6 Ways to Effective Pandemic Induced Homeschooling

In my last article I spoke about how the Pandemic induced homeschooling is a bit scary in terms of children missing out on much needed skills and how important it is to understand the process of teaching a skill or a concept to a preschooler. Here are 8 ways to do the process right.

  1. Take up an online ECCE course or Research about bench marks.

Before you start the homeschooling make sure you have enrolled yourself into a course or have researched enough about the skills and bench marks that the child has to achieve at a particular age, e.g children till 4 years should only be working on pre writing skills like scribbling, coloring, painting etc rather than start tracing letters/numbers or writing letters/numbers. Along with this also research about how to approach a concept or a skills. e.g children learn best through observation and hands on activities, so give them a lot of free play as well as material to learn from.

2. Create a Homeschooling space.

Creating a designated space for learning is very important, it helps children to understand that when we come to this space we do learn something new and do lot of activities. Personalize the space by adding child’s name or can ask child to name the space as per their choice this will give them a feeling of ownership and it will also help you to encourage them to keep the space clean and clutter free. When you start make sure for the 1st few weeks you add a lot of exciting activities in the learning corner so that children look forward to spending time there, Ideal id start with free play with lots of materials and then move to structured play and then to academics.

3. Set Specific homeschooling goals

It is very necessary to understand and set short term achievable goals so that neither you or your child is overwhelmed with all the activities that you will be doing. Preschoolers attention span is very less so make sure the activities that you plan are not very long ideally you should wind up individual activities within 5 minutes and a set class within 20 minutes. Children cannot focus more than this so if you want to do more then take a 15 minutes break and conduct one more class for 20 minutes.

4. Create a Schedule

Creating a visual schedule for young learners is very important. You can also create visual schedules for the whole day. A lot of time parents complain that children are very cranky or are tagging along the parent and not playing on their own. Crankiness can also be due to not knowing what to do next, there are times when children have no clue about what’s coming up next if you put up a visual schedule then children will look forward to doing the activity coming up next, e.g if there is a family play time planned during the day and you have told the child that we are going to play this game today, the child will come and ask again and again when are we going to play because they do not understand the time yet, but if you have mentioned in the visual planner that the family play time is after dinner then the child will, look forward to dinner time as well as will be excited to wait for the family play time to start.

5. Invest in a curriculum or a child kit

If you are planning to start the homeschooling and are planning to do it only for one year then it is very necessary that you follow a set curriculum which includes all the skills, concepts and benchmarks that the child needs to achieve. Also look for a homeschooling program or kit that comes with Assessments and certification do not look for only activity kits as they will not have a progression and you will not know where the child stands in terms of skills and concepts. Go for a program that gives you monthly lesson plans, shows progression for the subjects and has interactive child kit with manipulatives, along with reading and writing material and not only text books and workbooks. Also look for live training sessions rather than recorded one’s.

6. Be Consistent

Homeschooling is not going to be easy it will need your consistent efforts and dedication. It is human nature that we start something with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm but somewhere it fizzles out, same might happen in homeschooling as it is a year long journey so being consistent in your efforts and instructions to the child as it is going to play a major role in having a successful homeschooling year.

Lastly, enjoy this homeschooling journey with your child and make sure you are doing it right.

Pandemic Induced Homeschooling

Yes!! It is true currently there is a whole new wave of Pandemic induced homeschooling especially for Preschoolers. Preschooling was never recognized by education department in India so the whole preschooling domain had worked very hard almost for more than a couple of decades to make parents understand the importance of early education and it was slowly gaining the much needed attention and importance. Then the pandemic hit the world and the preschooling domain bared the brunt of it by Parents deciding on homeschooling their children instead of online schooling mostly to save fees and also to reduce the screen time.

This is when it gets a bit scary as without any prior knowledge or any curriculum the parents jumped into being teachers for their children, this is still fine if it is well researched and well thought off program by parents.

Homeschooling is not simply about teaching your children at home without any structure, homeschooling is a mindset where parents of homeschoolers do a lot of research and also learn a lot of skills themselves to help their children with essential skills and content. So why this pandemic induced homeschooling is scary because the parents without any prior knowledge or structure are doing trial and error in teaching children.

Now it is very necessary to understand that in early years whatever is taught to children they carry it for life, the skills, the academic knowledge, the concepts that they learn at this age are basis of their learning for life. Learning is an easy process for children but unlearning is very difficult. So one has to be very mindful of what and how are you teaching the child.

I am part of many mommy groups and keep seeing posts by different mommies saying “My child is 1.5 and I have started teaching letters and numbers but he/she is not getting it”, another mommy says “My child is 3 years old but is not ready to write”. These questions and the age group are very important as an educationist when I see these questions I feel it’s important to make the parent understand the bench marks for each age group. Learning is development specific a child who is 1.5 is not ready for any academic learning at all at this age the child should be learning only through free and structured play (more through Free play than structured). At 3 years children don’t start writing there are pre writing skills that have to be covered first before you expect child to write.

There is a process through which children learn and it is very important for any facilitator to understand this process whether a teacher or a parent. Doing trial and error with children at this age is going to hamper the child’s Learning journey. When you force child to write before the age when he/she is supposed to as their fine motor skills are not developed then they will start hating the whole writing process and it will be very difficult to bring the child to a stage where he/she enjoys writing.

I am a true believer in homeschooling as a concept as it is much more personalized and completely worth trying it if you are really passionate about it.

This is the problem, for the solution stay tuned for my next article coming up on 15th May 2021.

My child does not like to study at all…. Part 1

Part 1 : The why of not liking studies…

How many of us have this question? Almost every parent is worried about children not interested in studies. To find the answer to this question and to dig deeper we first have to understand the Why? of this question. Why are children not motivated enough to study? or why are they not interested in studying?

The answer is with how as parent we approach studies and how the school or current education system approaches the studies. Almost all the time we force children and compel them to study and as human beings whenever we are compelled to do something our immediate reaction is to retaliate. All the more the whole education system is based on memorization capacity of children and not conceptual understanding or Application part of it. Where as, “Memorization is just the mere act of putting information in, but it does nothing to increase learning as you have no control as to what information remains in”.
If you ask a child any problem in math, the child will solve and tell you the answer but if you ask the child where will you apply this in your real life I am sure a lot time children or even teachers will not have that answer.
If you dig deep you will understand that whenever we see relevance in doing something we are motivated to do the task but if we do not see the relevance then however important the task might be we will aways delay it. 
So if we can answer this simple question and show children the relevance and application part of each and every concept that we teach them or they are learning then you will see that they will be motivated to learn more.


In Part 2 : How do I make my child study…. of this article I will explain in detail how to motivate children by showing them relevance.

Blossoming Child’s personality in 6 easy steps

“Children are not things to be moulded, but people to be unfolded”. 

-By Jess Lair.

According to Erikson, the task of preschoolers is to develop autonomy, or self‐direction, (ages 1–3), as well as initiative, or enterprise (ages 3–6). Personality includes those stable psychological characteristics that define each human being as unique. Keep in mind that characteristics you find challenging in your child’s early years may turn into positive qualities as he grows. Intense, feisty kids are often very passionate and creative, and are good at asserting themselves and making things happen.

Personality of the child starts developing as early as infant stage, the experiences and observations from this age start shaping a child’s personality. There are many facets to a child’s personality beginning with their own confidence, courage, and self-esteem to how they treat and respect others. So it is very necessary to set good examples and help them turn into very strong and empathetic individuals. Let’s look at some ways through which we can guide children.

Help shaping your Child’s Personality

It is very easy for a parent to turn on the lecturing mode and enforce do’s and don’ts on the children, but the best way to do is by setting examples. Keep in mind children do not learn from lectures they learn through observations a lot of times whatever you say they are not listening but they are observing and imbibing whatever you are doing. Therefore, the best way to give them a confident upbringing is to subtly push the agenda of positive personality traits, in small day to day actions. Here are some ways by which you can do it.

1. No Labelling

A very integral part of our personality is what we believe we are and what we can do, but when we label the children, we unwillingly define them. We provide definite limits that tell our children what we think of them, what we expect of them and who they are to be. When we call them naughty they start believing that is how they are supposed to be. Instead of labelling the children, label the action which says that there is scope for improvement and that’s how we build our experience by changing our actions.

2. Set Examples

Model the behavior that you want to see in your child. Lets imagine a situation where you receive a call from someone and you don’t want to answer it right now and ask your spouse to tell them you are not at home or are busy to come on call and the child is listening to this as he/she is playing in the same room, so the child gets the message saying its ok to lie sometimes. We don’t focus on these small points and that’s how unconsciously we feed negative behaviors traits in the children. As a parent we should always set positive examples of gratitude, truth, kindness, empathy and many more. Basically Practice what you Preach.

3. Praise the efforts not Results

“ Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 

By- Winston Churchill. 

It is very natural to feel underwhelmed for your child’s shortfalls but that doesn’t help in motivating the child to do better. What motivates the child is praising their efforts and telling them its ok to fail sometimes. Failure teaches us to be more courageous and confident. In today’s age of competitiveness it is very necessary to teach children how to over come failures, once children understand this at a young age then in any phase of life they will not face depression or self esteem problems, as they know that failure is not the end it is beginning of a new journey.

4. Abstain from Comparison

Everyone is unique and has different personality traits for a reason, imagine if you and your spouse have the same personality traits do you think your relationship will work at all, we are compatible because we have personality traits that complement each other. Same way if we start comparing children with someone else, then we are telling them to become someone else and this will affect their own confidence and self esteem negatively. It is always better to refrain from comparison and focus on what the child is best at, and help them grow into their own unique being.

5. Let them Play

Just think how did you develop leadership skills, team management, confidence, courage, negotiation skills, I am sure you will find the answer in your childhood and only through play. That gully cricket, playing doll house or playing games like dog and the bone, marbles or even hop scotch taught you so many skills. We learnt all the skills that are necessary for an effective personality in our childhood through play only. Sadly in today’s time children are left with very less time for free play in midst of running from school to classes. It is very necessary that children spend most of their time in the day playing with their friends outdoors. There are no replacement classes for a Free Play time – Period.

6. Stop Spoon Feeding 

Children are very much capable of doing things on their own. I have seen children coming in for counseling with eating problems, eye hand coordination, unwillingness to do things, a lot of time the problems crop up from the over parenting where children are handed things even before they ask for, this leads to them being dependent on us as well as stop thinking for themselves as they know it will be taken care of. Independence is a very important part of our personality. The ultimate goal of parenting is to have an independent child who can fetch for him/herself. This independence has to be imbibed in the child’s personality from a very early age and it starts with asking for water or food when thirsty or hungry and progresses towards taking independent decisions in life. We as a parent its our responsibility to give responsibilities to children and let them fulfill on their own with minimal or no help.

Personality of a child is developed through positive inputs and motivation from parents. I have a simple rule if we start behaving with children as we want others to behave with us or start thinking of children as someone whom you do not have to teach everything but look at them as an individual, then a lot of problems will get sorted and your child will learn from you and grow into an independent, confident, kind and empathetic human being.

By,

Komal Desai

Counsellor and Educationist

The Art of Storytelling

Story telling is an art, and every parent is blessed with this art. Story time creates a special bond between you and your child.

Three magical words once upon a time… have the super power to transfer you to another reality. We all don’t just remember, infact miss the days when our grandmother would tell us stories and we would be curdled up near her listening in awe to every word she speaks.

Inspiring tales can swerve a child towards values that can become principles for life. It very important what stories you tell your child and how you narrate them. Stories are not just bedtime entertainment that can help impart great morals to children, telling stories forms a strong bond between parents and children, that is cherished for a life time.

Stories play a major role in teaching children emotions as well as they help in cognitive development of the child.

Your child will always remember the story of “Hare and the Tortoise,” but may forget the 1st T.V show he watched, remember telling story is better than giving an extra hour on computer or T.V.

There are ample of stories available if you just look around you can pick up anything and weave a story around it. For Example take up the autobiography of Dr Abdul Kalam and tell your child about him/her in a story form.

Here are few tips on how to narrate the stories.

  • Stories should be short (depending on the age of the child you can manipulate the length of the story e.g, big stories like Arabian nights, Mahabharata, Ramayana can be read in parts or opt for short stories, from Panchatantra and Jataka tales for child around the age till 4 or 5), Aesop’s Fables are animal stories and kids will love to listen to these stories about talking monkeys and weeping birds. The witty Akbar and Birbal tales are very exciting, dramatic and can make your child laugh at the smart morals.

  • Telling stories at bed time is the most special time. Nothing can replace the feeling when your child is lying cuddled in your arms hearing to every word you have to say, telling story at bed time can be a good habit and also a signal that it is a time to go to sleep.

  • Gift your child a story book instead of a toy. Write a message in every book you buy and date it, it will turn into a treasure for them once they grow up.

  • If you are reading a fairy tale to your child then use your voice to emote feelings for different characters, you can read or speak in a squeaky voice for squirrel and soft voice for a princess it will really amaze your child. Also highlight the positive aspects and downplay the negativities. For Example: avoid praising Cinderella’s beauty but praise her hard working nature and compassion for others.
  • You can also try changing the end of the fairy tales and ask your child to come up with quirky or funny or different ends. e.g. A child might say that the prince took Snow white to a hospital and doctor removed the poison so she woke up.
  • To create further more interest in your story, make your child the actor of the story, send him / her across magical lands, highlight  his / her personality, her/ his likes and dislikes and how at the end hero overcomes the evil.

Listening to stories also help children in enhancing their memory,

a story narrated well is remembered well, imagine if our teacher’s would have taught every lesson like a story then we wouldn’t have struggled to mug up our history topics.

Don’t wait anymore just pick up a book and tell your child an amazing story that he / she will cherish forever.