Whether long haul or crisis time – schooling at home is NOT a breeze!
Many of you know I’m a veteran (and now retired) homeschooler. I schooled all of my children from Kindergarten through high school over a 30 year “career”. I mention this because I UNDERSTAND that schooling your children at home is hard. I UNDERSTAND that there are days where it just doesn’t work! I UNDERSTAND that some days (more than I care to recall) the children dig in their heels, or I dig in my heels, and it is hard from sun up to sun down.
In our current global crisis, many of you are THRUST into a position of being responsible for overseeing the schooling of your children. It is frightening, it is exhausting and it is overwhelming.
- you didn’t choose this situation
- you might not be prepared for this
- you might still be working
- you might have limited resources
- you might struggle with the subjects
- you might be having to balance schooling with being a caregiver
I want to tell you this: DON’T TAKE ALL THE BURDEN ON YOUR SHOULDERS! In crisis mode, you are not looking to prepare your children for Harvard. You are working to keep them cognitively alert. The last 25 years of my homeschooling, I went to a year round schedule. NOT because I wanted to graduate my children at age 12, but because I saw how much they lost over the summer months. We didn’t actually do a lot of ADVANCING over the summer. I just didn’t want them to lose it all. So in the summer we schooled a couple of times a week and mostly found educational games and did lots of reading.
I have a few notes of encouragement for you.
I’ve been in a sweet group of Christian homeschool moms for decades, between us, we’ve seen pretty much all that can be seen in homeschooling trials. I’d like to share some things they have seen that I hope will be an encouragement for you!
As a long-time mentor in the homeschooling movement, I counseled women who purposely, and with research, brought their kids from public school to homeschool to give them one month per year in the public school system to adjust. Meaning, they needed to learn to relax and do things differently without bells. Parents and children needed to learn to relate to one another… to build a relationship that could withstand being together all day; for them both to learn how to relate to mom as teacher and child as student in new ways. Not that there is nothing academic happening in those months, but that there is much grace and the focus is different. ~Lisa
Please remember that all school textbooks are designed to spend the first 2-3 months refreshing materials from the previous year! So these months your children are at home WILL be covered again in the fall! So breathe. Focus on keeping them thinking, reasoning, and doing the required work the schools send home.
Don’t think of their schooling day as 8:00-3:00. If they get in a full hour (for grade school), that is MORE than enough for them to keep their minds sharp. ~Kate
God chose you for this task. There is a connection to your child their teacher doesn’t have, but you do.
Reach out to homeschooling friends. There’s help to be had, just ask.
Arrange a schedule and stick to it! ~Pam
If you are having a bad day don’t get upset. If the kids learn just ONE thing a day, that is more, sometimes then they learn in public school.
And if they do nothing at all, as long as they read something during the day, they are gaining information.
Sometimes math, science can be taught by making a cake and dividing the recipe or doubling it. It is the little things during the day that can spark learning and a learning project. ~Penny
Be kind to yourself! Be kind to your kids, to your spouse. Accomplishing a little is much better than accomplishing nothing. It doesn’t take nearly as long to teach one child a concept than to teach 30. Let them write (or dictate to you) about their life now. Help them keep a journal – you will treasure it in the future. Take walks, plant a garden, cook together, play board games or card games, write letters and cards to others. Let them choose a topic that interests them and spend some time researching it together online (or in books, if you have them). Read, read, read to them.
What you might have thought was becoming the worst year ever, could become their most treasured memory. Take a deep breath, avoid comparing yourself to others, and try to stay in the moment. Ask for help when you need it. And know that there are lots of veteran homeschooling moms on the sidelines right now cheering for you, praying for you, and hoping that you treat yourself and your family with the kindness and grace that this situation deserves. ~Jennifer
Remember, you are equipped to love your children!
To sum up:
Dear friend, breathe. God will give the grace to meet this need. There are many people around who can, and want to, help and encourage you. Reading with and to your children is your FRIEND. You only have to be 1 step ahead of your children; don’t be distressed that you are not an astrophysicist. These subjects will all be retaught come August. Loving your children and keeping them emotionally centered is more important than their academic advances. Give yourself a break. A schedule really helps to stay on task – but make the schedule your HELP, not your MASTER.
We WILL get through this.