homeschooling through covid-19

Encouragement for Those Who Will be Homeschooling Through Covid-19

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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

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.)

Family Time

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!

Helping others

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!

Slow Down

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.

COVID-19 and the accidental homeschooler

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Make sure all your kids, teens especially, aregetting enough sleep. This is a great time for them to catch up on some zzz’s.
  5. Older kids and teens can spend timelearning about jobsthey may be interested in and doing research on potential life paths.
  6. 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!)
  7. Do fun science experiments together.
  8. Watch documentaries together.
  9. Watch good and inspiring movies together and talk about afterward.
  10. Be creative!Think and do things outside your norm! Your kids will learn a ton from you and about you!

In Conclusion

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.

My Interview with Tiffany Godfrey can be found here.

If you liked this article about homeschooling through Covid-19, I think you will also love the following articles:

What is Digital Literacy and Why Your Students Absolutely Need It

Unique Classroom Ideas:  Get Your Students Published!

Writing Prompts that Reinforce Social Emotional Learning


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Comments 60

  1. Yes, we definitely need all of the encouragement we can get. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down-literally. We all have challenges to face because this virus doesn’t discriminate. We are all in the same boat. I am an elementary teacher who was managing my own students and their families doing distance learning for the first time and managing my own young children. It was extremely challenging.

    But to be honest, I am ready to do it again this Fall. It is not safe to open schools. I will do what I need to do to keep myself, my children, and my students safe and will do a damn good job. 😉

  2. Love how you pointed out the importance of siblings in this setup. Found it to be crucial too for my friends who did homeschool. The older kids became mentors to their younger siblings. Lovely to see — and helps them learn leadership as well.

  3. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I need to read this. Homeschooling for us was tough. I am not a teacher and even though the school was providing virtual learning, I still felt I needed to compensate for the learning that is not being provided.

    We are all doing this together. I need to hear some encouragement.

  4. Home schooling at this point of time is the best. Covid 19 has caused much damage to our educational system. Currently, I and my siblings are home doing personal studies. It’s never safe out there.
    Thanks for the links you gave, will follow it and read more .
    Your post is very great.

  5. I really needed to read this today. We’re going to homeschool our kids again, and I have been dreading it. I got the kids through last semester in once piece, but it was hard.

  6. This is such a great read, I don’t have kids but Ill have to share this with some friends that do. I didn’t know a lot about his stuff.

  7. A friend of mine started to homeschool since the Covid started and she is struggling with it. I can’t imagine myself doing it but have nothing against it.

  8. I homeschooled my girls all the way until they entered university. I love this post and your advice, especially the reminder that every story is different. It’s so much about attitude and having fun with it. Kids learn that’s what they do. Every homeschool parent wonders if they are doing okay by their kids. For me, I eventually got reassurance with both getting into top universities and both getting scholarships and honour roll. Plus, I ask my girls today, and they say it was the best thing I ever did for them.

  9. Those are all great ideas for homeschooling during COVID. It is hard to find normalcy, but there are creative ways that we can do things, and still be safe and happy. I guess the parents who were already used to homeschooling their kids before the pandemic will have an easier time. It will definitely be an adjustment.

  10. There are some great resources here. My son is still in daycare and I’m glad I don’t have to homeschool yet. But now I’m considering it when the time comes,

  11. This article would be such a reassuring resource to any parent that is rightfully worried about how well homeschooling will go for their kids. Education is so important and we all need tips from those with experience in this field. Thanks for taking the time to provide the benefit of your knowledge through this guest post. It’s a great read during this worrying time for many.

  12. Love to read the blog. Very important at this situation for kids. Make them study at home. Home schooling at this point of time is the most necessity for kids studies. I like the detailed idea and points you mentioned in this post.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  13. Homeschooling in this time obviously the best choice.
    Those who can still study at this time should be happy atm. There are still many people out there in society have to struggle with the Covid and even the disasters.

  14. Oh, gosh. I’m so concerned for kids and parents everywhere right now, especially working parents. Such a tough time. I’M having a tough time and I’m not a kid OR a parent!

  15. Homeschooled my youngest. I can tell you it was not easy as i am no teacher. Thanks for this article on homeschooling.

  16. I think for a lot of parents, homeschooling will be an opportunity to see what it looks like for schoolwork and home life to mix in a very interesting way!

  17. I worry for parents and I know that trying to figure out what to do about schooling this year is so difficult for everyone. I think we just have to be supportive of our parent friends, no matter what they choose.

  18. i loved being homeschooled in junior high and high school. but i know it was a lot of work for my mom with both me and my brother. having a community of fellow moms to talk with and get recommendations from and rant with is probably what she appreciated most.

  19. I am homeschooling too now for my son. I loved reading the encouragement which you have shared. Well, the online classes have eased the pressure a bit and the fact that my son has matured too.

  20. I’d LOVE to stay home during Covid and homeschool when school starts back up. I have to wok though, so it’s not happening.

  21. Homeschooling may be a whole new experience for some so I’m glad you shared these encouraging words with us! Thank you for these, looking forward to your next posts!

  22. I personally think it’s for the best for parents to homeschool or have virtual school at home. It’s for safety and health.

  23. Thank you for sharing this article! I’m about to start homeschooling my son and this shed some light! I was feeling really lost!

  24. Great post! It has been a really difficult school year, especially for a parent who was not used to homeschooling or to be at home at all, even though the difficulties it has been a great time to learn and spent with our families. For me it has been a wild adventure that I am happy to be living.

  25. Home Schooled is very tough but as we all know that we can’t do anything. Here schools are closed till November. But in our cases home schooling is now what I am loving now. Spending time with kids and I know now what my kids are learning these days.

  26. I feel incredibly grateful that I am able to work remotely right now while my kid is doing remote schooling. It’s kind of a mess, but they are all getting the hang of it and we know everyone is home safe.

  27. I teach primary kids. And I agree with all the points mentioned here. This is the time to set a schedule with kids, focus on life skills and improve reading and writing skills.

  28. i am sure this will be helpful for other homeschool mamas. i wish i had been homeschool as a young person. loved being homeschooled through jr and high school but seems like there are so many great opportunities for elementary school kiddos.

  29. I wish we could homeschool through Covid. Or at least do online schooling. I teach and they gave us no choice, so I have to go back.

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  30. Our 3 teens here at home are now in homeschooling and gladly we done experienced any issues (although of the teens says her teachers seem very slow in giving them activities which makes her feeling bored). Overall, they are all good.. well except our pantry area which turns to very busy as well.

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  31. Such a great encouragement post is this. My son will start his homeschool next month and I’m a bit nervous. Hope everything will be ok.

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