Homeschool...I bet you didn't see this one coming!

So, you always said you would never homeschool, right? Well so did I and then we became a homeschool family two years ago and you just became one due the latest circumstances. While my family has done it all- all public, all homeschool and some kids in and some out. It looks like we’re back to all home-school for now.

photo by Kandice Halferty Photophraphy

I don’t see myself as a super homeschool mom which is why I don't share often about our journey but I know the ropes, at least compared to when I first started! One thing I've learned is that everyone's homeschool journey looks very different. With time I've become more confident in my homeschool style which if you're curious is my own version of a Charlotte Mason style. Take a deep breath and don’t freak out. I feel pretty at ease with our school plans. My oldest and youngest already homeschool, so we’ll just work our middle child back in to the mix. Her teacher (as I’m sure your kids teacher) is working like mad to get learning packets together.

First things first, keep things simple! Outside play is a good thing and maybe this time of less structure will be a good thing, gotta look at the positives.

This is not the post that will lay out how to schedule your day and lay out all the best curriculum. Really...just make the best of the situation and try to do a few new things together. Here is a short list of some things that will hopefully help from one parent who's done this transition before.

  1. Don’t worry about duplicating a mini school at home. Work with what you have and enjoy that. You’ll have to figure out what kind of learners you have and add yourself to the mix. We usually start with table work like math and writing because they are more focused in the morning but every once in a while we’re slow movers so we start in the living room with our read aloud. Remember you’re not a regular classroom so you are flexible to change your day and have each day look differently, it’s a perk so go with it. I honestly found especially when we were newly transitioning from public school to home, is to not have it like school at all. The more you try to make it like public school the more it just doesn’t fit. Make it fun, this is just six weeks and use it as a time to  learn new things together.
  2. Know that some days will go better than others so cut yourself and them a bit of slack. Navigating this new life of home learning is a bit different and challenging for everyone to get the hang of. Do not set un-realistic expectations for yourself or them, those end up leading to feelings of failure which serve no one any purpose.
  3. Breaks are necessary and the more the better. Breaks are good for you and them. I prefer shorter lessons where they can remain focused, but I expect their best work. While I like to finish a subject before a break (that’s usually an incentive to stay focused and complete their work)  if things are dragging out and attitudes are changing for the worse give everyone a break. When attitudes become negative it can really spiral out of control quick, it’s best to break and give everyone a bit of a reset (even you.)
  4. Start slow for your sanity and their attitude. Maybe only do a few subjects a day the first week and then start to slowly incorporate more. It’s way too much to do it all, everyone needs time to get used to the whole thing. It’s a good idea to start by having some of your subjects be in the form of games. There’s a lot a great  board games out there. If you start off with a crazy long schedule it’s going to be a recipe for bad attitudes that lead to the longest 6 weeks of your life.
  5. Different is going to be good for this transition. Honestly this transition is going to be a bit different due to the circumstances. Kids might be a little scared or confused with everything that is going on, so keeping things light is going to be best. Your teachers will most likely be sending some packets home. Do some of that, and then add reading and maybe learn something new together. If your kids are middle school age down, keep things simple. 

Our homeschool approach is a rich literature approach, where read alouds are a constant.

This has worked out wonderful for us and you can add handicrafts, science, history and even math exercises that play off of what you’re reading. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite read alouds. These are great for all ages and I think you’ll even find yourself adding some of these to your favorite book list. Most of these can easily be found at your library (sadly ours is closed for the time being and maybe yours is too) Ebay is also an amazing inexpensive resource and you might even have a few of these already sitting on your shelf.

 
photo by Kandice Halferty Photography

Favorite Read Aloud Books

*All of The Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler
Milly Molly Mandy & The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lancaster Brisley
The Chronicles of Narnia books by CS Lewis
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
*My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Swiss Family Robinson by Johan David Wyss
All Margaret Henry books; our favorite is  Misty of Chincoteague
*Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Sarah Plain and Tall series by Patricia McGlocklin
Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
Anna Green Gable’s by LM Montgomery
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

 *my top picks

 

So in a nut shell, this most likely is not going to be a permanent thing for you. Use this time to enjoy a less structured life, that children really thrive in and don’t often get a chance to have. Encourage play, outside if that’s possible but play none the less.  Cook with them, read with them, craft with them. Learn new things together. Throw in a few worksheets that their school sent home and that's it. A couple hours a day will go a long way, just keep it basic. When it’s all said and done this is only six weeks. Maybe your kids will look back at this time fondly remembering that time when as a family they read some great books that helped shape their way of thinking (yes I believe books are a powerful thing), started some garden seeds and made some pretty epic cookie recipes. This could be an amazing 6 weeks if you let it, so make the most of it!


Erinn Boitano
Erinn Boitano

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