School and learning may look different this year for some.

We have teamed up with some incredibly special individuals, families and friends to gather tips and advice for successful learning and teaching at home. We hope these tips and perspectives help you navigate a new or evolving school experience.

Ellyn Burke on Staying Positive

Hi ELF Community! I’m Ellyn, the Graphic Designer at Enjoy Life Foods. We are currently living in a crazy season of life which has affected everyone in one way or another. One of those areas being impacted is our education sector. Throughout history there have been different ways to approach learning and teaching. Fortunately, we are in a time of diversity when it comes to our education. Some schools are having in-seat learning, others strictly online learning, or many a variation of the two. We are certainly getting a taste for all types of education including my favorite, homeschooling.

I am here to encourage those who are part of that last group, homeschoolers. This task can be daunting and maybe even feel a bit overwhelming. No worries! Everything will be OKAY. How do I know this? Well, I was homeschooled for 12 years, 1st grade through 12th grade. I even went on to get a college education, graduated in 4 years, and am currently working at my dream job! Know that what you are doing is a suitable and legitimate form of education. So, take a deep breath. You can do this, your student(s) can do this, and you can do it together and succeed.

1. Slow & Steady Wins the Race

One thing I loved about homeschooling was the fact that I could take my time to learn subjects according to my schedule. I was able to take a subject and study it in great lengths simply out of enjoyment for the topic. Or if there was a subject I struggled with, I was able to slow down and take the time needed to fully understand it. Having a pressure-free environment will help your student(s) succeed, process their thoughts, and teach them valuable lessons of perseverance.

2. Get excited!

I remember getting discouraged over subjects I didn’t understand or didn’t enjoy studying. It led to procrastination and a negative attitude. “School is dumb! Why do I have to do this?!” We’ve all been there. However, when I chose to stay calm and positive, it allowed me to get excited about what I could learn and know. It was like unlocking a key to my brain. I was able to retain information better, understand the projects, and overall, I was able to work more efficiently. So, remember to have fun together learning and encouraging your student to see the potential in each subject.

3. Pursue your passions

Pursuing my passions was something I loved about being homeschooled. I was able to create the time and space for it. Are you passionate about Zoology? Take as many Zoology classes as you can. Are you passionate about writing? Give yourself the time to write to your heart’s content. The homeschool environment allows you the freedom to pursue your passions because of the schedule flexibility. Being in a traditional classroom all day long + extracurricular activities + late night homework can be time consuming. With homeschooling you can take all the opportunities you want to thrive when you make a schedule based on your interests.

4. Lunchtime

My best advice for eating lunch at home is to make sure you have lots of healthy options. It is easy to walk to the pantry and grab those greasy potato chips. Having healthy options, like leafy greens, fresh fruit, and tasty fun snacks can make a difference. I have food allergies, so having snack options like Enjoy Life Cocoa Loco Chewy Bars made such a difference for me growing up. Another bit of advice is don’t eat too much...because even homeschoolers get tired after lunch and then you may need to take a nap on the couch! 😊

Deitra Baker on Modeling Healthy Choices

Hello! I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Pediatric Mental Health. I am a Parent Educator, ESL Teacher, mother of three, home educator, and founder of The Teaching Wife. I am married to my husband Kevin, who plays a major role in my ability to rock the many hats I wear. I have worked with children and families for over 14 years and during this time, have gained a lot of experience and insight into the impact of parents’ mental health on children as well as mental illness prevention for children and adolescents. I teach busy moms how to practically manage parenting and the mental health of their children. I am passionate about helping parents add new tools to their tool belt, sharpening the tools they already have, and helping them see the value of their role as an expert of their child’s life. I enjoy spending time with my family and doing things to strengthen my mind, body and spirit.

Snacking Tips:

Eating a well-balanced diet involves intentionality and planning. It’s important that you create a plan for your weekly snacking and keep quality, healthy snacks on hand. Fruits, vegetables, and snacks with quality ingredients. Take time on Saturday or Sunday to wash and cut up your fruits and veggies. Keep these snacks on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator for easy access. Enjoy Life Foods Seed & Fruit mix, Breakfast Ovals, Lentil Chips, and Chewy Bars are great to keep on the lowest shelf in the pantry. Mix any of these with grapes, celery, bananas, carrots, apples, and more, for a well-balanced, high nutrient diet. Having a plan helps to cut down on the mindless snacking. When parents and children eat snacks that are good for them, and drink water, they tend to require less frequent trips to the kitchen.Whether homeschooling or e-learning, many of us will experience times of increased stress and overwhelm. In these moments, we may be tempted to stress eat. Our children see us running to the pantry, and grabbing snacks throughout the day, and are tempted to do the same. As we model behaviors, let’s not forget to include a well-balanced diet. This includes quality, allergy friendly snacks the whole family can enjoy. With Enjoy Life Foods, we don’t have to compromise quality ingredients for the snacks we love. We can have the best of both worlds. Now we can model for our children and encourage them to snack responsibly.

When preparing for virtual learning, keep a nutritious snack close by to refuel the brain and satisfy your emotions. Starting the morning off with fruit and a Breakfast Oval helps children feel more alert and energetic.

Summary:

  1. Create a plan not only for meals, but snacks.
  2. Prepare your snacks in advance and make them easily accessible. When fruit and veggies are washed, cut, and placed at eye level, they are more likely to be eaten.
  3. Model responsible snacking. When parents eat nutritious snacks, children are more likely to do the same.
  4. Allow your children to have input into the healthy snacks they’d like to try and encourage them to help with preparation.
  5. Start the day with a balanced and light meal and keep a healthy snack close by when working throughout the day.
  6. Parents, don’t forget to feed yourself

Social Skills:

Teaching basic social skills can support parents in helping their children with making good choices in both their thinking and behavior. Not only is this helpful for teaching academic skills, but it is beneficial for teaching all life skills.

Studies show that when parents take the time to teach social skills to their kids, it increases feelings of success and instills a greater sense of hope.

Skills like following instructions, disagreeing appropriately, and making decisions are helpful with introducing new foods. When given the instruction to try something new, a child can learn to do so without arguing. The skill of making decisions encourages children to consider the options available to them, and to choose the best one. Making decisions also emphasizes the idea that when you make better food choices, typically you feel better too.

One thing that can be implemented in your home is a ‘Yucky’ Food List. A child is allowed to put three items on the list. Once on this list, your child is not required to eat any of those three items. If a food is not on the list, your child must at least try it. This list can change as the child’s palates and horizons broaden. Having a Yucky Food List not only encourages children to at least try new things, it adds to the meal-time conversation, allows children to have choices, and helps to avoid arguments at the table.

Teaching social skills not only enhances the experience of positive relationships but helps children to do academically. In general, when time is spent learning social skills, children are much more resilient as they face life’s inevitable challenges.

Kourtnie Scholz on Planning a New Routine

When Covid-19 hit this year, I was thrown into virtual schooling. It was a nightmare. I think it was for everyone. But it also was a God send. I learned we needed to homeschool. To catch up and really work on some special parts of our kids’ education that needed more love.

And what did I learn? I CAN do this. I AM doing it! We are in week 9 of school and it’s going so much better than I truly thought it would. We aren’t perfect, some days are frustrating for all. It was a hard choice. But it was the right choice.

We all NEED something stable we can count on while everything else is so in the air. Homeschooling gave us that.

We are an allergy friendly family of 5 living our best lives. We love to share about life! We are real, raw and lovers of vintage. From clothing, food, travel, decor and our 3 year plan to move into an old farmhouse, we love to share it all with our followers on Document Our Days.

There are a few major things that have been helping us this year.

First was to take all the work books and divide the papers up for the day. It helps so much mentally when you have only a handful of pages rather than a stack of workbooks. We spend one night every 36 days and file each day for the following 36 days of school. I love how it helps make our days go by more smoothly by just grabbing a folder and having everything in that or their pencil box each day.

We use kindle fires for their classes and as I’m working they do too. What I really love is the ability to grab that kindle, folder and pencil box and go somewhere else. Sometimes you just need to get outside, even if it is your front yard.

We have an area on the counter for snacks and a water bottle of the day. They can eat those snacks whenever they want, but those are the only snacks for the day. So, they are learning so many life lessons while also helping me not have to get up every few minutes to get out snacks and drinks.

I hope these tips help and know that you aren’t alone. We are all trying to figure out this year, even the seasoned homeschooling families are saying this year is different because they still can’t get out and do as much as they normally would. You CAN do this. Just take it each day at a time and know that each morning is a brand new day.

Dina Silvera on Making Learning Fun

Hi, My name is Dina Silvera and I have an 8-year son with food allergies. My husband and I decided to homeschool our son when he started the first grade. He is now attending third grade this fall. If you’re a parent now starting remote learning/homeschooling, it can be quite challenging. I’ve learned how I can manage my home life and teach my son while making it fun. Homeschooling could be so much fun. You don’t need it to look or feel like public school. Remember, it is totally ok to change things up. Time management is critical and taking breaks will help with any boredom that your child may feel while learning. Here’s a couple of tips I would love to share with you all.

Find out what sparks your child’s learning interest. Many kids learn differently than others. We like to incorporate in my son’s learning fun games and music to keep him energized and enjoying school work. This style we notice helps him to retain the information better. My husband and I also share in teaching our son’s curriculum. I teach math, reading, and music and he teaches science, history, health and nutrition, fitness and technology.

Change the environment. Instead of just staying indoors, we came up with what’s called “The traveling school” where although we are still homeschooling, we take a lot of his education on the road. We go on field trips to museums, to supermarkets to learn math, parks to learn about nature and science and back at home in the kitchen for health and nutrition by making his breakfast and lunch. These are just a few things we do for my son’s education. Exploring and learning make it fun.

I hope these couple of tips are helpful. With remote learning is the new normal remember to have fun. Your child will see you enjoying and smiling, what you do will ease any tension or stress, and you’ll realize how their homeschool will become a place where they’ll enjoy learning.

Dina and her husband Thomas are committed to protecting children.
Their foundation, The Elijah-Alavi Foundation, provides Asthma awareness, food allergy training and access to essential resources to schools and child care centers to ensure they have the proper asthma and allergy training.