Wednesday, 18 March 2020

OMG! So…I’m homeschooling?! Now what?!



Like a lot of families who find themselves in the role of reluctant homeschoolers you are probably feeling pretty overwhelmed right now. As a former homeschooler and current classroom and online teacher, let me start by saying that this is normal and it’s okay to feel that way. Take a deep breath, this temporary and you will get through it. You may even enjoy it! I promise!

Now that you’ve collected your thoughts, let’s get down to business. The first thing I want you to do is to STOP! Stop fretting. Stop worrying over curriculum. Stop trying to force your kids to do things that, right now, they don’t want to do and are likely unable to do because they’ve never experienced this before. For most kids homeschooling is a huge change from what they are used to in the classroom and it takes some time to adjust. Give them that time! Let them adjust. Let them decompress. Let them process all the stress that they are under right now. It’s okay. Really. I promise. Believe it or not, this is part of the homeschooling process. It’s called deschooling. Everything that they are used to about the process of learning will be different when homeschooling. And that’s okay.

Even though you are deschooling right now this does NOT mean you are doing nothing. It does NOT mean you’re letting them do what they want. During the deschooling process I urge you to continue to maintain some type of rhythm within your family. You don’t have to be a drill sergeant about it, but some kind of routine that is the same day in and day out is going to be imperative to their sanity and yours.  Leave out academics for the first week or so. Give them time to explore art, music, movement, handwork, gardening, and baking this first week instead of immediately forcing them into more academic pursuits. This will allow them to decompress and find a bit of goodness and beauty in their rapidly changing, upended world.

When they are ready to begin academic pursuits again you will need to understand that it is going to look much different than in the classroom. The good thing is that it doesn’t take near as long to get through lessons when homeschooling because you are cutting out much of what is procedural in traditional school. Thankfully, some schools are providing tons of guidance as to what needs to be done during this time, which makes it easier for you! Yay! Even better if your school is doing live online classes because they will continue working with their teachers and be able to maintain connections with their classmates. In the case of schools assigning independent work, your job is simply to work with your child to ensure these tasks are completed. Set aside time in the day to do it and help them work through it. If they are reluctant let them step away from a few minutes and then let them come back and try again. Encourage them! Use positive words and phrases even though it might be frustrating and they might be reluctant or even defiant. If it’s difficult for them to focus find a way to engage all their senses so that they can channel their energy and still learn.

What if you have no idea where to begin and no guidance? Lucky for you there are tons of resources out there for homeschoolers. The world of homeschooling and homeschool resources is HUGE! There are live online classes, there are online programs that are self-paced, there are tons of choices for boxed curriculum and even free options as well. Pick one and go with it. DON'T GET OVERWHELMED. Seriously, pick one. Just one. Otherwise, you will end up with tons of curriculum that you will never get through. I know this because, well, let's just say that my bookshelves are stocked with curriculum that will never be used!

I am going to work on compiling a more comprehensive list of curriculum and education options and will posting it soon. In the meantime, please feel free to ask me for help via our Simple Cottage School Facebook page or email at simplecottageschool@gmail.com.

But, in the meantime, a bit of shameless self-promotion:

Check Out Our LIVE online classes at Outschool here:

Check Out Our Self-Guided classes at our website here:

I wish you much luck in your new and exciting role as homeschool teacher and I assure you that this too shall pass. Hang in there families!