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Keys to Successful Schooling At Home, Key #5: Lines, Cues, and Curtain Calls

Actors in any play have to know their lines (what they’re supposed to say) and cues (when to speak and enter, what to do, and where to be). Since you, the director, will already be familiar with the “script”, it will be your job to direct your little actors as they rehearse the action: When will they stand and stretch? When will they be able to speak or ask questions? What if I accidentally hit the wrong key and I "lose" the teacher?

I’d recommend a “blocking” rehearsal a day or two before the first official day of school; "blocking" is when the director shows the actors in a play the general positions, entrances, exits, and other physical movements of a play. Help your child become familiar with the computer or tablet they'll use, understand how to transition from one activity to another, be familiar with all of the materials they'll be using, and so on.

Check every day to see if the teacher has made any changes to the script; adjust props, wardrobe, and the student’s outline of the day as needed.

The night before school begins, have a “dress rehearsal”, where the kids go through the whole procedure from beginning to end from memory—if there are big gaps in what they remember, do another quick run-through. Show them how to check their simplified schedule when they aren't sure of something, before they come to you for help.

Seem like a lot of unnecessary work? Well, not if you consider the payoff, which is that both you and your student(s) will be absolutely clear on how this will go, which in turn will mean everybody can relax, focus, and do their best work.

At the end of every play, the actors come out for a curtain call. While I don’t recommend cheering and throwing flowers at the end of every school day, I do recommend that you be there when your child is finished, ready to listen as they tell you how things went, just as you would if you were in the pick-up line at school. Take a few minutes to sit down at the table with an after-school snack.

If there is homework, don't require it to be done immediately. Instead, give your kids a break for play before they return to finish their work. While you’re at it, enjoy this moment yourself! As I mentioned in Key #1, you didn’t sign up for this, you probably weren’t trained as a teacher, and there are multiple ways you could see this as being unfair.

Instead, you have

· Chosen to discipline yourself in a different and new way!

· Decided to be positive and not focus on the way things “should” be!

· Gotten up and ready earlier than you’ve ever had to before!

· Managed all the moving parts of a situation that could have been completely chaotic!

Most important of all, you are making sure that your children are continuing to learn, and your home is continuing to function as a source of order and peace for your family!

Well done, you! Raise a glass of something special, and say “Cheers!”

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