How we spend our time has changed dramatically over the past month. We are limited in our ability to choose where we spend our days. Suddenly for many, the worlds of work, learning, and leisure have collided in our homes. Not surprisingly, this has been a shock to our systems and we all are feeling the resistance to blurring these lines. However, people are creative and adaptable. So we are quickly rewriting the rules on time and physical space as it relates to our everyday lives.
Over the past few weeks, many parents are adjusting to having their children and pets in their workspace. Many children have switched learning environments from school to home. As a homeschooler, although we have often learned at home, we have depended on many places outside our house to enrich our educational experiences.
For any parents who are feeling the weight of having the time and energy to homeschool your children, I wanted to share some lessons that I have learned in my five years of homeschooling my children. First, learning is timeless. Second, kids are more capable learners than we give them credit for, and third, one-on-one teaching has the power to cover a lot of material in a small amount of time.
I grew up going to school learning in a traditional classroom, so when I started homeschooling my girls I thought of learning in terms of days (Monday - Friday) and times (9am - 3pm). However, that quickly shifted when I saw that so many of the leisure activities we did could also be learning activities. Taking a walk in the woods meant developing the power of observation, identifying different types of birds and witnessing stages in the life-cycle of frogs. Learning can take place at any moment of the day, any day of the week and is a lifelong experience.
I also have witnessed in my homeschooling journey that kids are incredible learners if you give them the materials, programs and opportunities to explore their interests. This is not to say that you don’t need to have dedicated teaching time, but for elementary students, 1 to 2 hours per day will be sufficient in most cases. The rest of the time, you can give them access to learning materials (and there are so many free options right now) that light them up and let them discover for themselves. When you check back in, you will be surprised at what they have learned on their own.
Sitting with your child one on one to learn a skill, idea or concept can be very effective. If your child has a preferred way of learning, you can tailor your instruction to fit their needs. Are they a visual learner? Are they a hands-on learner? Also if they have any questions or concerns, your kids have you to help them and answer their questions right away. Some kids can feel anxiety about learning new skills and simply having someone cheering them on and boosting their confidence can help them to move towards mastery quicker.
Parents, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the demands placed on you, please remember that your children are capable learners, you can incorporate learning into the fun times you have together, and whatever one-on-one teaching time that you can spare will be more than enough to help your children thrive. This time won’t last forever, and the knowledge and skills that children gain during this time will not be the end of their learning.
As school starts back up tomorrow after the long weekend, what do you think is your biggest challenge managing your homeschooling schedule? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
I am a Life Coach for Kids, offering programs, materials, and support that parents can use to help their children discover interests, set goals and intentions, and most importantly have fun in the process. I am passionate about learning, growth mindset, nature, and emotional wellness.
To receive a copy of my Flexible Homeschool Schedule for Kids K-6, join my Facebook group Fun and Creative Moms