight, your children will absorb that from you and you definitely don't want to do that with your kids," she said.

Learning new skills

Daly said children from grades one to five should spend one to two hours on schoolwork, kids in grades five and up should spend three to four hours and high schoolers should spend at least four hours. Houson adds that children should spend about twenty minutes reading per grade level.

Both parents say this time at home is a great opportunity for kids to learn non-academic skills, including cooking and cleaning.

They also stressed the importance of family's health and well-being which they say takes precedence over schoolwork. 

"School is important, but right now, our state of mind is more important than trying to get through the school year," Daly said, adding that parents should take necessary breaks both for themselves and their kids.