Good day to those of you reading this. We are writing to those who will be homeschooling this coming school year, as well as those who will be having their kids do remote/virtual learning. We hope this post of three tips can be a blessing and encouragement to you.
Grace & Gumption
The first thing that we want to encourage you with is to give yourself and your children grace. We know that the schooling options are, for the most part, less than ideal (whether homeschooling, in person, virtual, or hybrid) and each day you can wake up with different challenges…and attitudes. Remember that some of the most important things in life are not academic achievement, but rather love and joy and peace that we can experience together as a family as we go through this time of continued crisis, challenge, and constant change.
Next, you will need what we would like to call “gumption.” Stick-to-itiveness. Commitment. Endurance. Tenacity. Whatever you would like to call it. We all want what is best for children and we need to be willing to look at the bigger picture and see how we can make that happen. What do we really want for our kids? Is our end goal just for them to graduate from high school? If so, then focusing strictly on academics will be fine. But during this volatile time, we have probably realized that what we really desire for children is probably more than that. We know that we want our kids to be successful in life, whatever that looks like for them. It may be attending college or a technical school, it may be having a good paying job, or it may be doing something that they are passionate about. And, ultimately, even more than that, our desire for our kids should be for them to be Christ followers. This is a great time for us to step back and re-evaluate what truly is our desire for our children and as we see the bigger picture we will know that academics is a small portion of that.
So as we’ve said, give yourself grace to do what you need to do one day at a time, and have gumption to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Determine Your Schedules
An immense benefit of homeschooling and potentially also for remote learning, depending on how your school is coordinating daily schedules, is that it does not have to take a six-hour period of time to educate a few children in your home. You can have short, focused lessons. Rather than a subject taking an hour, it may take only 10 to 15 minutes. There isn't as much “fluff” time at home as there is in going to a school building. There isn't a transition from one class to another, or from recess to lunch, or bathroom breaks. The benefits of schooling from home are huge.
If you are needing to also work from home a lot comes down to determining when school is going to happen and when work is going to happen. For us, we school from about 9:00 AM to Noon, and then Shala works from home in the afternoons, evenings, and some weekends. Some families choose to do a little bit of schooling in the morning, then let their kids go and have some sort of free time while they work. Then they will come back and do more schooling over lunch, and then they will send the kids off and they will do their work again. And finally they might do more studies in the evening. As you can see, some of it comes down to determining the schedule for your family. It can be beneficial too just take a piece of paper and do block time scheduling – from this time to this time is when school is happening, and from this time to this time is when work is happening. We know it's possible. As we’ve said, we've been doing this for almost 10 years now.
We also want to add in that we are aware of several families who are incorporating other family members to help do the teaching. Some are taking certain subjects (the mom teaches science, the grandma teaches math, etc.) and some are doing a rotation of who is teaching each day (dad on Monday, grandma on Tuesday, etc.).
You don't have to have a perfect or ideal setup. You don't have to have a specific classroom for your kiddos. We have school at the dining room table, on the back patio, sitting on the couch, and the kids do some of their school reading on their beds. Although we have seen other families who have a specific room set up solely for schooling. We have a few bookcases that have our school books. At various times, we have used crates that we carry from room to room that would have the kids curriculum. We do have a section for where their pencils, erasers, scissors, and glue can be found easily, along with markers, colors, and watercolor paints. We recommend finding a way for your family to be organized so that things can be put away once they are used and then gotten back out when they're needed again.
We hope these three tips can be helpful for you as you look forward to this 2020-21 school year. Enjoy this time with your kiddos. We only get to pass this way with them once.