Advice for Those Who are Suddenly and Unexpectedly Homeschooling | Still Playing School

Advice for Those Who are Suddenly and Unexpectedly Homeschooling

By Devany | Labels:
Most of the nation currently finds themselves unexpectedly and suddenly homeschooling. As a former teacher turned homeschooling mom, here is my advice and favorite resources for these unprecedented and unsettling times.

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1. Homeschool does NOT look like school at home! 

As homeschoolers, I always joke that we're hardly ever home. We go to libraries, museums, and playgrounds most days but right now, we can't. When we are learning at home, it very seldom looks like school. 

You don't have to try to recreate school at home. Learning can take place on the floor, the couch, in the kitchen, and with all of the family together.

What my son needs is different than what my daughter thrives in.

Homeschool doesn't take as long as public school because there are less students and drastically less transition times! This doesn't mean you aren't doing "enough." It means you have time for the extras that you love. Don't print out more worksheets! (I have my favorite resources listed at the end of this post.)

2. Routines help some but be open to editing (or ditching) them!

Some kids and parents thrive on routine. There are plenty of schedules floating around online that you can tailor to your needs but I want to give you a few guidelines on this idea.

- Ask your kids to help you collaborate on the routine. What do they want to learn? What's important to them? It might be breakfast together as a family or time to video chat with the friends they miss in the afternoon. 

-  Start with a loose routine. I recommend quiet time in the afternoon where kids can read, draw, and little ones can nap. The goal of this time is to rest, regroup, and honestly get out of each other's hair for a little while! 

- Sleep is important for our immune system. If your teenagers don't want to wake up at the same time they did for school, that's okay! Look at it as a gift of health.

- It's okay to change this routine in a day, or next week, or to throw it away entirely. It's taken us 6 years to find our rhythm in homeschooling and we're still figuring it out. Give your family patience as you find what works for you. 

3. Start with what you love!

Start your day with what you all enjoy. 

If you love to bake, remember that kids are learning math and life skills and bake with them!
If they love Legos, start the day off with audiobooks and Lego time.
Maybe this is the chance to finally dig out those art supplies that are gathering dust or begin the vegetable garden or whatever makes your hearts sing.

Beginning the day with something you all love sets the tone for happiness in the home. It's okay to do this first instead of saving it for last.

4. Relax about social screen time.

Most parents put limits most of the time on technology for their kids. This is no longer "most" times. I'm not saying give them a free pass to hide in their rooms and only play video games all day. But we need to re-frame how we look at technology in the moment. It's keeping us connected during a crisis. You are only reading this right now because of the gift of technology. Allow your kids to video chat with friends (supervised if they are younger) and remember that we are social creatures who need our community. Right now, that's virtual. I recommend Facebook Messenger for Kids or Zoom.

5. No academics are worth more than your relationship with your child. 

This is a scary time for our nation. If we are feeling stress as adults, imagine how our children feel. And they are looking to us, their parents, to be their safe place during this chaos.

No matter what happens this year, in the end, it won't matter if your child fell behind in math or never took another spelling test. What will matter is how you made them feel.

Choose connection over coercion.

So what do we do? Here are my favorite homeschooling resources and ideas:
Free printables:  Go on a nest hunt.
                           Record All About Me in 2020.

Podcasts: Brains On! Wow in the World

Documentaries: Curiosity Stream

Cosmic Kids Yoga

Lego Challenge: Choose a topic every day and kids can post pictures of their creations

Video chat play dates: Have one parent organize a play date online with Show & Tell or Guess What's in the Bag

Board games. SO many board games! Teach the kids some card games, too!

Have the kids write paper & pencil letters to friends and family. If you don't want to mail them, take a picture and text or email them to the recipients.

Bake and cook together!

Listen to audiobooks then watch the movie version together. Most libraries have audiobooks available. We loved listening to then watching A Wrinkle in Time!

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