Homeschooling and COVID – An open letter to the parents of school kids.
An open letter to the parents of school kids.
I was not going to write anything on the subject of “isolation schooling”. But, I am seeing a lot of posts from parents stressed about school work. Many of those are from parents who are already feeling the pressure when it comes to making sure their kids don’t fall behind with their education whilst at home. Some are madly searching for text books, worksheets and other curriculum to attempt to mimic the classroom at home. As a single parent and someone who has homeschooled for the past 6 years, my only advice to you is stop stressing about school work. Your families mental health, and your bond with your children are far more important areas to focus your efforts.
For many kids, this is the first time they have spent long periods at home for years. For some parents who have always worked full time, it’s the first time ever spending 24/7 with their kids for weeks on end. This is a time where you and your children need to be connecting, building and strengthening relationships, and above all, working together.
There is no need to create unnecessary stress and pressure in order to keep up with the work that has been set. This will be a time in their lives which children will always remember. Do you want them to have memories of fighting and yelling over school work, or ones where you spend quality time together? It’s very easy for a child to catch up on school work, but it’s far harder to undo the damage that can occur on their mental health, or to repair fractured relationships within families.
At 11, Jaiden has never been to school and until a month ago he’d never completed a worksheet nor opened a text book. He learns through every day life activities, by exploring his interests and by me finding developmentally appropriate activities that help introduce concepts and expand upon those already familiar to him using things he enjoys. About a month ago he found a text book and decided to start working through it, he went on to complete almost a year of maths learning in a month despite me never sitting him down for a ‘lesson’. He’d learned fractions through cooking, angles at skateparks, basic maths concepts through budgeting and his only source of English ‘work’ was writing posts for our blog.
Despite this, he reads at an above average level, and is on par with his peers when it comes to maths which meant he was able to fly though the majority of text book without me ever asking. I have used his interests and passions to make learning fun, useful, and engaging. This has negated the need for formal lessons where I tell him what to learn, and when.
Forget stressing about the worksheets or ‘keeping up’, the added pressure is not going to help anybody. Do some cooking, write a letter to a friend or family member, build with lego, search for science experiments on YouTube, watch a documentary, plant a garden, learn to make music or edit video, or kick a soccer ball together. This is what homeschooling looks like for many families who choose to do it, it does not entail hours and hours on end of structured lessons.
Please, be kind on yourselves and be kind on your children. This is whole new reality for many of us, so it’s more important than ever to be understanding, compassionate, and patient with each other, especially your children