How many of you are new homeschoolers? How many are homeschooling because of the uncertainties of your public school system this year? Whether you are new to homeschooling or a veteran, plan to homeschool for one year or for more, I want to share some tips for homeschooling during a pandemic.
Things are not Normal
If 2020 was your first year of homeschooling, I want to point out first and foremost, things are not normal. They are not normal in the public schools, and they are not normal for homeschoolers either. We don’t have access to the same things we did before, and we need to follow the same rules about meeting in groups as anyone else.
What does that mean? We don’t have our co-ops, library dates, and field trips. These are some of the things that make homeschooling so much fun. So please, don’t judge homeschooling on the lack of things we can do right now, we normally have a lot more fun!
Get Out of the House
I said it, and I will always say it. One of my best tips for making homeschooling work is to get out of the house. When the weather is nice, take school to the backyard. Gather on a blanket and do your lessons in the sun. However, in the north, it is getting colder for the winter. How do you take school outside when the weather is bad?
When the weather doesn’t allow for sitting in the backyard and learning, go for a walk. Taking a nature walk, on a windy day, snowy day, during the winter months, it doesn’t matter. There is so much to be learned from walking, even the same path, during the different seasons.
Getting out of the house doesn’t mean going on field trips, it just means to get outside and soak up the learning in the fresh air!
Life is stressful for everyone right now. There is so much happening and emotions are everywhere. If you feel nervous, what do you think your kids feel? Some days, you need a mental health day from school, take it! Gather everyone up and read some books. Not for school, just for fun.
I strongly believe that by reading aloud to my kids, they will learn without me teaching them. I still teach them of course, but taking the time out of my day to read with them will teach them so much more. Not only that, but we can travel far and wide together by grabbing a book.
We like to read chapter books aloud before bed, but we don’t pass on good picture books either! I have learned that these picture books are a great way of teaching older students also.
Listen to Your Kids
This one took me a long time to grasp. It sounds so simple, even without a pandemic. Listen to your kids. They are full of great ideas. They know things they want to learn about. They are ready and capable of learning a lot more than we think!
When I stopped demanding that they do everything I wanted them to do, and I listened to what they were interested in, it helped our homeschool a lot. Yes, I still make them do the required subjects, but I listen when they have ideas about what they want to do next. They tell me the books they like, and that is what they read for school. They tell me things they want to know more about and we find a way to include that in our lessons.
Give Them Many Things in Small Doses
This is a thing that I learned about just recently. This is based on the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling. We have a bunch of fun things that we are learning about but doing small doses (15-20 minutes) once or twice a week. This is allowing the kids to experience many things and finding what they like and don’t like.
Not only that, but their minds have things that can do when they are bored. Yes, I allow my children to get bored and make them come up with things, not electronics, to keep them busy. By giving their minds many things in small doses, they are able to find something they like to keep them busy.