School Closures vs. Homeschooling

Starting on Friday, my little homeschooling blog has gotten a big spike in stats. No doubt this is due to the number of parents who are now required to teach their children at home due to the school closures surrounding COVID-19. I wish I could tell them right now not to worry.  And, this probably isn’t the best time to read my blog. When I started homeschooling, I realized quickly that homeschooling is very different from a regular classroom. Classroom materials, teacher lessons and strategy does not work in a homeschool environment. And kids who are used to the school environment usually need a long time to adjust to homeschooling, so don’t worry, if things don’t start off well.

A lot of homeschoolers may give you advice on how to “deschool” your children, let them do their own thing, let them play, etc. While I think this can be good advice, I’m not sure that’s what you need right now. You just need to get through the next two or more weeks that this is going to last. Unless you think you’d like to try to keep homeschooling after all this over, try to follow your own instincts on how to get through this. What is best for you and your kids?

I’m sure your teachers and administrators are already working hard to create online learning for your child, and they will guide you through it. Having said that, remember that your main job is to try to keep your child from losing the skills they have learned in school, and your online lessons will probably not take as long as your regular school day. It will be helpful to try to keep your regular routine (same wake up and bedtime etc.), but don’t try to recreate school at home.

You can fill in extra time in any way that seems right for you and your children. Read books, play math games, explore your yard, watch documentaries, and play board games together. Ultimately, everything is educational, especially if you are spending quality time together and having conversations. Remember not to push your children too hard, if they can’t or won’t do something easily. Contact their teacher before you get frustrated. (Homeschool parents are not naturally patient! We understand!)

Alternate fun stuff with the work stuff. Enjoy your extra time together. I wrote a post with several ideas that my boys and I enjoy doing together. It may or may not resonate with you, but maybe it’ll inspire you to come up with your own thing.

What it comes down to is that I want to say: don’t stress out or think that this is “too hard.” Homeschoolers have had the luxury of time (sometimes years) to figure out a routine and find the right materials that work for their families. So don’t get frustrated, if you don’t feel you’re doing a good job. I’m sure you’re doing just fine.

Feel free to email me, if you want to ask me questions. I’m always happy to chat with homeschool parents via email (for free), and I’d be happy to do the same for you. Good luck!