I was speaking with a parent the other day about school and she thanked me for assisting her years ago with having her children homeschooled. I’d already done it for both of our children with much success but like anything else in life, everyone’s experience is different. We were speaking about how many parents criticized us for pulling our children out of top private schools to homeschool. Now, we’re both getting multiple calls asking for help, guidance, and confidence from some of those same parents that thought we were out of our minds seven years ago.
Homeschool is what many families are doing right now. It’s certainly not new and has been around for over 100 years. Like many things in life, you have to go into it with a patient, open mind, and be willing to accept the challenges, especially if you have never done it.
When this global shift occurred in March, so many children, parents, and teachers were stressed, agitated, and overwhelmed with being forced to go from a traditional model to a more modern but unfamiliar way of learning. My children already had a taste of being taught online when it was not forced upon them, so this made the transition easy because it was familiar and when we first did it, it was a very successful experience. I praise it.
Many schools are grappling with the challenges of moving the curriculum to an online format, but huge adjustments for all are crucial. We cannot carry on a traditional way of learning and bring the same model, schedule, and expectations to the home environment. We have to assess the situation and determine how to make it work for all.
Is sitting in front of a computer screen for 7 hours a day doing work truly the only answer? Absolutely not. For us, we average no more than 3 to 4 hours a day, bringing upon less stress and less anxiety. Our home is calmer and the energy feels right. You have to do what is right for your child, not for you.
As a former teacher, if I were able to teach other people’s children, I knew that one day when I had my own, I’d do the same. It was a commitment and dedication I made to myself and to my newborn children so I would not only be fully available and present as a parent but also able to guide and be involved in their personal learning journey and not depend solely on a teacher to do it.
It pains me to know that some children are only fed when they are physically present at school and are safer at school rather than at home. They have no WiFi and no computer to learn virtually. That is beyond saddening. I share with you some guidance below. I understand that every home and circumstance is different.
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Create a designated workspace
If extra rooms aren’t available, use what you have. Set up a workspace on the kitchen or dining room table. Maybe all you have is a dresser––clear half of it off and set up a workstation there. It’s important to create an area that feels good, decluttered and sets the tone of learning.
Use your resources
Find educational offerings that do online learning as day-to-day business. This way they know what they are doing and how to properly support your child, family, and offer necessary guidance.
Search for teachers support
There are plenty of Youtube videos teaching certain courses for free. Beyond videos online, there are plenty of K-12 home school programs like Laurel Springs online private school. If you’re financially able to put tutors in your budget, I highly recommend it. A tutor can help relieve some stress off of the parent trying to be both the teacher and the parent which can lead to fighting with your child regarding their learning. You can also ask friends and family members if they can help in some capacity or with some of the subjects. Communicate with your present school and be sure to ask for help and express your concerns.
Let your child know what is expected of them. Put school hours into effect and respect your child’s learning time and area so they can recognize it as a school.
Be sure they are getting quality sleep. Although they may only have to walk in the room next door and not get up so early, sleep is still as important for focus and retaining information.
Have lunch, meals, and snacks prepared the night before. They can go to the refrigerator and get it out themselves. Have lunch together if you can! After all, they are learning alone.
Be sure that regardless of age, your child has water nearby and is moving. Blood flow is important. Sitting at the computer can pose health concerns later: spinal issues, lack of circulation, etc. Walk to another room, do jumping jacks. Stretch. Take breaks. Take deep breaths. Keeping moving is important now more than ever since no one is as active staying at home.
Be sure your children communicate with friends in some functional and realistic manner that is safe, suitable, and comforting for all involved. One thing I did was invest in inexpensive tents and sleeping bags and set them up in our backyard so they were able to have a sleepover with two people invited. They each had their own tent, but also the company of a friend. This may not work for everyone, but use what you have and do what you can do.
Our attitude makes all the difference. Our children––like anyone else––feed off of our energy. We do not have to say a word. Aim to stay positive and focus on the beauty of being together, safe, and healthy. Know that no one is being bullied or forced to practice drills. Use this temporary time to the best of your ability. Focus on the shine of the light.
Certified Holistic Health Coach, Author of The Thriving Child
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