One misconception about homeschooling, is that you’re home all day with your kids! Normally, I’m out and about with my kids every single day at homeschool co-ops, fun educational outings, or out in the forest. Being home all day every day with our kids, is very different from a regular homeschool experience but that’s what many of us are doing now. I would recommend differentiating that in your mind. Regular homeschooling doesn’t involve this level of anxiety, uncertainty, or economic breakdown and it involves a lot of outside activities. So remember:
- Cut yourself some slack, it takes time to get into a groove.
- Kids go through what’s known as a “de-schooling” process in the homeschooling community.
- Some routine and rhythm is helpful. Try focusing on “3 Big Rocks” for the day.
What’s Our Most Important Role Right Now?
Are we suddenly cast as “teachers?” I want to be a radical voice. Give yourself permission to 100% fully and completely let go of academic school being any kind of priority throughout the next period. In my opinion, it’s completely misguided energy. If it happens, great. If the school offers online classes and your kids engage with them, wonderful. If you can sit down to engage with your child and their text book and it goes well, great. But the potential level of conflict, anxiety, frustration and tension between parent and child can be so destressing and destructive to the family unit in a time that is already a crisis. Not only that, it’s a time when frankly, you can’t just walk away!
In my opinion, the highest priority right now should be to preserve energy for your family’s connection, and joy. I think it’s a huge opportunity to seize that special time together. My guess is, that you have so much more at home than you ever even realized. It’ll be one of those times where you realize, “Wow! I could stock an entire store! I didn’t realize!” You’re going to get so creative and discover your inner strengths and powers in so many ways. Wasting that creative energy on fighting over academics is useless.
Now I’m going to tell you a secret that the public school system doesn’t want you to know:
Homeschooled kids often go through the entire curriculum in less than an hour a day.Homeschooled kids often go through the entire curriculum in less than an hour a day.via @ParentingJunkieTweet This
It’s a completely different learning quality when it’s done one-on-one, at your child’s pace, and when they’re most alert. Trying to re-create a school experience at home, in most cases, is going to be a supreme waste of time and energy and lead to a lot of disconnection between parent and child. The flip side is, if the kids are happy and if it works – it works!
Some parents might be thinking if they aren’t going to be engaged all day in their schoolwork, what are they going to be doing? Maybe you need to be getting your own work done from home now, or be in zoom meetings all day. Of course you’d wondering this!
I need to raise my flag, wave it around and shout – PLAY! Most of my work is dedicated to reclaiming play as a mainstay of childhood, and making sure that kids are getting hours of play everyday. In this respect, staying at home all day with nowhere to be, could be a huge blessing! This is an opportunity for us parents to discover just how capable our kids are of self-entertainment, to discover just how imaginative they are, and how deeply they focus, and just how much they are immersed in and enjoy their own inner world as expressed through play. My point here is, play is crucial. It not only develops their gross and fine motor skills, their social skills, scientific exploration and discovery skills, artistic expression, and atunement to their bodies – but play also helps them process emotions and whatever they’re going through!
How Do We Encourage This Type of Play?
For starters, here are 10 Way to Encourage Independent Play.
What can be really refreshing and healing, is to simply let your child be. Instead of using so many words to direct our children, you can set up the “invitation” by providing the materials. This could be to build a fort, constructing something with a stapler, play music, read a book, or anything where they’re entering a state of flow – when one is challenged but not too challenged – when we feel like we not what to do next and time passes so quickly. Challenge yourself every day to see how often you can offer your kids a state of flow, where they’re not directed by someone else. They’re not rewarded by someone else, and the activity is rewarding in and of itself. They’re not interrupted by someone else. Like sleep, play and flow go in certain cycles. Most parenting advice says “narrate” when you see your child playing with blocks, by saying things like “Now you’ve got the blue one!” But in fact you could be interrupting their flow and you’ve taught them to look to you for direction. Let’s undo this dependency right now ! There are things already in your home that can engage your kids and and help them get into this flow state, you just have to set up the invitation and get out of their way so to speak.
Did you download your FREE Play Pandemic Guide?
Right now, we’ve made one module of our paid membership site Present Play available for FREE to parents who are staying at home and want to encourage more of this immersive, beneficial, flow-state play. Access the FREE Play Guru course here.
Are your kids currently home from school because of social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic? Have you always been intrigued by the idea of homeschooling and feel like this is a trial run? What is your biggest challenge right now? What is going really well?