I get it. Things are crazy right now. Millions of children across the country have just become homeschoolers.
But not by choice. By necessity.
As a homeschool mom of over 17 years, I can understand the feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, doubt, frustration, and feeling of being lost.
We all started out that way. I mean, when we started with our two oldest, we didn’t have the luxury of the internet in the way you do now.
My understanding from following the news stories is that most schools are moving to online courses. E-teaching, Which is great!
The teachers will still be making the lesson plans and administering assignments. That is one of the biggest parts of homeschooling: curriculum and planning.
You’re one step ahead already.
So, take a deep breath.
In and out.
Let’s discuss some tips on
how to homeschool your child:
Homeschool ≠ School at Home
As I’ve explained before, homeschooling does not require the eight hours a day traditional school settings do. There are no transitional periods, waiting for others to get ready, etc.
There is you and your child (or children). They can sit and do their work; focused and attentive. School work may only take 3-4 hours of your day.
Which really leads to a period of learning how to deschool. Deschooling basically refers to that transitional period of learning to adjust from a traditional school setting into a less-restricted method of learning focused on your child’s learning style.
Doing this will help you and your child adjust to a new way of thinking and a better understanding of how you can make homeschool work for your family. There is no need to try to recreate a classroom.
Do you know your child’s learning style? In a classroom, every child is taught the same, regardless of how each child learns best.
In fact, some of you may find that the e-learning set up by the school system doesn’t work for your child for some reason or other.
Determine your child’s learning style and then find a resource that caters to that. Are they tactile? Auditory? Visual? Knowing this, you can better implement study techniques and lesson plans to help your child learn.
This goes back to the expectations above. If you’re area is practicing social distancing as recommended, then most of your child’s activities may be canceled anyways.
But, that doesn’t mean you need to give them a daily schedule filled with things to do at home. That nice color-coded daily schedule making its rounds? No.
It’s okay to let your children be bored. It’s okay to have some downtime, to explore new hobbies, and (EGADS!) let them have a little screen-time.
You might be surprised by the choices they make and you may even learn a bit more about your child and their interests during this time.
Perhaps something worthwhile you can achieve during this time? Teach your children life skills you may not have had time to do before, or simply never thought about teaching them.
Laundry. Dishes. Sewing. Car maintenance. Woodwork. Whatever that may look like to you, teach them a life skill or two.
Value Play Over Work
Social distancing is enough isolation; don’t isolate yourself from the other people in your house too.
To schedule time for study and play more effectively, consider getting a homeschool planner and record keeper. Using one not only creates healthy boundaries between their studies and leisure time, but it also lets you keep better track of their academic progress!
Let Them Be
This might be the hardest part. You’ve been used to a routine. They were used to a schedule. We’re all facing a new normal, although temporary, and need time to adjust.
Let your children have that time.
Play is a way for children to process their emotions. As much as you may be able to shield younger children, your middle and high school kids are hearing the news too.
Your frustration? Your anxiety? They feel it too. Let them be.
Talk to them. Even more importantly, LISTEN to them. Support them as they adjust and don’t try to push them too hard.
It’s going to be a challenging time for everyone. Even though we homeschool, as well as work from home, our kids are still used to seeing their friends several times a week.
Those of us that have homeschooled pre-quarantine are adjusting too.
But, we got this. Again. Breathe. Relax. Practice self-care.
We can do this.
My mantra during the tough times (which I picked up after losing my mom to cancer) is this:
I can do hard things.
That’s it. That’s the mantra.
Have patience with your child and yourself in the days and weeks ahead. Practice grace.
We’re all in this together.