When I was a little girl growing up in rural New Hampshire, I was homeschooled. At the time, it was very avant-garde of my mother to keep us all home for elementary school. Now, a few decades later, coronavirus has our schools closed for the foreseeable future, creating many unintentional homeschooling families.
And I’m here to assure you that from a kid’s perspective, it’s awesome.
Our days were loosely scheduled, with the morning reserved for schoolwork and chores, the afternoon solely for play. This was, undoubtedly, my favorite part of being homeschooled — the free time. When I did attend public school in middle school, that was the thing I noticed the most — how a lesson could take so long. I couldn’t believe how long it would take my 7th grade social studies class to get through a chapter; 45 minutes seemed awfully long.
The benefit of working one on one (and with your parent, to boot) is that the lessons are tailored to you, and if you’re uncertain of the material there is no social pressure to not ask questions. It can make lessons easier to understand — concepts were broken down in a way that made sense to my young mind. My mother met with us individually to go through our schoolwork, teaching us the concepts from each book, ensuring that we understood the concepts by doing some of the practice problems with us. Once we had gone through our materials, we were off to complete the work that would be checked the next day with our mother.
I don’t remember specific lessons or our exact weekly schedule, but I do remember the ease with which I learned at home with my mom. I remember finishing my school work and my chores and dashing out the door by 11 a.m. to play outside in the woods with my siblings. I remember knowing that as soon as I finished my schoolwork and chores, I was free to play for the rest of the day. I loved that.
So while having our children at home for the next few weeks may seem daunting, remember: We as the parents set the tone for our homes. We have the ability to make this time at home positive and filled with love. If we are able to implement a schedule and homeschool, great! Use this time to help develop a love of learning in your child. Discover the type of student they are and where their strengths and weaknesses are at school. Teach them things they aren’t able to learn at school: baking, outdoor exploration, or whatever your forte is. We should take advantage of this time at home to really learn with our children. About our children.
If teaching your child certain lessons isn’t coming easily to you, try your best, but mostly focus on making memories with your children. Go for walks, play outside, complete house projects together, sort through their clothing, play board games (and really teach them the rules). Check out these ideas for your time at home. There is more to learn in life than simply academics, and we can all use this time to learn and grow together as families.