Attempting to navigate the "new world" of homeschooling your children during the COVID 19 quarantine can certainly be a challenge. It's also easy to start this endeavor off with gusto, only to find that as life continues to go on, the challenges of adding in extra school work become nearly insurmountable.
Our advice is to concentrate on the following 3 areas as "proactive" strategies. With these basic concepts, you are going to reduce the likelihood of behavior problems developing, as well as ensuring that your kids are getting at least some school work done on a daily basis!
1. Follow a daily schedule. Set up a loose but predictable schedule or routine that you follow every single day. This will help your children to understand that there is a consistent expectation to complete school work, and will also help them to see what happens after they get the work done. If this is too much at this time, at least plan on starting the school day at the same time every single day!
2. Motivation. Think about your child's motivation to complete school work. Some of you may be very lucky to have a kid who is intrinsically motivated by completing their work, and so a little extra praise will go a long way for them. If your child doesn't necessarily fit into this category, use the "Premack Principal" of clearly stating what comes first (schoolwork) followed by something that is more motivating (IPad). While this sounds overly simple, this is a concept that is backed by research in the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) world!
3. Follow through. And to tie the above concepts all together, be sure to follow through. This does mean making and following a schedule every day. It does mean ensuring that your child is completely done with his schoolwork before getting the IPad. But just look at this from an ABA perspective- what behaviors are you reinforcing? If your child gets the IPad before he is completely finished, he is being reinforced for only partially finishing his work. And what happens the next ten times that you give him work? You guessed it! A huge battle over when he gets the IPad!
Hopefully these simple tips can help to reduce some of the overwhelming feelings that you are having as parents these days. You might even want to consider taking a huge step back from the massive amount of work that schools seem to be sending home these days, to re-establish some good habits with you and your kids. That way, you can have more success with a smaller amount of work, and build from there!