On Unexpectedly Homeschooling

I’ve been thinking a lot of Covid-19, and how its effecting all of us, throwing us into some unprecedented circumstances. Specifically, I’m thinking of all those parents who are unexpectedly and for an indeterminate amount of time homeschooling their kids.

As you may know, we’ve homeschooled our kids the last few years, so I have lots of thoughts for and about those suddenly find themselves responsible in new ways for their kid’s education. First, I want people to understand that choosing to homeschool and being unexpectedly thrust into it with no choice is very different. Please understand that I’m not coming from a place of superiority, but compassion. And I need to point out these difference because this understanding is foundational. Because I chose this lifestyle, I was able to spend hours researching homeschooling approaches and educational philopshies, pouring over different curriculum options, and picking an approach and resources that uniquely fit my families needs: my kids’ learning styles and my preferred ways of teaching. We’ve spent over two years building this lifestyle and tweaking our routine, its not something that came overnight or even in a couple of weeks, and its still evolving. Don’t expect a good routine to be instantaneous is your new circumstaces, either.

Because our education is so personalized and interest- driven (mine or the kids), our days will look very different from our homeschool friends; and a home-educator-by-choice will have days that will look very different than yours, as an unexpected and temporary homeschooler. We thrive homeschooling, you are probably just trying to survive and get through. Many of you are dealing with due dates and worksheets and online classes, without any choice in the matter, prior preparation, and while also working through the stress of a pandemic. Some of you are also working from home on top of that. The bottom line is that, for many reasons, this is a stressful and unprecedented time, and its going to look different for everyone.

So my point is this: be careful about who you listen to, and how seriously you take other people’s advice about how to go about all this. Social media is wonderful, but there are so many voices offering so many things. From advice on how to homeschool, to schedules, to free resources or live classes, the internet has never been filled with such an abundance of advice and resources for home educating parents. If you listen to too many other voices, you’ll drown in them, you won’t be able to listen to your own voice. And here’s the thing. Only you know whats best for your family in this time. Only you can choose how to structure your days while your kids are home. Only you and your family can decide how you spend your extra time together. If you try to follow someone else’s schedule, or fit in too many of the free live online classes, you’ll be overwhelmed and burn out.

So mama, if you find yourself unexpectedly homeschooling for a little while and feel overwhelmed: thats okay. And its okay if you feel like you’re doing just the bare minimum, or that you should be doing more/everyone else around you is doing more and better. Or that its hard, or is somehow not working. Ignore everyone else and focus on what your family, what your kids really need right now. Maybe its more structure, maybe its less. Maybe its lots of conversation to help them process the changes in the world around us, or lots of quiet, or lots of play. Maybe its read-alouds over breakfast and board games after dinner. Maybe its documentaries and walks through your neigbourhood. Just don’t compare what you’re doing and how getting through school with your kids looks to what anyone else is doing, whether its your friend, neighbor, or a homeschooler. I think you might find that by thoughtfully considering what you and your kids need most at this time, you’ll find that you begin to thrive. You don’t need other people to tell you how to do that, you only need yourself. You got this!

If you have any questions about anything or are curious about how we homeschool, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Best of luck!

One thought on “On Unexpectedly Homeschooling

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