Homeschool Hints: Encouragement for Newbies

So, you’ve found yourselves suddenly thrust into homeschooling. It wasn’t part of your plan. You don’t know where to start. You’re worried about your kid… that you’re going to ruin them academically, that they’re not going to know what to do without seeing their friends, that you all are going to kill each other in the coming weeks of ALL. THE. TOGETHERNESS. Congratulations. You’re getting a glimpse of what most homeschoolers experience daily. But have no fear. You’re going to be fine. In fact, you’re going to be better than fine. You’ve been training for this since the moment you became a parent. Because you already love them more than anything, you are equipped to do this. From one homeschool parent to another, here are some homeschool hints for you.

You’re going to be fine. In fact, you’re going to be better than fine. You’ve been training for this since the moment you became a parent.

Take a breath and make a simple game plan

You don’t have to figure out all the details for every day all at once. If your kids’ schools haven’t given you materials to use, don’t despair. If you have little ones (under 10), grab all the kids’ books, educational games, puzzles, Legos, Play Doh, etc. and put them all in the same, easy to reach place. Anything to stimulate the brain. If you have older students (10-14), get them watching some documentaries on Netflix/Amazon Prime/etc. A quick Google search will find something. They’ll groan a little, but they also might learn something. Older high schoolers can do PSAT/SAT/ACT prep. This takes care of grammar and math.

Take a few moments to come up with a loose schedule for your days at home. If you are working remotely, you’re already trying to figure things out, but lucky for you, so is everyone else. Right now, more than ever, people are sensitive to the fact that you’re at home with your 3 year old, dog, husband, and possibly shoddy internet. We’re all a little more understanding. So breathe in. Breathe out. Make your plan. Assign your tasks to kids.

Steer into the skid

You’re going to have a plan. Then you’re going to alter the plan. Then you might have to just throw the plan out. Your kids/work/life are going to take a natural path. Steer into it and don’t fight it. Everyone’s personalities are going to come through and you’ll find that one kid might like to get ALL their assignments done in the first 2 days of being home while another kid works at a slower pace. They don’t have to work at the same pace. You will find rhythm. It might take a little bit, but you will find it.

Skip the screen

There are a BILLION online resources for your kids. I know I’ve recommended some screen options and some of your schools might even be doing online work, but avoid the temptation to let your kids disappear behind a phone and computer the whole time they’re home. They won’t be better for it. You’ve been given the gift of being their primary influence for the coming days/weeks. Enjoy it. Have them helping you with lunch prep, garbage, laundry, yard work, etc. Working alongside someone bonds you. That’s even more true when it’s your children.

Phone a friend

Helping with algebra and have NO idea how to help with algebra? Call your friend the math whiz. Or your kid’s teacher. The teachers love their students and many feel very out of sorts NOT being able to help them right now. There are also great online resources. I have a secret to tell you… homeschool parents don’t know all the subjects they teach their children. We all use other resources to help us, too. Khan Academy is a GREAT resource for math for all ages.

Also, use this time to connect with your friends on the phone or via Google Hangouts/Zoom/Facetime. Texting is fine, but hearing voices and seeing faces are so much better. Encourage your kids to do so, too.

Also, feel free to ask a homeschooler for tips on managing your day. Many homeschooling parents balance work and schooling. In fact, I know far more parents who work AND homeschool than those who don’t. So, we have figured out a few tips and we’re dying to share them with you if you need them. We also understand that every home is different and just because your kids’ friends are following the same curriculum and list of assignments, that doesn’t mean their family’s routine will work for you. We get it and can help.

See the blessing

This situation is so unique. This is the first time in a century that schooling at home is what the majority of the country is doing. It’s a strange time and there will be bumps. But hang in there. You got this. You’re not alone. We’re all in this together. You’re being given the gift of more time with your family. If you’re working remotely, your kids might finally get a chance to see and understand what you do for a living. You get a chance to have lunch together. You can all hang out in your pj’s all day (that’s a major perk!). We all get to stop and see people stepping up to do good, to stand in the gap, and to help one another.

Hang in there, friend.

Check out a few other Homeschool Hints posts we’ve shared.

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