Are You Suddenly Homeschooling?
A number of our family friends have recently found themselves suddenly homeschooling due to COVID-19 concerns. As you can imagine, they have questions as to how it is all going to work. While their children have some work provided by their schools, their questions are more about how they can nurture and support them at this time. So, we’ve been talking about making time to enjoy read alouds, how to nature journal, baking and eating together, creating art and crafts, and I’ve encouraged them to carve out some time for art and music appreciation too, so they get a real taste of the Charlotte Mason feast.
We know that some of you reading this have found yourself in a similar situation, suddenly homeschooling for a little while, or you are considering doing so. I encourage you to reach out to people you may already know who homeschool and ask them to share their thoughts and advice on how to do it well for a short period of time. One of my neighbours dropped by yesterday for a chat (at a distance) as she has brought her children home for a while. I was more than happy to give her some tips and support and let her borrow some bits and pieces that would be suitable for her children. Not sure who you can ask? Then, you are welcome to join our My Homeschool community and ask your questions on our online forum. We have various resources that you can use while schooling at home, including a dedicated forum on “Suddenly Homeschooling” and we are happy to support you at this time. You can find more information here.
How To Suddenly Homeschool
I know there are a lot of comments out there at the moment that “all” you have to do is read books to your children or, at the other extreme, people are sharing their colour coded teaching schedules with everything in place from day one as “how to do it”. Now, let me share with you that our family reads a lot and I do use colours to organise my teacher’s planner, so it isn’t that I’m against those two things, but I do believe we need a slightly different approach at the moment.
Yes, read aloud and yes, have a rhythm sorted out – you will need both of those – but also approach suddenly homeschooling as something you can realistically do for however long you may find yourself doing it for. Teaching school at home is likely to be a decision you’ve made quickly and that you hadn’t really anticipated so you may be unsure how to start. Michelle prepared a post to help people homeschooling in emergency when we first started getting queries weeks ago and if you haven’t read it, I encourage you to take a look. Then look for the pencils, pens, glue, scissors, paper and paints you have at home and put them altogether if they aren’t already. Consider what you already have at home, including books, jigsaw puzzles, board games, documentaries… whatever else you already have on hand that you may have some more time for now.
Making Space To Learn & Work
Space is important, especially if one or two parents are working from home. The children will need somewhere to do their activities and yes, this is likely to be the dining table. We’ve recently had a shuffle of furniture to accommodate my husband working from home. Our library is now his office and what was our school table is now his desk. So, for now we’ve brought an outdoor table into the space where we homeschool and it will work fine. I started working online from home more than 14 years ago, but I know for many it is all new. It is great that many workplaces are offering guidelines and clearly stating their expectations on how working remotely from home will look like (no tie required, but definitely not pyjamas). Consider what requirements you may have for working from home, particularly if the door of the working space can be shut. I know how difficult it can be to take a work call when the children are noisy!
Homeschoolers Can Help
For the seasoned homeschoolers reading this, you may be finding that you are at home more than normal, with many events and extra-curricular activities cancelled. Like me, you may have given up space and furniture to your spouse so they can work from home at this time. I know many of you are using the time to catch up on work, read some more books, make entries in your Book of Centuries and Nature Notebooks, and play some board games. There is suddenly more time to do the things we often don’t get around to, so, for all our subscribers you will find a new resource including handicrafts, something that Charlotte Mason included in all her programs. We also encourage you to add your voice to the Suddenly at Home forum and support those who find themselves in this situation. You have a wealth of wisdom and experience to offer that can really help others out.
Looking for Something Extra?
There are a range of educational resources available and many companies and groups offering various deals and opportunities at this time. The My Homeschool team have already collated hundreds of online videos to share with our families and we are happy to continue to share resources that we think will support our members best. Here are a just few to start with:
Want to take a virtual field trip to the Galapagos Islands?
You know how we like science videos at My Homeschool and we are happy to share that Mystery Science have curated their most popular science videos for everyone to access. Ranging from 15 minutes to 45 minutes these videos look at a range of different science topics and accommodate a number of ages and grades.
Looking to improve typing skills? What about Typing Club?
We will be sharing more great resources through our Community Forum, so do check there if you are interested.
Making Your Suddenly Homeschooling Memories
It was a couple of weeks ago when my husband and I were discussing how we would approach COVID-19 with our children. Watching what was happening in other countries and wondering what could happen here, we decided then that we wanted our children to live through these unprecedented times feeling especially nurtured and supported. We thought that trying to create for them fond memories of all the things we enjoyed together and books we had read could help to counterbalance the uncertainty and challenges of the times. That’s exactly what our friends are also trying to do while suddenly at home, and it is also something Sally Clarkson recently chatted about on her podcast.
Whether you’ve been homeschooling for years, are just dipping your toes into schooling at home for a while, or are still considering what is best for your family, we can all appreciate the learning that happens at home in so many ways each and every day. Enjoy!