Have you ever noticed how sometimes a bad situation can suddenly turn into a good one? An inability to find work locally leads to an enlistment where you meet people you will be friends with for the rest of your life. A forced move allows you to learn about a new area that you end up loving and never wanting to leave. A falling out with a babysitter has you taking an extended vacation from work that turns into loving being a stay at home mom and dedicating all your time to your kids.
These are all things that happened to my family and me and through them, we have learned to look for the positive in tough or unplanned situations. The current situation in our country has parents in an intimidating unplanned situation but thankfully, most of them are making school closings a positive for them and their children.
I have been talking to a number of parents in my area that suddenly
finds themselves essentially homeschooling their children and in every conversation, I hear positives.
We go for a walk together every day and everyone looks forward to it.
The kids are improving in subjects they struggled in.
We have time to play games and go on hikes.
I am understanding my kids’ struggles better.
I have also heard more than one family say that they are using school closings as a trial run. They have been curious about homeschooling but were not sure how to try it or how to transition to it. Another family said that they had started out homeschooling but switched to public school during a difficult season in their life. They have been wanting to switch back but were not sure how well it would go.
They all now have their trial run, unplanned but helpful.
I have gotten a number of questions during these conversations though. Where do we start? Should we go ahead and withdraw them now or wait? What do you do for science? What if I want to still follow state standards? These questions are wonderful questions but they are ones that really need a longer conversation than what they have time for at that moment and are more of a personal decision. I do give them a few suggestions though.
Keep it simple: With teachers sending work home, start with that. Figure out the daily routine that works for your house and the “school” routine that works for your kid. It is important to remember that your kiddos are just as confused as you are. There will be an adjusting period but keeping the assigned school work as the focus is imperative. Use the time to really reflect on whether or not this would be a good fit for your family.
Have fun: When we forget to enjoy the journey, we tend to forget to have fun with this. As many parents have said to me, what they enjoy about the school closings is that they get to go on more adventures, spend more quality time together, and do more projects with their kids. Keep all of these up. Do not let stress and worry over schooling bog you down and destroy the fun that you have found. This then adds stress to the house and to your kid and suddenly, things are not going very well.
Start with a box: For those who feel they should go ahead and withdraw their kids, a “boxed” curriculum is a simple way to go. I put the word boxed in quotes because not all curriculum packs are physical. All in One is online but includes all the subjects so it is “boxed” and there are other programs that are similar in that they are on a computer. A “boxed” curriculum provides you with the core subjects and often a daily or weekly checklist of what should be done. I also suggest that parents do not try to do any add-ons right away. Trying too much at once can easily overwhelm everyone and make the trial run backfire.
Don’t stress state standards: While you do not always need to meet state standards depending on the type of homeschooling you are doing, some parents still want to abide by them. State standards have always intimidated me and when I went back to school for an education degree, they scared me even more for a time. Truth be told though, handling state standards is very similar to homeschooling. You often do not realize what you are covering in your day to day and during fun times till you sit down to think about it.
Let’s say you cooked pancakes with your kiddos this morning because they wanted to learn how. Just in that activity, in English standards you have covered “I.1.1- Formulate questions to focus thinking on an idea to narrow and direct further inquiry” and “RI.12.3- Read and respond according to task and purpose to become self-directed, critical readers and thinkers”.
In Math Standards it covers “5.NSF.2- Solve real-world problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions with unlike denominators”; “5.NSF.5 Justify the reasonableness of a product when multiplying with fractions”; and “5.MDA.1 Convert measurements within a single system of measurement: customary (i.e., in., ft., yd., oz., lb., sec., min., hr.) or metric (i.e., mm, cm, m, km, g, kg, mL, L) from a larger to a smaller unit and a smaller to a larger unit”.
Take it a step further and you can include Science standards with “5.S.1A.4 Analyze and interpret data from informational texts, observations, measurements, or investigations using a range of methods (such as tabulation or graphing) to (1) reveal patterns and construct meaning or (2) support hypotheses, explanations, claims, or designs” and “5.P.2B.1 Obtain and communicate information to describe what happens to the properties of substances when two or more substances are mixed together”.
When it comes to the standards, I know a number of teachers who print off the grade level they are teaching and either cross out or highlight the standards they have covered as they teach so they can keep track of the year. Simple as that, an intimidating concern is now a small step in your day.
It looks like a lot but all you did was make pancakes!
There are so many things right now that are topsy-turvy. Jobs are either changing or in question. Campouts and get-togethers are canceled. Face to face interactions with friends and socializing in a larger group is now impossible. There are so many concerns and stressors related to this unplanned event in our country. In the unplanned events tough, we often learn so much and right now, many are learning the value of spending more time with their children. Some are even thinking about making this their new normal.
No matter what you learn in this time of unplanned school closings, stay joyful.
(All standards are from https://ed.sc.gov/instruction/standards-learning/ )
Greetings! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is homeschooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah-ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we are going on 8 years now. I am also a military spouse, so we have the added joy of being a military family with some of the complications that come with it. As a family, we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have downtime, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs, or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.