3 THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO BRING MORE EASE TO HOMESCHOOLING
April 1, 2020
Among all the uncertainty and the ever changing landscape of the COVID-19 outbreak, many parents did not realize that they would have to transition into homeschooling their kids. The plan for learning through the school system is changing from district to district. Many parents now have to work from home and deal with their own personal homelife, while finding a new way to keep their children on track with their learning. In other words, many are now homeschooling. I can’t imagine the extra strain and responsibility they must feel. I reached out to my good friend Heidi Armstrong, who jumped into homeschooling her kids 2 years ago to provide you some practical tips during COVID-19 Stay Home/quarantine orders.
Previously, Heidi’s kids had been in public school until the 4th and 1st grade. But, in 2018 Heidi and her husband made the decision to move from Canada to Oceanside, California in search of a life with less stress and more family time, more adventure, and more surfing. As part of this new lifestyle, she had to quickly transition into homeschooling. So she is the perfect person to give us some tips on how to successfully homeschool our children during this time. Here are some homeschooling tips for parents to help ease the transition for both you and your kids.
TAKE THE ‘SCHOOL WALLS’ DOWN
The idea of shifting into homeschool for some can offer excitement and a new wave of creativity. Parents get excited about topics that they think will spark curiosity in their kids, post up a school schedule to follow and do their best to keep school the same at home as in school–until of course the ‘first day of homeschool’. We have all seen those memes that suggest homeschooling is much harder then we all think! And I firmly believe it is too!
I asked Heidi if she is different when ‘teaching’ then she is when she is simply ‘mom’. Her response surprised me. “As a parent, are we not also their teachers? And as a teacher, does that mean we don’t parent? The approach has to shift. When we are working on school work, I work and learn alongside my kids. This takes the pressure off of ‘having to know everything or having all the right answers’. This approach is also humbling because you come to realize how hard your kids are actually working”.
Schooling from home, means you can take some of the ‘school walls’ down. And the first wall that has to come down is the position of teacher/student. You are still their parent, who is now more actively participating in their learning.
HAVE A PLAN AND FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE IN PLACE
Be prepared that some assignments will take longer than others while others take no time at all. It may surprise you how quickly your child(ren) get through their work without the distraction of morning announcements, recess, classmates or other interruptions that happen at school. It was the first thing Heidi said she noticed when she started her homeschool journey.
Homeschool days (depending on grade level) were 3-4 hours long as compared to a regular 6 hr day at school. Once she found her rhythm she was able to layer in extra activities to keep her girls active. Either way, have a plan for your day, but also be flexible with your schedule. Being prepared with other activities that interest your child is a must!
ALLOW TIME TO ADJUST
This is a new approach to school for the entire family. Focus on continued learning, instead of big new concepts. Finding your family homeschool rhythm takes time and is BIG learning for both you and your kids. Forget the checkboxes or if the answers to the assignments are right or wrong, and focus on what’s working. This is a unique time in life where you get to test drive if homeschooling is for you. And it’s OK if it’s not. In the meantime enjoy getting to know your child(ren) in a whole new way and embrace those moments you get to be there for them. Don’t be afraid to celebrate with a glass of wine or a cold beer after long week of teaching!
Heidi has offered a whole list of free resources that can take some of the pressure off while you navigate this new territory. Click here to access the list she has prepared of amazing companies offering FREE online access.