Making The Most of Your Home School Journey
There are many different reasons why we may rather suddenly find ourselves among the curious ranks of homeschoolers. For me, it was a choice made out of desperation. My son was sinking in public school. After working within the system for four years, we knew we had to try a new approach so we decided to learn from home.
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For many other families, homeschooling offers an opportunity they always knew they wanted to pursue. Some families find a brief trial in the homeschooling world for various reasons has led them to discover that it ‘fits’ their child or family far more appropriately than public school and happily join ranks permanently.
Most recently, the majority of families teaching from home are responding to the widespread closing of public schools across the nation. Across the world in fact.
Suddenly Homeschooling – Now What?
Regardless of why a family begins homeschooling, it can feel like a bit of a free fall at first. It’s a lifestyle change, not just an educational choice. Many first time home school families try to recreate the public education system within the walls of their own homes.I’m personally guilty of this same innocent mistake.
Seven years into homeschooling I can now state with complete confidence, that recognizing and appreciating the differences between public school and home school is where you will find the most comfort and experience the greatest success. Let me explain…
Creating a Home School Instead of a Public School at Home
What You Want To Embrace In Your Home School That DOES Resemble Public School
- Create A Work Environment Free of Distraction. This does not mean you have to set up a desk and mount a chalkboard to the living room wall. Simply, declare a certain space dedicated to schoolwork and clear it free of toys and unnecessary technology.
- Get Familiar With Curriculum. Take time to look over the whole week’s curriculum. Use these few hours of your week to find supporting materials such as educational videos and documentaries, associated art projects, or hands-on games or experiments to enhance your child’s learning experience. A few hours of prep work a week can ease so much tension and help parents discover the confidence they require through simple preparation.
- Set A Schedule With Breaks. This is my number one tip – have a schedule. It doesn’t have to be iron-clad, but you need a schedule! Kids really need to know what is expected from them and when they will be done. A checklist works wonders for inspiration and encourages completion as well. Also, including scheduled breaks in your daily schedule will give students goals to work towards and an understanding of which times of the day are set aside for their free time.
What You Want To Embrace In Your Home School That Resembles Home Life
- Hands-On Learning. Motivate their thirst for knowledge by planning some simple experiments or art projects. Without recess, art, and scheduled physical education and experiences that won’t come home in packets, you will need to make sure that learning is still fun. This list of 30 Popular Educational YouTube Channels is a great resource full of activities to keep things interesting. Also, make sure that you are getting them moving with online dance, PE classes, or outside exploration.
- Long lunch breaks. At school, kids are often only given twenty minutes to eat. Add some life skills to your lunch break by inviting students to prepare and serve alongside you. If possible, take lunch outside. Life skills and family time are valuable and necessary for so many obvious reasons. But also, having their assistance with prep and clean-up can take some pressure off you. Sometimes we forget that our kids want to help us and that we actually do need their help. That’s always worth remembering.
- Work With What Inspires Them. Your students have passions, take time to discover them. Successfully teaching a genuine love of learning itself leads to the greatest success you can achieve as an educator and is a life-long gift for students who sincerely receive it. Give them some time to learn about something simply because they enjoy it or are inspired by it. Help them to dive deep into the topic.
Take Advantage of Free Educational Materials That Are Available Now
I’m not a good Math teacher. I am a wretched Math teacher. It took me a few years to admit that and there were a lot of tense moments. There were tears even. I’m not proud of those classroom moments, but I learned a valuable lesson. This is gold so for the sake of your own sanity say it out loud with me – I don’t have to teach every subject!
Accept your strengths and own them. But also be willing to accept help when you discover weaknesses. It’s ok. We all have them. All of us. No worries. Just go ahead and reach out. There is help available for every subject and that is a huge blessing. Grab it!
Need More Than Just A Little Help? That’s ok too.
Some of us have toddlers or babies to care for while trying to teach. A lot of us are also working from home. Some of us just can’t seem to focus on much of anything. (I’m raising my hand!) Everything feels so very surreal, and we just want to binge-watch Netflix or make a sandwich or both… And that’s ok, too. Everyone is dealing with this the best that they can. So give yourself some grace and be willing to receive any help you can get.
If you aren’t in a situation where you can teach effectively from home that doesn’t mean that your child can’t still receive a great education. There are a lot of options out there.
If you have students that are in third through twelfth grade, Study.com has complete homeschool curriculums ready for you which include:
- A customized learning path for your child with thousands of lessons in all subjects.
- Simple lesson planning, video learning, automatic grading, and progress tracking.
- And you can go beyond the textbook with engaging 5-minute video lessons, quizzes, and an app for learning any time, anywhere
At Study.com, they are dedicated to making education accessible. Every month, they help over 30 million students, teachers, and homeschool families achieve their educational goals by providing quality video lessons, online courses, informational resources, and more. For homeschoolers, they offer a personalized online homeschool platform that includes curriculum for all subjects grades 3 through 12, including electives and courses for college credit. Beyond their comprehensive course catalog, they also provide homeschool families with answers to homeschool questions, including homeschool laws by state.
Remember, Isolation School Is Not Home School
I want to point out something crucial real quick. Homeschooling and Isolation Schooling are not the same things. Homeschoolers are going just as crazy as public schoolers missing their friends, their sports, their clubs, and their activities.
Homeschoolers have a school life that is full of field trips in a way few public schoolers could even imagine. We frequent libraries, aquariums, planetariums, historic sites, national parks, art galleries, and museums. We go to co-ops and play sports and are in band and choir. We are in 4-H and Space Club and Art and Writing Groups. Plus SO much more. Homeschoolers are also very active in their communities and most of us play a huge part in volunteering and community activities. We are a group on the move.
Homeschooling only happens at home for between three to five hours a day for most of us. The rest of this homeschooling life is experienced with the world as our classroom. We miss the world out there too. Please note that the isolation schooling that is being referred to as homeschooling is far from that. Yes, it is school at home, but it’s not the homeschool life. It doesn’t include the homeschool community. We feel as lost among this Pandemic as anyone.
The reason I want to make this clear is that a lot of you are asking about continuing with homeschool and expressing some of these concerns. I want to encourage you to give it a try in all of its glory. What isolation schooling accomplishes is such a small taste of the exceptional educational opportunity that most homeschool students genuinely thrive within.
Homeschool Or Public School – Our Kids Are Struggling With Change
Finally, in closing, I would like to encourage you to go give your favorite student(s) a long hug and let them know that you appreciate their every effort to work hard and be kind throughout all of these drastic changes.
In this article– Effects of Coronavirus School Closures on Parents and Children– from Study.com, it is acknowledged that staying motivated is no easy challenge in such trying times, but it’s not an unattainable goal. We can help our children succeed by putting into place a good schedule, providing a solid curriculum, doing our best to reward and acknowledge their achievements, and recognizing that they too are experiencing the emotional challenges of living through this Pandemic.
Hang in there, my friends. You are not alone with your fears or concerns. If you have a question please don’t hesitate to ask me. You can submit through the comments section below or email me and I’ll help in any way I can. Near or far, we are all going through this together in so many ways. Wishing you all of the best!
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