Monday, June 15, 2020

Suddenly Homeschooling - Pro Tips - Carrying On At Home

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So the 2019-2020 school year is over - or pretty much over - and finishing school at home has been the reality for most families. School districts are rolling out various plans for what public schools might look like in the fall, and many parents are questioning their options. And some school districts aren't even planning in-person instruction this fall! 

Have you seen the CDC's recommendations for going back to school? (Despite the typo in this graphic, these really are the guidelines!)

Speaking for myself, I would NOT be okay with this. A lot of parents I've been in contact with are not okay with it either. Some of it isn't practical, and some of it is just plain dystopian. Some parents are not wanting to send children to school because they're worried about the virus; and some parents are not wanting to send children to school if they'll be expected to wear masks and stay distanced. And many parents have also discovered some of the many benefits and joys of doing school at home. 

If you're considering homeschooling, feel free to contact me! I'd love to help you figure things out and put you in touch with groups or resources.

Homeschooling vs. Crisis Schooling

Homeschooling is different from what most families have been doing since the public schools closed earlier this year. If your student has been getting some distance learning and you're trying to fill in the gaps, or if you're trying to keep your child on track and interested in learning while waiting for things to go back to normal, you're probably doing "crisis homeschooling". True homeschooling is more relaxed and allows you to choose curriculum and tailor the learning to your child's needs and interests. Each state and province has its own guidelines that apply to home education, but even in the more regulated states, you will have more choices and freedom than you do in the public school. 

When parents pull their children out of school in order to start homeschooling, it's very often a good idea to "detox" or "deschool" for a little while. Take a break from the entire school routine and whatever it was that was not working for the family. Believe it or not, that's what the majority of families have been doing since the school year was abruptly interrupted by the lockdowns! If you're looking to homeschool more long term, you've already taken that first step, and you have likely started learning more about what works and what doesn't for your kids!

Homeschooling means you get to choose curriculum, methods, and schedules that work for your kids and for your family, whatever your situation. You'll get to decide how to structure your days, when to take school breaks, and what pace is best to get through the work. 

You may be wondering - legitimately - about how your kids will be able to spend time with friends, engage in extra-curricular activities, or what to do about subjects you're not confident in. During more normal times, homeschoolers generally have plenty of opportunities to get together with friends in all kinds of activities, both educational and just for fun. Field trips, group and community activities, and co-op classes all help fill these needs. Co-ops are a great example of how like-minded homeschooling parents get together to pool resources and expertise in order to provide opportunities for their kids. Especially for middle school and high school grades, co-ops and tutorial classes provide opportunity for kids to be together with peers and to receive instruction from someone other than mom or dad. 

Why continue homeschooling?

As mentioned, the freedom to make your own choices about when and how, and which resources are best. Homeschooling helps build strong family relationships and closeness. In the long term, homeschool students have proven to be well-prepared for college, for the work force, and for having positive impact in their communities. Average GPAs and college exam scores for homeschooled students are higher overall, and many colleges actively recruit homeschoolers. 

If your student has a particular interest or a career goal they are pursuing, homeschooling allows you to tailor their studies and their schedule to allow them to really focus. Music students can have time to devote to practicing their instrument. Athletes can devote time to training. Future doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs, and other goal-oriented students can tailor studies for their interest areas.

See also:

The How Do You Homeschool Series here on Homeschool Coffee Break, particularly:

How Much Time Do You Spend on Schoolwork? Part of the How Do You Homeschool series on Homeschool Coffee Break @

How Do You Keep Records and Calculate Grades? Part of the How Do You Homeschool series on Homeschool Coffee Break @

How Do You Focus on Your Student's Unique Interests? Part of the How Do You Homeschool series on Homeschool Coffee Break @

And around the web:

If you have specific questions, I would love to help! Leave a comment or message me using my Facebook page.

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