This week many of you will become "homeschooling" parents without warning. I am sure you are feeling overwhelmed, frazzled, and questioning whether you can really do this. You are not alone.
I was a public school teacher for over eight years and then I taught for a private co-op. During this time my husband and I decided to give homeschooling a try. How hard could it be? I mean, I taught in the elementary setting for many years, I have a Master's degree, and three children of my own. Easy. *Insert eyeroll here.*
Teaching your own children at home is NOT the same as teaching children in a classroom setting. Sure, there are similarities but your approach has to change.
So here are a few things to keep in mind as you embark on this temporary journey.
1. Don't try to recreate the classroom in your home. I do have a homeschool room because it is full-time life for my family, but you can "do school" anywhere. Read a book on the back porch, make a tent in the living room, take an art easel outside, practice math facts at the kitchen table.
2. Sitting for hours on end is not necessary. It shouldn't happen in the classroom and it definitely should not be expected at home. Practice sight words for 10 minutes, math for 20 and take a break. If your child is on a roll, let it continue, but battling for two hours of seatwork? Give it up. Remember a classroom teacher attends to twenty or more children at a time with varying reading levels and capabilities. Most likely, you have one to four children (which is still a lot - don't get me wrong). The amount of time you have to spend on school work when working one-on-one or in small groups will be much less than in a classroom setting.
3. Read. Everyday. Read aloud magazines, books, or play audiobooks.
4. Move Around. Play, bake, craft, hike, walk, play with Legos, use recyclables to build a boat. Learning is not just in the form of an app or worksheet. It is all around your home. Practice those bike skills, how to make a sandwich or scramble eggs, fold laundry, plant a garden. Life skills. Tackle those while you have the opportunity.
5. Start a journal and reflect on your day. They can draw pictures or write in their own words. You can have them dictate. This is a part of history and to record how your family spent these days is important.
6. Check out virtual tours from museums, Brain Pop is giving away subscriptions, educational apps (Reading Eggs, Math Seeds, StarFall, Teach Your Monster to Read - just a few starters).
7. Rest. It is okay to not busy your children with activities, crafts, online schooling and packets of work all day long. Do not try to fill every minute they would have been at school. You will exhaust yourself and everyone else in your home. Enjoy the flexibility and if flexible isn't your thing check out my schedule options below. Also remember plans change. Even experienced teachers who plan thoroughly have to change their plan. They plan for downtime and quiet time. Let your kids be bored. Set a boredom timer and tell them you cannot hear they are bored for x amount of time (I recommend 20 minutes at age 4 and add 10 minutes for each year).
You've got this! I will be posting here and on my IG and Facebook with ideas, lessons, and videos to help!
My Schedule without napping little ones
My Schedule with napping little ones at home.