Many families have started “homeschooling” due to the unexpected impact of COVID-19. Our family didn’t know this was going to happen back in September when we started homeschooling, but it was certainly fortunate that we had a few months head start.
Remember “homeschooling” during COVID-19 isn’t truly homeschooling because you’re using the school’s curriculum, you’re likely still working full-time and you’re together with your family members 24/7. Actual homeschooling is when your schedule allows you the time to homeschool, when you get to pick your own educational resources and when you’re not stressed out about income and health during a pandemic. Right now we are pandemic schooling, not homeschooling.
Here are a few tips that we have for you during these difficult times:
1. Don’t worry about your child falling behind or missing something. It doesn’t matter if you follow a specific curriculum. In fact, it doesn’t matter if your child pauses schooling altogether until after this is over. You can simply encourage your kids to read books they love, create art, play outside, watch documentaries, play boardgames and hang out together around the house. Your child will learn through their natural curiosity and by observing you. Remember, there are many types of schools (public, private, Waldorf, homeschool etc.) and they all have different curriculums. The only similarity between them is that children educated in any of these environments all turn out fine. Your children will be fine too! All you need to do is love and support your children during all of this.
2. You don’t have to follow the program that your school gives you. Some schools are sending home projects and tasks to complete at home. If this works for you and your children, great. If it doesn’t, then don’t do it. Teachers can’t mark assignments completed at home and your children will catch up whenever they go back to school. Take this opportunity to encourage any type of learning that your children enjoy. Figure out what interests them. Do they like watching videos of reptiles all day? Great, let them do it! There won’t be repercussions if you skip all or some of what your school has sent home.
3. Get outside. If your family is self-isolating (not under quarantine), you are allowed outside. Get your kids playing outdoors! If you don’t have a yard, take a walk or bike in your neighbourhood. Fresh air gets kids moving, helps them sleep better and may give you a much-needed break from being around them all day. We go on a daily hike together as a family, but Mara also plays outside on her own too.
4. Video calling. To keep your kids connected with their friends, try video calling! We schedule a daily FaceTime for Mara with a friend or cousin and she LOVES this! Sometimes they just chat, play a game together like Truth or Dare, or play an online game together like Roblox. Mara enjoys having a daily social connection besides her ol’ mom and dad! Lol!
5. Resources. There are many resources to keep your children engaged in learning when you have limited time. One of our favourite sites is called Outschool.com. Mara has taken 10+ courses on Outschool and she loves it! They have academic subjects including Math, English and Science as well as fun subjects like Card Tricks – Mara is registered in a combination of academic and fun courses. There are so many benefits including: 1) academic and fun course content, 2) your children learn from someone other than you, 3) your children are online with other kids, 4) your children learn how to use the computer and video conferencing technology and 5) you get a break! There are varying costs to these courses, but they are worth it. Be sure to pick instructors with high ratings.
6. Parent groups. Many parent Facebook groups exist to support homeschooling families. We’ve provided a list of these groups on our Resources page, check it out here!
If you are struggling with homeschooling during COVID-19 or being at home with your kids all day, don’t go it alone. Join a local homeschool parent Facebook group or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for support. Some of you will send your kids back to school once this is over but some of you may decide to continue homeschooling! We’d love to hear from all of you. Be safe and be well.
Quote of the Day:
Dear Parents, don’t stress about schoolwork. When school resumes I will get your children back on track. I am a teacher and that’s my superpower. What I can’t fix is social-emotional trauma that prevents the brain from learning. So right now, I just need you to share your calm, share your strength, and share your laughter with your children. No kids are ahead. No kids are behind. Your children are exactly where they need to be.”― With Love, Teachers Everywhere.
Lisa & Mara