This is not homeschool. This is surviving the moment we are all in, and that moment changes by the day. By the hour.
Dave Faust asked me to put something together to assist those of you who are now schooling your children at home. I considered a few different titles for my musings:
How to Successfully Homeschool your Children when Every Fiber of your Being is Screaming “NO!”
How to not Lose your Mind while Educating your Children and Holding down a Full-Time Job
Homeschooling While Still Hoping to Like your Kids When this is All Over
Homeschooling During the Black Plague Global Insanity Coronavirus
What it comes down to is that this is not homeschooling. What you are doing is far more difficult.
When we made the choice to homeschool our kids we took a year to discern and prepare – for 1 child in kindergarten. I researched curricula, local coops, resources for cooperative classes with other kids, etc. You did not choose this. You have had no time to plan. What you are doing is much, much more difficult. You have no libraries, no field trips, no nature center, no outside electives, no sports or theater, and no other kids for yours to be with. And you’re trying to hold down a full time job at the same time.
A homeschooling mom posted online
“You all have just been thrown into the deep end of a pool you didn’t choose, with no time to plan, varying amounts of guidance from your school districts, you are running businesses from your coffee tables, and hardest of all, you are confined to your homes and yards without the social connection and community support that helps typical homeschooling families thrive.
This is not homeschool.
This is surviving the moment we are all in, and that moment changes by the day. By the hour.”
Even at its best, sometimes in our homeschool, the baby was the lesson. Sometimes illness or grief was the lesson. Sometimes the broken arm, making dinner, doing laundry, shoveling snow, or fill-in-the-blank-with-ANYthing else(!) was the lesson. Education is about so much more than academics.
My advice for this crazy time is to mentally jump ahead 10 years. What would you like your kids to have learned from this time? Geometry isn’t high on my personal list ;) I would hope my kids remember that we offered to grocery shop for elderly neighbors, that we played more family games than usual, and that we were patient and resilient and kind during the trial. I need to take some of my own advice.
It’s not rocket science
and you all know your kids better than anyone. You know what’s best for them, and any tips I have are just things that have worked for me and my kids. That being said, here are a few thoughts for this crazy time:
Created by experts
• Determine what is essential and cut out the rest.
• Cut out some more. Seriously. This will save you all.
• Don’t try to duplicate what your kids were getting in school. I have never been able to do that, and all of my kids have done very well in the “real world”. You will not be able to do that either. Don’t sweat it.
• Be specific about what you expect of them. Even if they already know what they need to do for classes it helps them (and me) to have clear expectations understood by all.
• Make a list for the kids’ classes and have them check off each item as they go. Sometimes we just dry-erase it onto the fridge and then wipe it off at the end of their school day.
• Find a routine. Have your kids get up by a certain time each day (that could mean 10:00am which is perfectly fine!), and have them conquer their schoolwork before anything else. Are they done in an hour or two? Great. More time to clean that closet that’s not cleanin’ itself, baby.
• Khan Academy is a great online learning resource. This is from their site:
Khan Academy’s library of trusted, standards-aligned practice and lessons covers math K-12 through early college, grammar, science, history, AP®, SAT®, and more. It’s all free for learners and teachers.
• Have them read an hour per day. Even though libraries are closed you can still download e-books. Librivox has free public domain audiobooks. Find a great classic for them (and you) to listen to.
• I wouldn’t worry too much about screen time right now. This is a difficult time for us all, and the kids are trying to find a new, albeit temporary, normal. Your kids will be fine. If you just can’t say “yes” to one more minute of Minecraft, you could make it sort of educational, and maybe pique their curiosity as well. Search for “virtual tour” on Google for whatever your child is interested in, or try one of our favorites:
Best Virtual Field Trips
Sistine Chapel Virtual Tour
12 World-Class Museums You Can Visit Online
If I can help any of you in any way, feel free to contact me directly through my personal email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above all, please, please give yourselves a huge break. Are your kids fed? Do they feel safe and loved? If so, you’ve got this.