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Advice from a Homeschool family

With the recent closure of schools in the state of Montana, and Lincoln teachers conducting classes remotely, many parents may find themselves taking on a more active teaching role at home.

Tiana Valler has been homeschooling her children for the last sixteen years and has some advice for those who may need it now.

Among her biggest words of advice to parents is to relax and breathe, and she wants to assure parents they aren’t going to ruin their child’s education in the next two months.

“This is something short-term to help students until they go back to school and instead of seeing this as a difficulty, see it as a gift, a time that can be treasured.” She says.

Valler suggests creating a relaxed but regular routine to complete school work and reminds parents that it won’t take as long as a regular school day. “Children learn best in about 20-30 minute increments of time and it’s also beneficial for kids to get up and move around in between subjects,” she says.

She also suggested reading lots of books together, even with the older kids, and reminds parents that even though the library is technically closed to the public, families can still call and request books to be checked out and picked up curbside.

Valler also advises parents to have fun. “Find out what interests your children. It’s an opportunity to dig into what they really like to do and help them learn. It’s also very good to get outside with nature, because learning takes place everywhere. Board and dice games are also good ways to spend time and learn.” She advises.

Some things she has implemented in her homeschooling process include an hour of quiet time each day where her kids do something on their own, such as reading a book, drawing or sitting quietly. They have also incorporated reading into their mealtime by reading a chapter of a book together, and says her kids have gotten a lot out of it and really like it.

Lastly, but certainly not least, she strongly advises the use of internet security measures for kids, including the enabling of safe search and other security measures as children are often vulnerable on the internet.

Valler recommends the following online resources to help children while they are at home learning:

The Kahn Academy: which she says is the best site for help in any subject with free content.

Free Stories Online:

Audible: which is free during this time with stories for older kids as well.

Ted Talks for Kids: 

National Geographic for Kids:


Free coloring pages:

Throughout the next few weeks, as needed, Valler will also offer a “Homeschooling Tip of the Week” in the newspaper and wants parents to know she is available to help answer questions via email at: [email protected]


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