Learning

Unexpectedly homeschooling? Resources and reassurance to get you started and keep you going

If your child’s school is shut and you’ve found yourself unexpectedly homeschooling, you are not alone.

On the 11th March 2020 –

Over 300 million children worldwide are suddenly being homeschooled, as the Covid-19 epidemic shutters schools for weeks.

Kerry McDonald

By the end of March 2020, this figure had risen to over a billion, as…

185 countries have now closed their schools and 89% of enrolled learners the world over are no longer able to attend their school or college. 

UNESCO

Making a considered decision to home educate our children was scary enough. But for many of you right now, there is no choice. School is closed, for who knows how long, with scarcely any time to prepare emotionally or practically. AND in the midst of a global pandemic.

These are not normal days for anyone. Even those of us used to living without school. Not news but we don’t usually stay home all the time either, except when we want to, of course 🙂

But as with any challenge we face there are bound to be bright spots. And I’ve collected some of those bright spots right here, just for you. Well, the ones I’ve found on the internet at least 🙂

Whether your children will return to school as soon as they re-open, or you’ve embraced the idea of living without school for the long-term, the posts and resources that follow are packed with ideas, inspiration and encouragement to support you and your child to make the most of learning at home.

But first some reassurance 🙂

You don’t have to homeschool.

Yep, I’m saying it… Even though your child’s school is closed and you’ve found yourself slap bang in the middle of this crazy covid chaos, you don’t have to recreate school at home. Even just trying will pile on the stress, and there’s more than enough of that in our lives already.

If your child’s school have set work for them to do then sure, support them however they’d like. Give them space and time to focus, keep them well-stocked up with snacks and drinks and help them out when they ask. But for your sanity and theirs, if they don’t want to do it, give them a break. 

Maybe you’re worried they’ll fall behind? Whatever your definition of ‘behind’, it’s not very likely since everyone at your child’s school is in the same boat. And as the figures show, much of the world is in the same boat. When school’s re-open, what teachers want, what we all want, is for the children in their classes to emerge from this as physically and emotionally unharmed as possible.

More on this : 12 John Holt Quotes on home education and our role as parents.

Children learn all the time, even without school.

Learning is a natural, life-long process. An evolutionary design to give us the best chance of survival. And nowhere is that more obvious than when we look at our children. Babies learn to walk and talk, incredibly complex actions, with no need for formal instruction, through a process that is highly efficient. Children, the world over, naturally assimilate the culture in which they’re born, even though human society and customs vary enormously from place to place, group to group and family to family. 

And learning doesn’t stop when we reach a certain age, or when school is closed. Much of the knowledge and skills we value as adults, we gain outside the classroom. History is jam-packed with amazing technological advances, discoveries and developments, not a teacher or textbook in sight. Humans are naturally resourceful and resilient despite the advent of formal education, not because of it 🙂

More on this : Supporting natural learning : A step by step guide.

Our relationships matter most.

Healthy relationships make us feel safe, secure and strong. And we could all use a hearty dose of strength right now 🙂

Whether our children usually attend school or not, our primary role as parents hasn’t changed. Nurturing loving, kind and trusting relationships, providing the care, support and stability our children need, just as we’ve been doing their whole lives.

By meeting the needs of our children today, we’re protecting their future. Ensuring they have the best chance of rising to the challenges ahead, whatever they may be.

More on this : 5 ways to be a kinder parent and Why kindness is the ultimate superpower.

It’s okay to be emotional.

There’s a lot to be emotional about. Unable to visit our family and friends, plucked from our normal routines, even just going to the shop leaves us fearing for our own and others safety. We’re all feeling the strain.

And it’s okay to let those feelings out. For us and our children.

We worry that once we allow the emotions to tumble and spill, we might never regain control. We worry we can’t make it better, we don’t know what to say. It can be painful to witness our children’s distress, we take it so personally and worry we’ve failed them.

But allowing and accepting our children’s uncomfortable feelings, builds confidence and trust, in themselves and in us. Freeing up space and providing perspective, they can think more clearly. Knowing we’re there for them whatever their feelings, our children are more likely to move through their sadness and fear, their hurt and anger towards peace and hope.

But we’ve got to take care of our own airspace.

Just like our children, our emotions are running high. And we need time and space to process our thoughts and our feelings, in a way that’s healthy for us and for our family. As an external processor I tend to think out loud. And while I want to be honest and open with my children, they don’t need to be burdened by my every thought or unfiltered fear.

And just because we’re living through a national international emergency, doesn’t mean we’ve got to catch every news update. A break from the flood of new information and some space from the relentless waves of old news rehashed and repackaged gives us a chance to relax, to calm down and recharge.

Make time for quiet, meditation or yoga or writing. Find peace in a book or a blog that’s uplifting. Watch YouTube and films that are soothing and hopeful, and then when we do check in with the news, we’ll be in a much better place to cope with what we find.

Focus on fun.

Seeking out joy is surely more important than ever. Faced with so much fear and uncertainty, finding ways to have fun offers comfort and distraction. Helping us feel closer to each other, strengthening our relationships and building our bonds.

Having fun can be a powerful way to release our emotions, tears of laughter bring welcome relief from our stress and our worries. And happiness is good for our physical health too, supporting our bodies to fight off illness faster and bounce back quicker.

And while our attention is so focused on fighting the spread of viral infection, we know that our moods and our attitudes can be just as contagious. Bringing more laughter and fun to our days helps set the tone for our lives and offers us all an oasis of calm amid the chaos.

More on this : Joy lists : A Home Education Essential (what they are, why you should have one and how to get started).

Rock those routines.

With nowhere to go and no-one to see as so many of us are staying at home and sheltering in place, we’re in danger of losing all sense of time. Without the usual external structures in place, creating our own routines and rhythms can give shape to our days.

Agreeing when we’ll meet together as a family, to eat, play games or watch movies offers a focus from which everyone can organise the rest of their time. Working backwards from when we want to get to bed or forwards from a morning meeting, mapping out our intentions can boost our energy and enthusiasm.

Retaining flexibility and freedom in our planning’s important to us, known far more for our fluid sense of time than fixed timetables round here. But some rhythm and predictability is calming, and a reassuring reminder that we still get to control how we spend our days.

More on this : 9 Home education routines that brighten up our days.

Looking forward.

We all like to look forward in anticipation of good times ahead. Daily, our routines can include activities we’ll all look forward to. And maybe it helps to make plans for the future, only if that sits well with your character and temperament, no need to ramp up the frustration.

But one day this period in our lives will be over. Who knows when and how that will look, but this will pass. The world will move on and we’ll look back, hopefully with much to be grateful for 🙂 And considering how our children might remember this time can help us stay calm, look for that joy and remember to smile.

Now, I know this might seem like too much, or maybe not enough 🙂

And that’s why I’ve collected a range of resources, some with more or less emphasis on structuring our days, but all geared up to support you and your family learning at home.

More ideas and inspiration …

Homeschooling during coronavirus? Try the 3 hour homeschool solution!

Suddenly We’re All Homeschoolers! What? You Weren’t Trained For This?

Coronavirus Turned Us Into Homeschoolers – Now What?

An easy how to homeschool plan.

How to create a super simple homeschool routine.

Finding Yourself Suddenly Expected to Homeschool During a Pandemic? It’s OK if You Haven’t “Got This” – I Haven’t Either:)

Don’t panic about your child’s education.

There Has Never Been a Better Time to Start Unschooling

Lucy at Life Without School

Learning Resources we love…

Brave Writer

Goodreads (check out my guides to Goodreads here and here)

Read Aloud Revival

Futurelearn

Crash Course

Mystery Science

Khan Academy

It’s okay to be smart

SciShow

Let’s go live with Maddie and Greg

Nurturestore

The Art Assignment

And if you’d like to more about how home education works for us –

What kind of homeschoolers are we?

Take care all x

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for including me! 🙂

    1. Hayley says:

      You’re most welcome Ross, found your books and your blog a great source of comfort and reassurance over the years, thank you for that. And for stopping by 🙂

  2. Hayley,

    What a great post, full of information and very reassuring. Thank you so much for including my post!

    I hope you had a wonderful Easter Sunday with your family!

    1. Hayley says:

      Sue, you’re very welcome. Loved the sentiment of your post, of course 🙂 But also the practical ideas and topics you covered, so helpful. Much for us all to learn right now, as always. Thanks for your lovely comment x

  3. This is wonderful, Hayley.

    Favourite line, “Humans are naturally resourceful and resilient despite the advent of formal education, not because of it.” Yes:).

    Thanks very much for including my post!

    1. Hayley says:

      Very welcome Erin. Love the list of questions you provide in that post, we keep coming back to them. And so glad you liked that line. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, always much appreciated 🙂

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