Many mornings my wife and I walk together with Peyton, our English Golden Retriever. During these recent days of “Safer At Home” situations, we have been able to speak to several of our neighbors who have shared their uneasiness about the fact that everyone is now a “homeschooler.” Can we do it? How do we do it? How have you all done it all these years? It is true that we have homeschooled for over 20 years. Perhaps I should be clear and say that Bethlie has homeschooled for over 20 years. I have helped. I have paid for the curriculum and the supplies and have occasionally served as a substitute teacher. I have taught some of the upper level classes here and there but my part has been nothing compared to hers. And it has worked. Our daughter is a college graduate and serves with her husband on staff at a church and a Christian college. Our son is a college graduate and is serving as an Assistant Pastor in a church in California. Our second son is finishing his sophomore year in college and since this pandemic has begun is currently doing “home-college!” We also have a junior in high school and a sixth grader.
So I asked my wife for some suggestions that would perhaps encourage those of you who are just getting started! Here are the resulting six suggestions:
- Be committed. Turn off your social media and put aside the housework and just focus on school for the time that is needed. Have a general “start time” and a general plan of action. Your children will do better if they know when to start and which class do first and so forth. A little planning will help them and you.
- Be positive. If you are constantly mentioning how much you “hate this” it will affect both you and your children and the resultant stress will be hard on literally everybody. Keep a positive and happy spirit and it will help your children to do so as well.
- Have fun. Meaning, play some review games that involve “steps” or “jumps” as they answer questions. Do all the reading outside or on the living room sofa. Look for ways to make this a special and enjoyable time.
- Take a break if you are frustrated. Have a snack and eat some chocolate (or some fruit). Drink a Coca-Cola. Make a cup of coffee or tea.
- Expect the work to get done, but don’t expect a classroom experience. Meaning, doing school at home is more about academics than about classrooms. Have your child do the work but don’t demand that they raise their hand or stand. Just do the work and finish it. If they have learned the lesson, school is accomplished. Don’t expect more than the teacher or the curriculum expects. If your child’s teacher has not been able to help them to be a stellar speller, for instance, you may not be able to do so either. Strengthen their weaknesses where you can and encourage them every step of the way.
- Enjoy the time together. For those of us who are believers, home school is a special opportunity to disciple your children as you are learning the academics. It is an opportunity to show affection and to show love. It is a special time to laugh and even be silly together. It is an opportunity to develop a closer relationship in your home.
My son laughed when he heard Bethlie and me talking about this article. His take was this: if you have ever made fun of homeschooling or homeschoolers, you are about to do some reaping. Perhaps he is right! However, these thoughts have helped us and will likely help you as well.
Feel free to add some questions or comments. Bethlie and I will do our best to answer them and to help if we can. We have home schooled for years and we still don’t have all the answers. We are not experts in any sense, but we are certainly enjoying the journey.
Thanks for reading.
Your sincere friend,