Homeschooled before the Pandemic? (Tips from a Homeschooled Student)

When I started homeschooling

Back in 2019, when I started homeschooling through a program from Wolsey Hall international college in the UK, homeschooling in Hong Kong wasn’t illegal but was rather uncommon. It was also very unusual for other people in my community to see a homeschooled student attending college online. I didn’t mind the assumptions though, as I got to complete the courses at my own pace and I got to set my own timetable for the day. I even got to go out with my friends to volunteer and meet people all over the world  through virtual learning.

What my daily routine looks like today as a homeschooled student

My typical day would be getting up at 9 am in the morning and starting off with some exercises.I usually just dance around and stretch to some random songs, sometimes nursery rhymes too. Then I have breakfast and brush my teeth, and at 10 am I start school. I have lessons with lunch and breaks in between, and finish schooling at either 5 or 6 pm (depending how long it takes that day). I then start my revision and homework, after which I’m done for the day.

How to stay motivated when completing tasks or assignments:

Nowadays, with COVID-19 and school closures, it’s normal to see students having online lessons and my cousins have often complained that they don’t have enough time to finish long pages of essays for homework. There is a way around this – but definitely not a “genie in a bottle” solution. When trying to tackle huge amounts of work you could:

  1. Divide your work into smaller groups or areas. An analogy is imagining how trying to eat a whole pizza in one go may be hard as it wouldn’t fit in your mouth, but cutting it into slices to make it easier to eat. Similarly, tackling smaller chunks of work bit by bit would also be more manageable.
  2. When you finish a small task, such as starting the first paragraph of your essay, you could reward yourself with treats (I like to look at a page of memes to reward myself!)
  3. When revising or studying, you could try to use the Pomodoro technique – giving yourself a bit of time to rest after working a bit. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, for example, 25 minutes in length, with short breaks in between. This really helps me to stay motivated and can also reduce the chance of burnout.
  4. You could also label your tasks with numbers and flip a coin (or even a pen or a wheel chart) to see what piece of homework you’ll tackle first. This can help you finish your work faster by taking away opportunities for indecisiveness to creep in and keeping yourself accountable, making sure you finish everything even if it’s your least favorite subject. 

How to have fun during a pandemic

Nowadays, most social gatherings have moved online. You could try:

  1. Joining virtual activities or volunteering online
    Not only could this ease your boredom, but you could be simultaneously helping enrich the lives of others, too. Some examples of virtual volunteering organizations are:
    1. UN volunteering 
    2. Zooniverse
    3. Catchafire
    4. Time Auction
    5. Amnesty
  2. Baking
    This has been one of the most popular quarantine activities, and it’s always nice to have a tasty treat to look forward to at the end as well!
  3. Imagining a scene
    You could pretend that you’re in a scene of Titanic or climbing the great Himalayas. Simply turn off the light in the room you’re in, switch on flashy colored lights (or find some on YouTube) and then play some background music. 
  4. DIY crafts
    Who knew we could be our own Handy Manny during the pandemic? Recently my cousin and I figured out that we could use sweet potato as a purple dye for T shirts – we felt like we invented a new trend!
  5. Karaoke

You could have a karaoke party with your own family members. Have fun seeing which family member is able to reach Mariah Carey’s high notes or sing like Ed Sheeran! We had a karaoke sing-off at our place with our family members and it was like a VIP concert with multiple singers.

Other tips to survive the pandemic

First of all, it’s alright to not be okay. It’s alright to feel lost or unhappy at times and you don’t have to feel afraid or ashamed of expressing your feelings. The pandemic came as a shock so suddenly at the end of 2019 and it has affected a lot of people internationally. But it always helps to remind yourself that it will get better with time and that the bad news is not going to last forever.

Doing yoga and taking deep breaths (or trying breathing exercises) helps a lot too. You could chant or recite mantras you’re interested in. The mantra I always use when I get anxious or stressed is “Om Mani Padme Hum” which translates to “Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus”. It’s a very common mantra in Bhutan, where I come from. I find that it helps me purify myself and channel my inner strength.

To whomever is reading this, I’m very proud of you for not giving up and coming this far. Give yourself a hug and have a warm bath with scented candles or listen to some ASMR music. I hope you have a great day and here’s a virtual hug, take care 🙂

Side Note:

Hum Mani Padme Hum is pronounced as follows:
Hum as Hummm
Mani as (Maa  Nee)
Padme as (Paid  Meh)
Hum as Hummm