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Thursday, March 12, 2020

To Those Unexpectedly Homeschooling Due to COVID-19

Are your children suddenly E-Learning on a computer at home?  Or are you trying to figure out how to get your kids to do the folder of work sent home from school? Are you scrambling to find childcare for a two weeks while your child's school is shut down?

I am sorry this is happening, truly.
No homeschooler should ever be rooting for public schools to be closed! Events your kids have been training for are cancelled, that is heartbreaking. Time with their friends is suddenly taken from them.

The homeschooling community, at least the one I am part of, isn't anti-public school, quite the opposite. Many of my friends have one kid at home and one kid at public school.  Or our spouses work in the schools, or we used to work in the school.

Most of us know it is an vital part of our community, and the teachers are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. Many of us choose to homeschool not because of the people, but because of the system.  I feel the same about foster care system, the system is not my favorite, but the people in it are.  I am truly sorry so many kids, teachers, and parents will have such a disruption to their lives.

This is not what homeschooling looks like. 
Your kids love you and learn an immense amount of great values from you, but they are not used to learning their main academic material from you.  Give it time, and give grace.

This is not what our homeschool looks likeE-Learning Snow Days and crisis COVID-19 closures are not an accurate picture of what a homeschool experience looks like. You are unexpectedly doing public school at home, which is very different than homeschooling.

You didn't get to pick the math that doesn't make your kids cry (and that you have the teacher's manual for when you don't understand a problem).We have had time for everyone to adjust to the expectation of learning Math, English, etc. at home.  Give it time, and give grace. It does get better!!  

We get to pick our schedules. We get to pick our curriculum.We have already established homeschool communities, with co-ops, art classes, and gym classes where our kids get to see their friends on a regular basis. We also choose this. It may be harder for you in the next few weeks because of the nature of not getting to choose to school at home. Again, give grace to yourself and to your kids.  IT DOES GET IT EASIER!

Just like it would be rude for us to say to you "I could never send my kids to public school", please don't say "I could never homeschool" because of this experience. 

Give it time, and give grace. It does get better!!  Find a routine that works for you (see below). Your children will get used to this soon.  Change is hard. 

Your attitude will guide your child's attitude.
 In life, there are decisions made that we have no control over, or do not agree with, but with which we must deal with the consequences. This is one of those times. Your reaction can affect how your students later deal with decisions made by bosses.

Your children will take their cue from you. If your children only hear you rant and rave about how you think this is all "crazy and unnecessary", they will not learn how to cope with the consequence of decisions out of their control.

Pray for teachable moments. 
There are times for validating frustrations over cancelled events and missing friends, but look for the teachable moments in the lives of your children.

 Model how to develop coping skills in the midst of disappointment. Maybe encourage them to start journaling over their frustrations, a healthy coping skill they can use for their entire life. Help them find healthy outlets for their frustrations.

I am in no way downplaying the inconvenience and headaches that several unexpected weeks of no public school will bring. I know they will be severely disappointed over cancelled events, just like you may be frustrated in having to still work or juggle other obligations in light of your children being home. Again, I am very sad this happening.  But we learn through trials, and I will be praying that God shows you those moments where you can teach your children they can do hard things.

Talk about the future. 
Talking about the future lets your children know this too will pass.  This is another time where your attitude will directly effect your children's. Children and teens feel like every moment is the most important, and many will not be able to see past this crisis because of their innate ego-centrism. Talk about the future and assure them this is not a forever thing. Talk about how things are hard now, but it will get better, and you can make the best of it.

Teachers and schools are making plans so that your children do not suddenly forget all they have learned this year. And you would be amazed at how much your children will learn, even when not in a structured learning environment. They may even learn some new coping skills along the way.

Read. Read. Read. 
 If you do nothing during this time but read-alouds, audiobooks, or let them pick their own books, your child will still have a very educational break from public school! Set a goal of 20 minutes to an hour of reading everyday!  Pick classic audio books, like Chronicles of Narnia, and  play it a lunch or while they play legos.

Routine, not necessarily a Schedule
I said ROUTINE, not schedule. Establish a simple routine for your kids, and your sanity may be saved. Keeping your kids on their semi-predictable routine may help cut down on any behavioral issues.

During this time of unpredictable everything, give kids something predictable. Flexibility is key, because they are a bit fragile right now, but give them consistency when their is turned upside down.

DO NOT EXPECT the routine to be fall into place the first day. Your family needs to find YOU groove. Like I said before, change is hard. Give it time. If you are consistent to a routine, even the simplest one of maybe a few educational activities or e-learning in the morning and movie in the afternoon, eventually it will become an accepted routine.

Free Online Resources 
There are a LOT of homeschooling resources out there to keep our children busy over the next few weeks.
Free Homeschooling Resources

Again, I am very sorry this is happening. No homeschooler wishes this type of fear and uncertainty onto public schools. I will continue to pray for peace and a quick end to this crisis.

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