The situation we are in right now is completely shocking to me. Never in a million years would I have believed you if you had told me that all of Manitobans would be homeschooling their kids in 2020.
From people who have been adamantly against the idea, to people who have hesitatingly accepted it in my life, I have been getting emails, calls, and texts asking me the question everyone is asking:
HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU HOMESCHOOL?!?
How am I going to stay sane?
How am I going to keep track of all the stacks of schoolwork we are receiving?
WILL I SURVIVE?!?
So, this is my blog response to anyone who finds themselves feeling quite overwhelmed, panicking, devastated, and afraid: You are not alone. Everyone is in this situation together. Take a deep breath, you will get through this!
Here are the tips I’ve been giving for keys to being successful in your child’s education.
1) Homeschool is not like public schooling. I think the public school system is about to find that out. Feeling overwhelmed by five different subjects for five different kids, and the expectations that are being put on to parents right about now?? I sure am! And I’ve done this before!!
Again, take a deep breath, you do NOT have to do it their way. This is new territory! Teachers are feeling pressured to give loads of work assignments to their students to help them complete their public school curriculum guide. And they are giving instructions the only way they know how! So let’s have a lot of grace for them. Ok that being said, the amount of things I’m expected to do (listening to morning announcements, band practise charts, thirty minute recorded gym times??) Yeah… not happening. Sure, I’ll go on a walk or a bike ride with my kids once it warms up, but homeschooling moms have long realized that we can’t be everything to our kids. We tell them to play outside. Or help with chores! Gym time done.
I set up a room in the basement full of instruments to play with when their bored. Practice done.
Don’t you see? Boredom begets creativity and fitness. Not schedule.
2) Stick to a schedule, but feel free to stop when it’s not working. Yes, the most successful homeschoolers must schedule in time for schoolwork. Preferably when the kids have the most energy, and when everyone’s feeling motivated. For us, this is mornings. I also prefer teaching in the mornings because then they have something to look forward to when they’re done their work (free time in the afternoon) or they have a consequence if they don’t work… an afternoon of more work 🙂
Most of the time, I start our day with prayer and devotions and reading a good chapter book to them. This draws them in and connects us in a fun way. Afterwards, we try to do subject by subject together. Some kids work ahead, that’s ok too! They can finish early as a reward for their hard work! I try to have a snack time or a 10 minute play break in the morning… again, something to look forward to or a consequence to lose. So make a schedule, try to stick to it, scrap it when needed. And don’t be afraid to try something new if it’s not working out anymore! Homeschooling works best when it’s not the same old thing everyday. Kids like a change once in a while!
3) Remember the Important things! In the younger years (grades 1-4) this is math, reading (you to them and them to you) and lots and lots of writing! Seriously, don’t sweat the other stuff… it will mostly be forgotten. (Sorry teachers!) Feel free to put some of the work aside. Just get them writing, as the goal isn’t to have them remember how many buses long a blue whale is, the goal is for them to learn measurement and writing! Keep this in mind. You don’t have to do it all!
In the middle school years or older, science, history and geography do become more important, but by this time your child should be quite independent. If they need help you can’t give, I have one secret for you… YOUTUBE. It will quite literally teach your kid how to build a rocket. Or how to do open heart surgery… and hopefully the assignments they’re getting won’t be that complex!
4) Make a homeschooling room or corner! Seriously, nothing is more frustrating than having homework, laptops and kids learning in every single room in the house. Find a common area to work. Store all the work, binders, textbook and supplies in the same place: A bin, a bookshelf, a desk or a drawer. It doesn’t matter what you use, the key is to be able to have one place to store everything. This will keep you organized.
5) See the blessings. I admit, I had more than one day that my husband came home to find me discouraged and crying. It’s difficult teaching and getting all the kids to get along, while trying to keep up with housework, meal prep, laundry and work! At times it feels impossible. But it does get better with time. And there are SO many benefits to homeschooling! Remember that many people actually choose to do this!
The blessings I’ve experienced with homeschooling:
- Feeling closer to my kids and understanding them/the way they learn.
- Less negative influences.
- More opportunities to teach important life skills… like sorting laundry, doing a cooking class, teaching them how to budget by letting them watch you add up the bills!
- Closer sibling connections.
- Learning to listen and parent instead of pushing them away and surviving until they go to school. These children are in your care for a reason, because YOU care about them more than anyone else!!
- Children learning to understand you are human too! This is a really good thing! They need to know you have emotions, you get overwhelmed and sad too. This doesn’t cause them to feel unsafe, just the opposite! They can finally relate to you!
- Calmer, less rushed mornings.
- More free time/less driving around and chaotic schedule. Ok some of us thrive on busyness… but most of us actually should have slowed down LONG ago. Make the most of this time! Don’t squander it on devices. Spend time together. Let the kids become bored enough to get creative. Once they get over being told what to do every hour of every day, they will come up with fascinating games and ideas!!
- More creativity.
- Housework helpers… because kids as young as three CAN sort their own laundry and clean their room. Now YOU have more free time 🙂
There you have it! The best of my advice. Now… just to store up your favourite secret stash of chocolate or snacks! Trust me, you’ll need it!