For many parents, the prospects of teaching your kids from home can disinter traumatizing memories of school: of fractions and calculus; neverending assignments and exams; and acne breakouts and first-ever breakups.

I get it.

You never signed up for this. Or perhaps you did! Either way, teaching your kids at home definitely causes a little anxiety in parents who haven’t had to be a part of a classroom in many, many years. It makes sense. Education is everything. It’s what opens your kids’ eyes to the world and prepares them to become a functioning and contributing part of it.

No pressure, right?

Well fear not, for in this guide, I present to you the best advice of our experienced panel of early childhood educators on how to teach your young kids from home. In fact, this very same panel has curated a comprehensive collection of bright and engaging flashcards for early childhood education, which you can use to help your young kids prepare for, and cope in, kindergarten and beyond!

We also have a vast library of certified flashcard collections for kids of ALL ages, so if your babies aren’t, well, babies anymore and are running the gauntlet of highschool, we’ve got collections on every subject they’re taking, from biology, chemistry, and history to geography, economics, and language. Check out Brainscape’s Knowledge Genome of flashcards here!

Anyway, stay tuned for more on how our flashcards work because they really are a powerful tool for helping anyone learn anything TWICE as efficiently.

Now, back to your learning: here are our best tips for teaching your kids at home!

How can I teach my kids at home?

Now that remote working and learning seem to be the “new normal”, there’s much for you to learn about teaching your kids from home; whether they’re pre-K or in elementary, middle, or high school.

Side note: Our advice is mostly tailored for parents of younger kids who are recreating a classroom and the full school day at home. But many of our tips are also useful for those who are providing more assistive-type instruction for their kids (like tutoring your highschooler).

Let’s go!

Tip # 1: Make a daily schedule for your kids

Daily schedule for kids

Kids benefit enormously from knowing what to expect throughout the day, which isn’t really something that changes as they get older. Keeping a schedule keeps you organized, on task, and focused, which is really important for kids who need to learn in an environment they usually associate with chillin’.

Moreover, scheduling frequent breaks and having those breaks or fun activities visible on a schedule will give them something to look forward to, which will help to motivate them through the more tedious parts of the day.

How do you make such a schedule?

For young ones, you could use a big piece of cardboard, a chalkboard, or a whiteboard to display the different days of the week and hourly (or 20, 30, or 45-minute) time slots of each school day. Then, you can write out the different tasks or activities for the day on color-coded post-its and stick ‘em in the relevant time slots. Get your kids involved. Fun!

(For older kids, you might use an app or digital planner like the ones recommended by, or, specifically for students.)

What kind of entries should you include in your classroom schedule?

  • Breakfast time: when they’re expected to be dressed and ready.
  • Morning meeting: more on that in our next tip.
  • Morning classes: numeracy (counting and comparing); language (words & letters); places & people; emotions and self-care skills; story time, etc.
  • Break times: scheduled slots for play, naps, lunch, snacks, etc. It’s important to have plenty of these throughout the “school” day.
  • Afternoon activities: sports, skills development, arts and crafts, exercise, play, etc.
  • Daily chores: tidying up the “classroom”, wiping down the board, helping you prepare dinner, etc. Whatever you deem appropriate for your little one.

You can make this schedule for the entire day—from wake up time to bedtime—or confine it to just the school day itself. Either way, both you and your kids will know what is expected of you each day and this structure will help to guide their education forward.

Pro Tip: according to Daniel Pink, the best-selling author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, younger students tend to do better on analytical tasks earlier in the day, so perhaps tackle math and numeracy first. (Read: The best numbers & math apps for preschoolers.)

Also … remember that different people are more active at different times of the day so if your kid is more alert and receptive later on in the day (as opposed to first thing in the morning) build a schedule that taps into that natural rhythm instead of fighting against it.

Tip # 2: Hold a morning meeting at the start of the academic day

Kids' morning meeting

Before you launch into any teaching, the academic day should kick off with a morning meeting, just as it does in almost every classroom across the country. This meeting is for connecting with each other, talking about the lessons learned the previous day (good for knowledge refresh) and about the schedule of the day to come.

It’s also a good opportunity to highlight any challenges that need to be addressed or positive or negative behaviors you want to remind your kids about. People learn best and make changes more efficiently if they are frequently reminded about what their goals are and this morning meeting is the perfect opportunity to set and refresh those goalposts.

Read: 'What do kids need to know before kindergarten?'

Tip # 3: Create a behavior management plan

Behavior management plan for kids

Having a structure lends itself enormously towards greater discipline and focus, but there should also be a firm classroom philosophy—or behavior management plan—that is enforced so that your kids understand your expectations and boundaries.

There are natural consequences for bad and good behavior. What are those behaviors and what are their consequences in your classroom? Lay them out right from the get-go so that your kids understand them; even run through those each morning during your meeting. For example, you could design a star or points-based system for good work, participation, and focus with a certain number of stars/points earning the child some kind of reward.

On the flip side, a demerit system tallies up instances of unruly behavior, disrespect, and a lack of focus or participation that earns your child chores or time subtracted from their screen time. This system is important: you are teaching your kids about consequences for their choices, which is how life fundamentally works.

Side note: Pay attention if your kid struggles to sit still and focus, even after play or exercise. It doesn’t mean that they are bad students but it could be that they have ADD or ADHD. A diagnosis and management plan will benefit them tremendously as students and in life. Here’s an article on parenting a child with ADHD.

Tip # 4: Show more than you tell


Kids learn more through modeling their parents’ behavior than they do through being told what to do. So when providing them with instruction, show them what you expect from them: do that math problem with them; pronounce words with them; work through Brainscape’s flashcards with them; and generally model the good behavior you’d like to see from them, etc.

Success is much more likely if you show kids what you expect from them.

Now, on the subject of instruction, let’s look at a super effective teaching tool for teaching your kids at home...

Tip # 5: Use adaptive flashcards to engage and teach your kids effectively (and efficiently)

Brainscape early childhood education flashcards
Brainscape's early childhood education flashcards are a complete rubric for young kids' development in the core skills like reading, math, emotional intelligence, and more.

Flashcards are one of the most effective tools for helping anyone learn a lot of information in a short amount of time. They’ve been used as far back as ancient Greece (and the ancient Greeks were pretty smart … so you know they were onto something).

Today, of course, we have the benefit of technology so flashcards are next-level effective; in particular, Brainscape’s flashcards!

Brainscape is the world’s smartest study app with comprehensive, expert-curated collections of adaptive flashcards for kids of all ages! (Find flashcards for your kids’ subjects in our Knowledge Genome.)

For young kids (aged 3 to 9), we’ve worked with experts in the realm of early childhood education to take the complete recommended curriculum for preschoolers and turn it into a set of engaging flashcards. These, you can use to help your kids master important knowledge and skills, like reading, counting, vocabulary, and more so that they can embark upon or continue their schooling well-versed in the fundamentals of communication, language, math, nature, emotions, and so much more.

Check them out here!

Brainscape early childhood education flashcards
Mobile dashboard: Brainscape’s early childhood education flashcards consist of six collections, each of which targets a different core skill, like reading or numeracy.

But behind the fun colors and images is an adaptive learning technology that is designed to leverage the way the brain is hardwired to learn in order to help your kids (or anyone really) learn TWICE as fast. And once you’ve shown them how to use Brainscape, this learning can take place anytime and anywhere.

For the full scoop on how to use Brainscape with your kids (and get the most out of it), check out the linked article or watch this video...

Tip # 6: Consolidate learning through spaced repetition and active recall

How to teach kids at home

Now, we’re getting a little deeper into how to not only teach your kids from home, but really help them learn and remember what you’re teaching. Because it’s simply not enough to throw the knowledge at their brains and hope it sticks. We all had those crappy teachers who droned through a subject. It didn’t work with you; it won’t work with them.

The secret to all human learning and development is spaced repetition. It’s taking the same information and hearing it again and again, ideally in increasingly long intervals so that the future reviews are less expected, therefore requiring the kid to "dig deep" and remember the concept in a different form. If you do this, it’ll ensure much better retention of the concept than if you'd just done all these activities on Day 1.

But it’s also about repackaging and reframing the information in different ways so that the brain establishes multiple neural pathways to that information.

For example: a college student who reads about, I don’t know, cloud polarization in a science textbook and writes the salient points down as notes, studies flashcards on the subject, watches an animation, and then draws a diagram illustrating the process is going to ingrain that knowledge much more effectively than someone who reads the textbook once; and much more efficiently than someone who reads the textbook over and over again.


Flashcards are designed to teach via spaced repetition, which is one of the reasons they’re so effective. But another cognitive learning principle they leverage is active recall, which is compelling the brain to remember information from scratch.

When your child sees the letter ‘G’ on the question side of the flashcard, for example, they have to go into their memory bank and recall what that letter is, how it sounds, and perhaps name a word starting with ‘G’.

When the brain actually uses information it learns, it establishes much stronger neural pathways to that information. That’s why you can effortlessly remember your phone number and that of your parents, partner, and best friend. Because you use them all the time!

So, when teaching your kids from home, create multiple touch points for the information they’re learning. Regularly refresh and review what was learned the days and weeks before (Brainscape’s flashcards are great for this because they automate the review process, picking up where you left off). And get them to USE what they’ve learned to answer a question, solve a problem, or even just explain it back to you.

Pro Tip: For older kids, having them teach you about a subject they’re learning—called the Feynman Technique—can be a powerful tool for consolidating information. Plus, you’ll be able to tell whether they genuinely understand the material or are just winging their way through it.

Tip # 7: Encourage productive “struggle”

Teaching kids productive struggle

No parent likes to see their kids struggle but then no learning curve was ever downhill! And so it’s important when teaching your kids at home to give them assignments that challenge them: that keep them in that sweet spot of overlapping comfort (I know this) and mild discomfort (I’ve never done this before). This is called the zone of proximal development and you can read all about it in the linked article.

In short however, it’s the space between what a learner can do without assistance and what a learner can do with adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers. Productive struggle is a good thing: it’s proven that learning is optimal when kids solve problems that are challenging, but still within their abilities.

How can you facilitate productive struggle in your home “schooling”?

Don’t take it quite so easy on your kids! Challenge them with tasks or assignments that they fundamentally have the skills to accomplish, but might take a little more work and figuring out than they’ve had to do before.

And make sure you praise them for their persistence, rather than their success, intelligence, or skills. Rewarding kids for trying hard, rather than for having inherent qualities, will build their tenacity, making them braver to try new, challenging things. This is because the reward comes with trying hard and not with “winning”.

Read: 'What I learned about parenting from training my dog'

Tip # 8: Teach your kids practical skills, too!

Teaching kids practical skills

In addition to the standard academic subjects and skills, you should also broaden your kids’ horizons by introducing them to more practical skills. Some of these they’ll love, like music, dance, art, woodwork, and gardening. Others might take a little more coercion, like cleaning, organizing, making their bed, changing light bulbs, and helping you cook.

Either way, your kid will grow up with a spectrum of incredibly useful practical skills, which they can use to entertain and express themselves, pursue passion projects, achieve their goals (through greater organization and time-management), cook something other than ramen noodles when they fly the coop, and just generally be more successful in life.

Also, creativity and artistic expression are just as important to budding brains (and adult brains) as any of the more academic endeavors, so be sure to include plenty of them in your schedule.

Tip # 9: Change things up regularly and keep daily tasks varied

To keep kids engaged, you need to cooperate with their developing brains, which can only focus on any one particular thing for around 15 minutes and are greatly motivated by instant gratification.

One work-around for this is to keep lessons or particular tasks short and varied even just 5 minutes of focused learning is a great addition to their learning journey. Don’t just do one exercise for 20 minutes; shake it up with different activities. So if you’re teaching them reading skills, have them:

  • Recite (or sing) the alphabet,
  • Work through a few rounds of Brainscape’s flashcards,
  • Read a story with you (or look at the pages while you read it).
  • Say the names of things/objects they see around the house or while on a walk.

Also, try to alternate between technical and creative subjects like numeracy and art; reading and dance. This will prevent your kids from getting fatigued and fidgety.

Pro Tip: Brainscape is perfect for your kids’ short attention spans! Not only does each round consist of only 10 flashcards—so you can squeeze a super-short session into only a few minutes—but our adaptive learning algorithm is also really effective so they can get a lot of learning done in a short amount of time.

(You might also find this article useful: ‘How do you motivate a stubborn child to learn?’)

Tip # 10: Research online and ask other teachers for advice

Ask teachers for advice

No matter how well you know your child (and, of course, you do), making the leap from parent to teacher isn’t always an easy one. Besides, not all of us want our kids to follow in our academic footsteps!

So, rather than fumbling your way through it all, reach out to teachers and parents at your kids’ school (or future school) or in your community for tips on how to help your kids learn at home. You should also try to pick a curriculum that’s a good fit for you and your kids learning preferences.

The internet is your friend but bear in mind that every parent with a blog has an opinion about teaching kids at home. If you’re looking for best practices, you might want to prioritize the recommendations of state and federal government education websites.

Read: 'How to build your kids resilience (without traumatizing them)'

Final thoughts on teaching your kids at home

teaching your kids at home

For everyone, the pandemic was a crash course in teaching your kids from home. And while some thrived at the opportunity, others, well, struggled a little bit. You may know your kid inside-and-out, but you probably didn’t know them as learners before you were compelled to teach them. Now that I’ve shared some tips for teaching your kids from home, however, I hope you feel a lot more confident walking into your home classroom in the mornings! Remember:

Tip # 1: Make a daily schedule for your kids

Tip # 2: Hold a morning meeting at the start of the academic day

Tip # 3: Create a behavior management plan

Tip # 4: Show more than you tell

Tip # 5: Use adaptive flashcards to engage and teach your kids effectively (and efficiently)

Tip # 6: Consolidate learning through spaced repetition and active recall

Tip # 7: Encourage productive “struggle”

Tip # 8: Teach your kids practical skills, too!

Tip # 9: Change things up regularly and keep daily tasks varied

Tip # 10: Research online and ask other teachers for advice

And finally, go easy on yourself! Parenting is a hard enough job without having to ALSO teach your kids from home. So, if you’re exhausted, there’s nothing wrong with putting them in front of the TV and playing an episode of Planet Earth. Let Sir David Attenborough take the reins for a bit.

If your kids are happy, safe, and fed, you’re doing a great job and they’re lucky to have you!