Mar 23, 2020

5 tips for the New Homeschoolers: the coronavirus special

Hands down these are historic times. I can honestly say even though I’ve always thought “I wonder if people would like homeschooling if they tried it,” I never thought of a mass forced school-at-home trial period.  

So for what it’s worth…welcome!

The hardest transition is any transition is the beginning especially if you did not choose it.  (hello, new homeschoolers) So I’m sorry.  I know this hard…hard for so many reasons but I think in many ways because this was not your choice.  But it doesn’t have to end there.  I know there are some of you out there that have toyed with the idea and have never had the chance, so I’m excited that you are given the chance.  And for those who really not happy to have this “chance” I hope some of these ideas will help alleviate your stress.  

So when I was thinking of this blog I thought of all the moms who I talked to before I homeschooled.  I came at them with a pen and paper and asked them…how do I make this work.

Their advice is the same advice is what I’m going to give you!  Are you ready?!?

Here’s 5 Tips for the NEW Homeschoolers:

1. Relax:

UGH HOW CAN I RELAX AT A TIME LIKE THIS?!?!? NO seriously relax!

You can.  What your kids remember at this time is more the tone of the experience than what they memorized at this time, or how many worksheets they completed.  Part of homeschooling is just enjoying the chance to be with your kids.  I know that you didn’t sign up for this experience (none of us did) but since it’s here enjoy the extra time with your kids.  This is the chance to make your relationship stronger… you can witness how they figure out a math problem, or what subject is harder for them (if they have assignments) or what type of activity makes them feel most creative.  

2.Your Schedule is your own:

Hands down this is probably the hardest to grasp and I struggled with this a lot (and some days I still do).  A school day does not have to look the same as a traditional school…because it’s not a traditional school.  I’ve seen several people pop up on pinterest with schedules galore for the new homeschooling parent.  I am all about scheduling things BUT that doesn’t always work AND IT’s OK!  Did you read that last part?! It’s ok.  We are in a weird time where parents are being told to work from home as well, so there’s a lot to juggle.  Can you all sit at the table and work together?  Do you or your kids work better in the afternoon and not 9-5?  Be graceful for yourself and your kids as you figure out how and when you get school and work done.  This is a transition for everyone!  Even our family is in transition as my husband is now not traveling, as well as all of our activities are cancelled.  

3. Read:

I’ve written about this before but hands down one of the best things to do with your kids right now can be a simple and as powerful as reading.  It gives you quality time with them as well as they are learning concepts, relationships, and vocabulary.  We literally start every school day with reading.  Both fun books as well as books on artists or history or science and poetry.  If you have older children, ask what they are reading?  What are they studying? Do they find whatever it is, interesting?  How would they write it different?  There is so much you can do with books…you can fuel them into art projects, a platform for a lesson on a variety of topics, you can find an educational video on youtube to support the idea that the book might have provoked!  The ideas are endless! You can see how we implement reading into our day.

4. Fail Fast:

Wait! What?! My brother told me this a couple of weeks ago and I was in shock that it stuck with me.  If your lessons or school day didn’t go as planned today.  That’s ok.  Failure is just finding something that didn’t work…there’s more ideas and time tomorrow.  So if sitting at the kitchen table didn’t work for everyone, can someone work on the couch while someone works at a table tomorrow?  If starting your day at 7:30 am didn’t work for you…that’s ok…start your day at a different time…maybe your child will be more rested and you will have had a moment to yourself before the day starts.  

I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work. -Thomas Edison

5. It’s ok to be bored:

One of the biggest things that I’ve heard from new homeschooling parents is that their kids are bored.  What if I told you that, that’s ok?  First off take the pressure off yourself to strategically fill every moment  of their day.  That’s not your job as a parent…it might feel like it sometimes but it’s not.  Being bored can actually be an amazing thing for kids and adults as well! Check out this article here where they explained different psychologist and researchers opinions on how boredom can benefit your kids

Manoush Zomorodi gave a great Ted X talk about the benefits of boredom, if you'd like to check it out!

So there it is! Some of my five tips to the new homeschool parent.  Listen we’re all in this together! And even if in the end homeschooling doesn’t fit you or your life, that’s totally fine, but I truly think that this little moment of homeschooling has the potential to strengthen not only your relationship with your kids but the relationship as a family! It’s ok that it doesn’t look like mine or joe-schmo down the street…all it has to look like is yours.  Give yourself and your kids, the grace to weather this transition and if you need inspiration or help reach out. How has your experience with homeschooling been so far?

Schooling with you!

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