And suddenly, you’re a homeschooler.
This was not part of the plan. It happened so quickly. Yet here we are.
AND BREATHE …
What do you need to make this work?
Ignore the instruction manual that tells you how to create school in your home. Ok, this might work for some, but if you’ve entered this in free-fall, as many will, you need to ignore the details and look at the big picture.
What will be the things I need to figure out?
1. Income. How can I adapt to make homeschooling work?
2. Prioritise self care. This is important. If you fall apart, your family doesn’t have much hope.
3. Providing adequate learning experiences for your child. Ok, curriculum can be a starting point, but don’t let it rule your life. Every day, just living life offers constant opportunities to learn. Think outside the box.
4. Providing social experiences for your child. This is the boogyman of those new to homelearning. Don’t worry, the opportunities to socialise will be so wide and various with so many kids of all ages at any time of the day that you’ll wonder how you could’ve thought school was socialising at all.
All quite obvious, when you think about it, but having a list is always helpful when you’re starting something new and big, don’t you think?
Right, let’s create a structure to support you and your family. What will you need?
This is the big one. KNOW THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO THIS ALONE. As I’ve said in my last blog, who are your resources? Who can you call in for support? Spouse, extended family, friends, community. Despite what the media sells you you do not and should not try to do everything yourself. It’s a ridiculous modern concept that will slowly kill you.
Build community. There are families around just like yours who also need support. Put the call out in your local social media groups. Tell them about your family and organise meet-ups. This can lead to small co-ops, child swaps, play dates and generally friends for you and your children who you can call upon for help when you need it and they can call on you too.
Connect with the wider community. Families have “homeschooled” for thousands of years and mum and dad were never expected to be the centre of all knowledge. You are now the resource provider. It’s time to resource out to those humans who, either in person, online or in books are passionate about the same thing your child is passionate about. You do not need to be awesome at math to support your child when they get excited about algebra.
Now here’s my favourite support. Your kids. You have now gifted yourself an extra 30 or more hours a week in which you can really build a connection with them. Without this, none of the above is going to help you. If your relationship with your kids isn’t what it could be, you will no longer be able to look away. It will stare you in the face every day. It’s time to give your kids long chunks of your time and attention. Really listen to what they have to say, what they want out of life. When they feel that connection with you, when they know you are really there for them, that you can both be open and share your good days and bad days together, the homeschooling free-fall can turn into the most beautiful blessing.
Hey, it will be ok. This feels scary because it wasn’t part of the plan and we humans get freaked out by the unexpected.
Just remember, you are never alone. Be brave, reach out for help. There’s a huge family you haven’t met yet waiting to meet you. Really.
BREATHE. Now take that first step.
So much love to you courageous ones.