So many are schooling at home now! Welcome to the family! Some of you are not only helping your kids with school now, but also trying to work from home. I know it must feel challenging and frankly overwhelming at times. While choosing to homeschool is in some ways vastly different than schooling at home due to the virus, let me offer a few tips that might help.
First, if you are a believer, trust that the Lord has you, your family, and this whole situation in His very capable hands. This was not a surprise to Him and just as He is with you in every area of your life, He will enable you to educate your children at home during this time if you ask Him for wisdom and guidance and choose to walk in faith. Remember that through all of this, we are modeling for our children how best to respond to a difficult time. May our children see us trusting Him.
Tip #1: It Doesn’t Have to Look Like School
Learning doesn’t only take place at a table or desk. Children learn so much just by living life. Make recipes together, helping them learn about math and fractions (what if we doubled or halved this recipe?). Read books that you have at home on topics that they are interested in. Research things online about subjects they suggest (teaching them as you go on the “how-to” of looking things up). Make blanket forts over your table and snuggle in there while reading with them and talking about what you read about.
Don’t discount the value of kids just playing, imagining, and having downtime with no screens to distract them. Older kids can make videos about things they are learning, or just videos. (Some of my kids loved to team up to do this, recreating Lord of the Rings or something they were reading or watching.) Write letters to those in nursing facilities that are quarantined, family members, or others the Lord brings to mind or the kids come up with. Have children start a diary of their daily experiences and thoughts during the “Great Quarantine of 2020” ? to share with their own kids one day.
Do things around the house that have been neglected in our busy lives. Teach valuable life skills to your kids in the process of household management – organization, gardening, maintenance, repair, etc. Look up fun experiments you can do at home with household items. Take a hike and observe nature; make a nature notebook. Sleep in, snuggle; and read; stay in your jammies if you want ?. Play in nature whenever possible. Limit screens, live life, breathe, repeat. Really our founding fathers had it right. Get in the 3R’s each day and you are good to go. Much of schooling can be accomplished in daily life especially with younger children. Allow yourself and your kids to have some fun in this new adventure in learning.
Tip #2: Temper Your Expectations
Homeschooling by choice is different than schooling at home in a crisis. You don’t have control over the curriculum, pacing, or content. But when possible, can you change the delivery and still accomplish your school’s objectives? Does everything have to be written down or can younger kids dictate to you and you write it down for them to speed the schooling process? Can you read texts with your kids, learning something new yourself? Interacting with your kids and their learning, versus just handing their work to them and asking them to do it, will make the experience more fun for all. Consult your child’s teacher for what is acceptable.
I am just guessing here, but I imagine you may have already noticed by now that being together all the time provides ample opportunity for friction among family members? It’s to be expected. The daily possibility of “rubbing each other the wrong way” provides many opportunities to live out what we learn from God’s Word about how to treat one another and to disciple our kids in the process. For the record, your house will look like people live in it all day and learning is taking place. That’s ok and it’s to be expected; just schedule clean up times periodically in your day and make it another family activity.