Homeschooling?! You CAN Do This . . . and So Much More



What’s on my mind?”

Facebook poses this question; the following is my answer in long form.

All the people freaking out over “homeschooling “.

I’m not going to cover every perspective here, because I am well aware of the myriad of different situations going on in the millions of homes around this country that got the news their children will now be home for possibly the next MONTH.

What I am specifically going to address are those of you who are able to have one or both parents at home during the day — especially those of you who are full time educators in some capacity of young elementary-aged students.

First, if you are NOT a professional educator, remind yourself of this every morning when you look in that mirror and wipe the toothpaste spit off your bottom lip: “I taught my own kid to brush his or her teeth all by myself.”

Next go help that same kid or kids to make some breakfast: cold cereal, instant oatmeal, a toaster waffle, or pancakes if you’re feeling ambitious.

Again, remind yourself that you taught those babies surrounding you and eager to spend time together how to pour cereal, pour milk, and push the button on that toaster yourself.

Move on to cleaning up after breakfast and assign someone the task of wiping the table, another to load the dishwasher or wash the dishes, someone else to put the cereal back in the cabinet. You can now remind yourself and appreciate the fact that you indeed are an educator.

You, yes, you, dear mama or daddy are fully equipped EVERY day to teach your child life skills, sorting, measuring, alphabetizing, color identification, fractions, percentages, decimals, peer relationships, authority and respect, interpersonal relationships, space and what’s in space (go outside and look at the moon and the stars). You can and do teach your children every day whether you think about as such or not. Keep doing that. You need it. Your kids need it.

While you’re at it, keep reinforcing their hand washing techniques and basic hygiene. Also, remind them to be kind, to think of others, and to love. They learn that from you.

Secondly, if you are that public or private school teacher relegated to extended time with your own children, I have several recommendations:


  • Look at this time as a blessing. You miss those babies on plenty of days you can’t be with them during regular scheduling. You have been given a gift. 
  • In that same breath though, as a former homeschooling mama I fully know it doesn’t always FEEL like a blessing—so for those moments I’d recommend having your older children read to the younger if that is possible, let them all paint colored shaving cream in the empty bathtub and then take a bath themselves, or send them all out to the back yard with old spoons and buckets to dig for treasure while you regain your cool over a cup of tea or coffee. 
  • See your own children as students of you as much as anything else. While your classroom kids are dependent mostly on your knowledge of a particular subject, your children at home want to know anything and everything you know. 
  • Model patience with the unexpected and uncertain, love of self even on days when that doesn’t come easily, and a thirst for knowledge yourself that leads the way for them. 
  • You are fully equipped with all you need for your own children to come away from this forced time at home refreshed, calm, and remembering it in years to come as a wonderful opportunity you had to be close, do fun things out of the ordinary, and make memories you’d never have made otherwise. 
Following are some other scattered ideas, and I will post more as I gather more official resources. These are off the top of my frizzy, curly head:


Go about your life. Don’t be afraid or intimidated to “homeschool”. If you’re at all engaged with the children in your life, you are ALREADY homeschooling all the other hours beyond the seven they spend in a school building each day. You and your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, neighbor, or friend’s children have literally 1000’s of educational opportunities EVERY day. 

Just be alert, take advantage of the things you already have right at your fingertips, and teach those little ones something. 

  • They can help sort laundry
  • measure how much cereal goes in their bowl
  • sort shapes of pasta
  • go grocery shopping to find the best deal
  • pick a new fruit or vegetable they’d like to try and find out its origin and how it grows
  • plant a seed, water it, and watch it grow
  • Repair a toy
  • Read a story aloud to you or a sibling
  • Count LEGO pieces before building and sort those pieces by color and function
  • Fold laundry
  • Organize their toys
  •  — this is only the tip of the iceberg — and while you’re at it study about icebergs and colloquialisms and why we even say “tip of the iceberg” anyway.

Let your kids lead the way on what they’d like to learn during this unexpected time off and make those answers possible by doing research together. 

Don’t just see it as a time for more shows, more video games, and more self distancing in your own home. Let it draw you closer together so you can remember this time as a fond and productive one!

Leaving a trail of beauty ~

Pam



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