So it’s July. Covid-19 is still here. The world is in an uproar. Numbers are on the rise again. And schools are trying to figure out what to do for the new school year. So are you. Maybe you’re a little freaked out by it too. I’m right there with you.
Maybe you’re even like “No way, I’m not a teacher. I work for a living. I can’t stay home and do this again… But I’m also not sending my kid out there with all of this going on.” You are NOT ALONE. You don’t even have to be the “teacher”. But I’ll tell you right now, you are more of a teacher than you realize. Your kids revere you. They look to you for direction. They know you will do what is best for them, no matter what.
So what do you do? Honestly, there are a LOT of options. You can do just about anything! And if you decide to keep your kids home you don’t even have to do “school at home.” Instead, you can homeschool. You might be thinking, “Um, aren’t those the same?” Let me tell you how they differ.
When you school at home, your kids are attending a class at a scheduled time, sitting still all day with almost no breaks. Then they have homework that night. While it might be “ideal” in some ways, it really will be hard on a child, even a high schooler. And if you are working and can’t monitor everything they are doing, to keep them focused will be an even more difficult task.
Homeschooling on the other hand means teaching anywhere and everywhere. You know those “teachable moments” we always talk about? Yeah, pretty much everything is one of those! Don’t get me wrong, you still need subjects and work and curriculum. But your kid might do their best work laying upside down from the couch. It doesn’t have to “look like” school. And homework? Well, all their work is done at home so once it’s done, it’s done. More time for activities and play.
So how do you even manage this? Little breaks throughout the day can bring lots of relief to the kid who can’t sit still. Set a timeframe or goal to reach and then give a 10-15 minute stretch break. Take extra time for lunch so they can properly digest their food. Maybe your kid hates getting up early and that will give you a couple quiet hours in the morning to get stuff done and then you can take a break to get them working on school. There’s all kinds of ways to make it work.
Of course there’s the curriculum question. How expensive is it? How many books? How do I choose? Honestly, start looking now, but don’t let yourself get too overwhelmed. Because you most certainly can. Instead, look at how your kids learn best. Do they like to do worksheets for homework or do they hate them? Do they like to explore and pick a subject to learn about randomly? Do they pick up everything they see online quickly and research and learn a lot there? All those are options. There are curriculums in all those places. There’s even math for kids who like Minecraft. If you don’t have time to sit with your kids but they do well online, you can even get an all-online curriculum for them to work on. Really, the sky’s the limit on your options. Since it’s such a vast realm , I’d suggest asking another homeschooler who’s been in it for a while to help you sort through the possibilities. Or, you can talk to a homeschool counselor! There are dozens of people who give guidance to families on choosing curriculum and getting started. HLA has a team of counselors on staff that are happy to help answer questions about just that and walk alongside you as you continue.
But are you going to continue? I mean, some of us are only doing this because we don’t have any other choice, right? Maybe, but maybe not! Maybe you’ll like it. Maybe you will find more time for things other than homework after you’re done with the work day. Maybe you’ll go on more adventures and have more fun. Maybe you’ll sleep in later and watch more movies as a family. Maybe you’ll decide you like it! Maybe these big changes will become blessings in disguise and you’ll discover a new normal. If not, that’s okay! You don’t have to commit forever, but you can definitely do it for now.
- Rachel Adams