Congratulations, you’re now the proud parent of a homeschooler!
Thanks to COVID-19, a huge chunk of parents are currently faced with the harsh reality that they are now expected to be their child’s primary teacher many amidst working full time/trying to find a new job.
Most of these parents have never been homeschooled and haven’t really considered what homeschooling would look like. They don’t know where to start or how they will even fit this change into their day. Also, if they’re like me, they also have quite the begrudging student.
Today though, they’re in luck. Today’s blog focus is on how to fit homeschooling into your schedule and how to help minimize the adjustment.
Benefits Of Homeschooling
First, take your preconceived notions about homeschool and toss them out the window. Now, with a fresh outlook consider these benefits:
- Homeschool doesn’t have to be an 8am-3pm, Monday through Friday endeavor. You fit it into your schedule at both you and your child’s pace.
- Homeschool isn’t constrained to the same teaching methods that take place in a classroom. You can easily combine subjects that they are interested in while tying together new concepts that utilize their best method of learning.
- Homeschooling doesn’t mean you have to stay home. You can easily take your lessons on the road and in nature to give both of you a break.
- There are thousands of free and discounted resources readily available to you. Apps such as ABC Mouse and Elephant Learning. Shops like Legacy Learning Academy are sending free daily downloads to do with your kids and have a discount code. Zoo’s have free live feeds, libraries are offering free digital books, and musicians are putting on free concerts. Teachers are putting daily videos up to help your kids feel connected. Also, bloggers like myself are providing free activites and resources for you to use at home.
- You can stay in your pjs all day!
- And ultimately the biggest benefit now, is that while you’re doing your part to flatten the curve, you’re also giving your child the opportunity to spend precious time with you, time that they otherwise wouldn’t recieve. This also gives us an opportunity to teach them important life skills, from washing dishes to baking to woodworking.
Homeschooling The Reluctant Homeschooler
Many of us reluctant homeschooling parents also have reluctant homeschooling children. The sayings about how children always act worse for their parents exist for a reason.
The key to getting through this is simple. Lower your expectations. That’s right, lower them. No one expects you to be a 100% perfect teacher admist this chaos. It’s basically impossible to be parent, teacher, and your families financial support system without a few plates dropping.
Something is going to give.
Give yourself some grace and get takeout when you know you’ll have a busy day. Let the messy house be messy for a few days. If you’re able, hire a house cleaner and leave for an outdoor picnic and hike for a few hours.
It’s okay to not be okay. It’s also okay to find what works well for your family and to politely tell anyone else off that tries to tell you that you’re not doing it right.
Make a realistic, yet flexible schedule that includes both the time that you need for “adult” time (working/sanity) and the time that they need to balance their day. Make sure they are included in this process, giving them some ownership over their time and life.
When making your schedule, keep in mind that because you will be working one on one with your child, school lessons take a fraction of the time they do at school. When your child is at school, they are stuck splitting their time with 15+ students and small blocks of time to fit each sliver of lessons in. A big portion of your child’s time spent at school isn’t spent on academic instruction. Also, play is the ultimate form of learning. You can literally take any interest your child has and make it fit into the lessons they need to learn.
Don’t be intimidated by getting creative.
An example of this: say you are working with a younger child who hates handwriting or identifying letters, but they are super interested in space. Take out a space related book and have them find and count all the times they find the word “space” or “planet.” Take them into a gravel driveway, give them a stick, and tell them the gravel is meteors. They need to clear a path for your spaceship with the stick by spelling out certain words. Have them draw galaxy maps and label planets (accurately or ones they create) or draw and label spaceship parts. In just these few ideas, you have covered science, math, art, engineering, and language skills.
Also, don’t be scared to utilize screen time for your lessons. For example, going back to the space theme, did you know that there is a program where Astronauts Read Books While In Space? There are also countless YouTube videos, Magic School Bus-esque programs, and shows by people such as Neil deGrasse Tyson that cover topics about space. Utilizing screen time for part of their lessons is a great way for you to get some work done, take a kid break/get chores done, or learn something new yourself. I even have a long time homeschooling friend who is currently using video games for part of her child’s lessons.
Another important aspect to incorporate into their schedule is digital time with friends. Learning correct social interaction is an important skill, no matter your age.
For my household, this week we will be doing Easter Engineering Challenges with friends that live in Japan. Yep, you heard me right, Japan. I’ll be sharing the lesson on my blog that morning, and then we will livestream our digital lesson/playdate with For Mommys Dragons. We have also dropped handmade birthday cards off for friends and surprised them with chalk art creations in their driveway.
Keep in mind, now that you’re a so-called “homeschooling” family, you aren’t limited to the school year calendar either. If trying to keep up with your child’s daily academic load is too overwhelming, remember that you also have ALL SUMMER to get through it. My best friend who is currently homeschooling 3 amazing kids, once told me that she didn’t stick to “school years.” That her kids learned year round and she didn’t feel the need to pressure them to pursue each academic subject at the same rate as their peers. With their yearlong learning schedule, they were able to set a leisurely pace that worked best for her children’s interests while still keeping them at the state mandated educational levels. This is a great perk of being stuck at home.
A significant portion of schools are also sending out lesson plans and worksheets for your children. This is a great way to give them some structured work while giving you some age appropriate ideas of what they should be working on. However, when they start getting frustrated and uncooperative, don’t feel bad about tabling it for later to avoid total meltdowns. Going back to what I said earlier, you have plenty of time! Also, don’t feel bad about contacting your children’s teachers. Most of them will be readily accessible to help your kids (within reason folks) and I’m sure they also miss seeing all of their awesome students.
In conclusion, take a deep breath and remember:
YOU. GOT. THIS.
It’s going to be hard, but try to view this scary change of events as an opportunity and not as a burden. Take it one day at a time and give both yourself and your kids patience and grace. Try to remember that your kids will remember the special memories that you’re making and benefit from this extra time they have with you.
How are you handling this change? Do you have any amazing tips to share? Let us know below!