What a crazy turn of events, once upon it was unusual to home school your child, then in a breath our normality was transformed to crazy, and everyone is in an essential position to provide education from home. The emotions you may well have experienced would range from overwhelm, panic and unworthiness to head on organisation with a daily plan so you can hold it all together. These emotions are what every parent who chooses to home school, initially goes through. So if you are still going through the “Am I enough? Can I do this? Will my child learn what they need?” please rest assured you are feeling normal emotions, and it is okay, you are doing just great.
When you first start to home school, the advice generally received is let your child have time to transition to the change. So relax, take a step back and enjoy life. I understand many schools are offering lesson material for parents to work with their children, and this is an invaluable asset. Remember, we are all living through a major historical event. In a few years time (or sooner even) there will be movies on these days of chaos. So allow your child time and space to explore and express their feelings, release anxiety and discover their resilience. Good mental health is a gift we all want for our children, so time to play, craft and create will support them whilst working through their thoughts and emotions.
As a parent, you also need time to process your emotions, as you have had a massive change in life, and now have no escape from the constant demands of life with even more placed upon you. So do not expect to be a perfect parent, accept that you will need time out. Accept what you can achieve and be pleased with it. Tomorrow is another day.
When I began home schooling about 10 years ago, there were few free resources available, and you could fit all of the local HE families into a large room with meet ups being the highlight of the week. As there were so few of us, quite a bit of socialising was done via skype. Social media socialising is so reminiscent of what we are circumstantially forced into today. The blessing is, that there are so many social media means to catch up with friends, and we know we are all being the new normal (at least for now).
So what are good resources, the first thing I would suggest is spend your money carefully. With exception to the exam years for my children (and my youngest daughter should have been sitting her IGCSE’s this summer) we did not really spend a lot on resources. There is now so much free on line that you can utilise. But there is also your child’s imagination to work with.
If they want to play, encourage a game to be invented. Allow children to be inventors, creators, authors, actors, musicians, chefs … what ever their hearts desire. For we do not all grow up to work in an office behind a desk. Our children are growing up to enter a world we cannot imagine, a world that does not exist in the form we know. So the skills set we are teaching our children must be adaptable, they need to be able to apply knowledge rather than just be able to recite facts, they must be able to cope with change – just as we are today.
Joe Wicks has very kindly stepped in to become the lead on PE – which is a blessing to all (even for those who do not have children J ). https://www.intofilm.org/ is a fantastic resource if your child is into films, and they have made lots of resources free during this challenging time. https://www.freeprintable.net/ has lots of great printable resources, from colouring pages to puzzle pages and printable games. https://www.coolmathgames.com/ is another free site with lots of free math/ brain training games.
Naturally different age groups will have different needs, with younger children potentially wanting more play and one to one time, to older children possibly wanting more constructive direction. You may find a story being told at the beginning of the day inspires creating with modelling material (home made or otherwise) or artistic scenes with paint, or possibly even re-enactment with toys. This is all learning at its best.
But what else can you do? – life is not all about computers! How about exploring a country each week? Look at a map, discover a few greeting words in the language and look at the typical cultural foods. Then maybe have a night to cook a meal in that style. It gives younger children a reason to decorate the table with place mats of the map, or pretty picture. A purpose is really essential for a child to want to learn.
Use the current climate as a springboard. Look at how pollution has dramatically deceased since the world has slowed and travel has minimised. Listen to the sounds of nature – and how you can hear vibrant bird song once again. Converse about how we can do our part with climate change, and the effects the options have on the planet. This is again a unique time to be evidencing such dramatic changes. It is a powerful visual for children to see how changing our ways can help our planet.
Look at how we can reduce waste and how we can upcycle, perhaps even have garment upcycle challenge with friends and share with each other. There are plenty of free videos on Youtube to help. Let us call it the #homeschoolupcyclechallenge – just for the fun of it!
With my daughter, we are currently looking at statistics on how the number of confirmed COVID19 cases is being reported as a percentage of the nation, and comparing it to other diseases. It is certainly helping my daughter keep her thoughts in better perspective.
I am also in the process of setting up some FREE LIVE parent and child meditation classes to help you through this special time. Please get in touch if you would like to join in, please contact me via my contact page
When home educating, you are not really a teacher, more a facilitator to your child’s education. So have a chat with your child, discover what they are interested in, and what they feel passionate about and support them within the bounds of the current climate to explore and enjoy their healthy interests. So make a bucket list, and start making the most of this special, historic time to connect with your family.
Dawn has home educated both of her children, whilst running her own business, having started her HE journey over 10 years ago. “Whilst my home schooling time is coming to an end, I would do it all again, and for the whole journey. Home schooling can follow many different methodologies, but the truth is, it enables you to create a unique experience for your child and to enjoy being part of the journey. “