How to apply social-emotional learning in homeschooling?
Homeschooling can be a wonderful way to help children learn and grow. It allows you to customize your child’s education and take advantage of the many benefits — such as having more one-on-one time and a private learning environment.
More parents are on board with this option due to bullying, school shootings, and the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, homeschooling rates remained steady at around 3.3% before the pandemic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2020, 58% of respondents listed homeschooling as the top reason public school enrollment declined.
However, parents have concerns about their children’s social and emotional well-being due to school closures and isolation from friends.
One way to support kids during this time of need is by implementing social-emotional learning (SEL) into homeschooling practices. Doing so will allow children to learn the vital social-emotional skills needed to flourish in the world.
What is social-emotional learning?
Social-emotional learning is an umbrella term that describes various practices that help students develop positive social skills and emotional management.
Social-emotional learning teaches kids how to manage emotions and relationships and promotes positive character traits like empathy and responsibility. It also helps students develop self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills, responsible decision-making, and good character.
The importance of SEL in homeschooling
SEL is an integral part of a child’s development. It helps them develop the ability to manage their emotions, interact with others and practice empathy. It also allows children to learn how to manage their behavior.
The skills homeschooled children learn from SEL are vital because they lack the same structure traditional schools provide for their students.
SEL in homeschool teachings will teach your child to:
- Manage their behaviors better
- Be more compassionate and get along with other children more easily
- Think about others’ feelings before acting
- Develop strong relationships
These skills are crucial for children to have in life and benefit them in their academic studies, allowing them to achieve more. Therefore, your child must have access to this type of learning in their homeschooled environment.
How to implement SEL into homeschool teaching
Here’s how you can ensure your homeschooled child gets the social-emotional learning they need.
Establish SEL goals
You have the unique opportunity to shape the social-emotional learning of your children. Therefore, you should set an SEL goal for each child before starting. Defining what you want your children to achieve is important, as it will set a path toward success.
Once you have a specific SEL goal in mind, break it down into smaller steps your child can reach independently. For example, if your objective is for them to know when someone is trying to be nice, then you might break it down into three steps such as:
- Looking at their face
- Noticing how they’re using their voice
- Understanding what they mean by the words they use
You must ensure your child understands each step before moving forward.
Talk about emotions that may arise during challenges
Your child will face many challenges as they grow and learn more about the world around them. Families need to have regular conversations about how they feel when they face difficult situations or make mistakes.
Doing so will help them understand what’s happening inside them — giving them the ability to cope with the situation better.
For example, if your child is struggling with something in their schedule, you can help them with this by asking questions like, “do you feel angry?” or “do you feel sad?” Then you can allow them to explain why they feel this way.
This gives them a chance to reflect on their feelings and gain clarity so they can move forward more confidently instead of acting impulsively.
Create a feelings curriculum
Help your child learn to manage their emotions by creating a feelings curriculum. This is a set of activities you can teach them to identify, label, and express their feelings. The key here is to develop self-awareness by checking in on their emotions so they can pick up the habit of reflection.
There are several ways you can create a feelings curriculum for your child:
- Do a daily feelings check-in and ask how they’re feeling. This is a great way to start the morning and set the tone for the day.
- Listen to their responses and ask follow-up questions. This will give you more information about what happened and how they feel so you can help them through the situation.
- Give them opportunities to practice identifying different emotions in themselves and others. For example, look at pictures together and discuss how people might feel in each situation.
Model positive social and emotional skills
Social-emotional learning involves a set of skills children must learn to succeed in class, at home, and in relationships. These skills include:
- Social awareness
- Relationship skills
Parents should model the behaviors they want their children to learn. Kids often pick up on how their parents treat others, so you must model respect and kindness in their interactions.
This means avoiding yelling or getting frustrated by taking a moment before reacting and deep breathing. It also means showing kindness and encouraging others so your children will know to do the same.
Integrate SEL to help your children succeed
As you can see, parents can easily apply social-emotional learning in homeschooling and help their children develop important life skills. Therefore, the more you practice these skills together, the more they become second nature to your kids so they can apply them in every aspect of their lives.