The thought of homeschooling through Covid-19 can be so daunting for many parents. This is especially true if they have had no experience with homeschooling. But in so many ways, it can be an amazing time for you and your family. In this guest article, you will discover how well this can work for your family in spite of the fact that the vast majority of American families never thought they would consider homeschooling.
Many school districts across the country are still struggling with how best to handle this uncharted territory. And because of this situation, homeschooling has become a viable option for many traditional school families throughout America.
You're in Good Company!
If you knew that virtually every parent that decided to homeschool through Covid-19 faced feelings of overwhelm and inadequacy, would it make you feel better? In fact, if you knew that once they got started and found so much support online and in their community, would it make you feel like you actually could handle it? And maybe even thrive and love it?
Looking at how so many people are starting to homeschool through Covid-19 right now reminds me of my start in homeschooling many years ago. My family was in crisis mode and facing some huge changes in life. And there were also some changes going on in the small private school that my two children were in at the time. So I decided to bring them home to homeschool just for that one year. They were in elementary school. So I figured I could handle that one year and then just put them back into the school the following year.
Things Rarely Turn Out as Expected
In the course of that year, I realized how much I loved spending time with my kids and how much better they were able to learn concepts and get through their school day when we did it at home. And by the end of the year, we were permanent homeschoolers.
I don't want everyone to think that their story will necessary end the same way. Some people will love it and never look back. And some will be glad to return their children to school once this crazy time in our history is over. There are many ways that homeschooling through Covid-19 is much more difficult, namely because there was no way to plan ahead for it. And at the end of the day, it is your family, so it is your decision to make and nobody's job to judge the decisions you do make for your family.
Introducing Melanie Sevcik
My dear friend, Melanie, is a fellow homeschool mom and has a wonderful blog over at Homeschooling Teens 4 Success.
The following is a guest post from her blog called Covid-19 and the Accidental Homeschooler. She gives great support and advice for those who have found themselves thrown in the midst of homeschooling through Covid-19 in a very accidental way. I hope that you are encouraged by her wise words!
Covid-19 and the Accidental Homeschooler
Thanks toStay At Homeorders from the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, we have an entire country full of homeschoolers.Right now, it is looking like no one will be returning to school until the fall, if then. As a homeschooling parent, my goal here is to offer some help in the way of ideas, and resources for those that now find themselves in this situation.
You can see my background story here, but the long and short is that I have homeschooled my children since kindergarten. My first is graduating this year-so we are finishing our 13th year. There are some things it took me years to learn, like time is a precious commodity. My hope is to speed this up for you so that you can make the most out of this time you have.
Find the Right Mindset
As hard as all this craziness is, my hope is that you are able to carve out some sweet family time. Your kids will remember this COVID-19 experience forever-this has certainly been one of the major world events in my life. It may be the first for your kids as the oldest of the students, this year’s seniors, were born around 9/11 and therefore have only our stories.
This will be theirs. Help them create good memories amidst the turmoil currently happening in our country and globally. Help them work through their fear and keep stressing the positives…”it wasn’t as bad as everyone thought, things will begin to open up, life will return to normal again-though that normal may look different that before.” These are good reminders to us all!
Encourage Sibling Relationships
While they might be missing friends, encourage the growth of sibling relationships. I remember from my school days, my time with my sister and brother was limited to weekends which were usually chock full of activities. I didn’t get to know them well. We were all in different grades with different friend groups.
Even if there are big age gaps amongst your children, this time with family will make a lasting impression. Encourage older ones to spend time with younger sisters or brothers, whether it be games or crafts. On nice days, outside games are great to get in a daily dose of sunshine and fresh air. I have more ideashere. (Obviously, I am thinking of the ideas centered around time at home.)
In addition to this, make family time a priority. What a great time to make dinner together! For our family of 6, this works best by dividing into groups of 2. One group makes sides, one makes a casserole or main dish, and the last group makes dessert.
This may not work for your family if your children are too young, but perhaps your children can take turns helping mom or dad with dinner. Have themed meals such as around the world, Italian night, Mexican night, or family parties. Do some creative baking. My daughter lovesRosanna Pansinowho has a great you tube channel, Nerdy Nummies. Check it out!
This has been a very lonely time for older people, some of the most at risk for dying from COVID-19. My father, a 77 year old widower said he would rather be with family but can’t. This makes me so sad, I wish we could be with him. Concerned about him, my daughter sewed him a mask. He loved the thought and is thrilled to have a mask when he needs it.
I realize not everyone can sew. (I surely can’t!) Writing letters to grandparents or older people from church, dropping care packages of baked goods on door steps or mailed as necessary, sending coloring pictures are great ways to let many know they are loved and not forgotten.
Phone calls or face time type communications is another way to share the love. Sometimes it is just the little things that brighten a lonely person’s day.
All of this is teaching your child about struggle, empathy, and how to care for others on multiple levels. (Physical, emotional, spiritual) It will raise the spirits of the giver and the receiver!
We all normally live lives of crazy busy…there is never enough time to do all we want…until now. This time is a beautiful gift.
I do homeschool all the time so COVID-19 hasn’t changed my school routine a bit, however, our life has been radically altered as well. We were very involved in activities and church life…and now, nothing.
After some thought though, I realized it didn’t go to “nothing”, it went to “different”. Outside relationships are being handled differently. What we do at home is different too. Among many things different, we are organizing like crazy! (I really need thrift stores to open up so I can drop off TONS of stuff!)
We are outside more. We are waving and talking to our neighbors more. We are thinking of other people more, what people need. What we have here is a lemonade from lemons opportunity.
There is so much good that can be had and I am grateful that through this COVID-19 pandemic we are breaking the status quo of life-even for just a few months. (Although trust me, I am also eagerly anticipating a return to normal. I do hope to remember the lessons learned though!)
When it comes to school work…
Slow down and take a deep breath there as well. Homeschooling is different than what you are doing…which is more “school at home.” This means you are still responsible for making sure your child is following the teacher’s directive…sometimes multiple teachers’ directives.
If you multiply these directives by many children, this in itself feels like a full time job…and you are probably working from home or have the stress of being furloughed. Homeschool is easier in this sense because we are the ones issuing the directives…it is the difference between being an employee and a business owner per se.
If you have high schoolers, allow them the opportunity to handle as much of this as possible. It promotes learning responsibility and most ought to be capable. Even middle schoolers can take email assignments and condense them into an assignment sheet or whatever makes sense. You just may have to guide them through making sure they have everything correct and completed. This may seem hard at first but they will get the hang of it, and life will get easier for you.
If you are worried about your child lagging, realize there will be a lot of review when this is all over for everyone! and they go back in the fall.
Some Homeschooling Secrets
First, almost every curriculum out there has review already built in from one year to the next, especially in the younger years AND always in math and science! Additionally, with teachers fully aware of the COVID-19 spring school at home, they will probably be doing extra review anyway.
Secondly, your child is probably engaging in self-teaching through reading or writing. Most of homeschooling is throughself-taught methodologysimilar to what your children are now doing. We give assignments and they learn through reading, writing, and discussing. They learn a lot this way, trust me!
Thirdly, without other classroom distractions and not having to wait for 30 other kids to be on the same page, your child is probably learning at a faster rate.
All of this is to reassure you that they are probably doing fine and come fall, they will be just fine. Everyone is in the same boat. Let that be a comfort to you.
Head Out of the Box, Mama
When this school year ends, you will likely have three months of summer. Perhaps longer. (I am very hopeful we will not have another COVID-19 shutdown on our hands but I can’t promise anything.)
Hopefully summer vacations and camps can go on as planned as things open up, but whether they can or can’t, here are some suggestions for now and into your summer:
- By now you have realized that ascheduleworks best. You may need to alter the schedule, but keep a schedule! It will keep you all sane!
- You can have your younger children spending time drilling on math facts, vocabulary, or state capitals. There are a ton of great apps out there that make this fun.
- Life Skillstraining is great to incorporate into every day life. Even young children can learn things by being in the kitchen with you or help you organize closets and drawers.
- Make sure all your kids, teens especially, aregetting enough sleep. This is a great time for them to catch up on some zzz’s.
- Older kids and teens can spend timelearning about jobsthey may be interested in and doing research on potential life paths.
- Reading a fun book together is always a great idea! Take turns reading or use a service like Audible. Also, this is great to do in the morning with coffee and scones. (Or treats from Starbucks!)
- Do fun science experiments together.
- Watch documentaries together.
- Watch good and inspiring movies together and talk about afterward.
- Be creative!Think and do things outside your norm! Your kids will learn a ton from you and about you!
My hope in writing this is that it will be reassuring. I constantly questioned myself when I began homeschooling. There is more to learn in life than just what’s in the textbooks.
COVID-19 and the resulting shutdown isn’t anything anyone of us would have predicted when this school year began. You didn’t choose this lifestyle like I did, and none of us chose to be in our homes without extra-curricular activities and social outlets.
I hope that with this COVID-19 struggle and hardship, your family is growing through this stretching experience. I pray that you are closer as a family and that the time together has been a welcomed gift and a ray of sunshine in an otherwise difficult circumstance.
I would love to hear your thoughts or any ideas you can give other readers in the comments below. We all learn so much from each other.
If you want to watch an interview I did on COVID-19 with an author/friend of mine who focuses on helping women through life, click on the link below.
If you liked this article about homeschooling through Covid-19, I think you will also love the following articles: