You may have received word from your school district that they are moving to online schooling during the Corona Virus outbreak. If you weren’t prepared for this, there may be a million objections running through your mind at once. You may feel ill equipped, unprepared, scared, unqualified, or overwhelmed. But, take heart, there are homeschool veterans that have been doing this for awhile and want to encourage you. You can do this!
God gave you the children you have because He equipped you to be their mom! Just think about it. Of all the kids in the world, he knew you would be what your children need!
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I’m not saying you aren’t going to lose patience, get frustrated, or cry, but you will grow and learn! You will experience benefits that you may never have considered! For example, conversation will occur that may never have happened. You will get to see where your child struggles, and where they thrive. You will be there when they have that “aha” moment! You can celebrate their wins and help them through their frustrations. You can impart your values to them. You can be present and make memories.
Pray before you start your day. Pray with your kids. Pray for your kids. Bless them. Lay your hands on them. They may think it’s funny, but there is nothing more powerful than a blessing! Show them you believe in them. Pray when things are going south. Get alone and pray. Just pray! Pray for peace. Pray for grace.
A Place: You may not have a specific place to homeschool, and that’s ok. See how your kids work best. The kitchen table may work. The floor may work. You may have to try a few things to see what works best for your particular child. They may work best in a fort under their desk!
Activities: I’ve homeschooled with babies, toddlers and now teens. When you have multiple kids, set aside time on Sunday night to get out some activities the little ones haven’t seen in awhile. Some of our favorites were kinetic sand, play doh and puzzles. If I opened a new puzzle and barely got it started, a child would inevitable be drawn to finish it! Remember, that especially for kindergarten and younger, play is a fabulous way of learning!
Brain Breaks: For active children that have trouble sitting still, have plenty of breaks. Snack break. Song break. Anything! You can also help active children by keeping them moving while doing school. They can throw a bean bag to you when they practice spelling words. They can go up and down a stair or throw a ball in a basket when they answer a question correctly. They can practice math facts while jumping on a mini trampoline. Movement may drive you crazy, but it’s good!
Schedule/Routine: Most kids thrive with routine, even if it’s a flexible schedule. Our kids need a little normalcy in these troubling times. Having them get dressed, get some exercise and a regular bedtime is helpful for behavior and attitudes.
Set Expectations: Set expectations that this is school and it’s different than normal home life. Lay down a few ground rules. If they wouldn’t act a certain way in their school, then they shouldn’t do it at home. They wouldn’t tell a teacher that they don’t feel like doing a math page, so they shouldn’t do that at home either. If you are the rewards type, then having a system in place is helpful.
Homeschooling comes with its fair share of challenges. You’ll be amazed how you’ll learn to navigate these new waters in the next few days. Patience will be key. Patient with your child who is learning to sound words out. Patient with your children who are arguing again about who’s turn it is to use the laptop. Patient with yourself for when you yell or mess up.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from homeschooling is that I’m not going to mess my kids up! I do my best and let God do the rest. I regret that I was often hard on my oldest and expected perfection even when she was little. I think all my kids will tell you that even though I want them to do their best, I’ve loosened up a lot. I’ve learned that it’s not usually as big a deal as I make things. For example, it’s ok that my second grader sounds out words and doesn’t spell everything correctly. She’s writing and being creative! I’ll teach it – little by little – but also with a big dose of encouragement! My relationship with them is more important than if they get a 100% on their math test. God has given you this gift of time with your kids. Don’t waste it.
Oh, and stay in community! Ask your friends what’s working for them. Tell them your struggles. Join facebook groups. You are not alone in this!
An article written by a counselor: Parenting Your School-Aged Child Through the Corona Virus Pandemic
If you are an entrepreneur homeschooling, check out Homeschool CEO.
One of my favorite homeschool resources is Teach them Diligently. Although the conference in Waco is cancelled this year, they do offer a lot of online support and have a podcast as well.
A friend of mine put together a resource specifically for those homeschooling during the Corona Virus that has several websites and lots of good info for beginners!