In my previous post, I started discussing ways that you can begin to free up some of your life, and begin homeschooling. This post is an update to my original article, but I definitely think it deserves an update in the midst of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. So today, I’d like to touch on some easy best practices that you could implement if you:
- are in a situation where your child must remain in school due to your work-life or because the other parent is not in agreement with homeschooling when students are called to return to school
- you want to try doing what you can, but are not ready to make the full commitment at this point
Now, the first action I want you to take, again, is to look inwardly.
What are your hobbies? The majority of parents are already bringing their kids up in a particular way according to their interests. Men and sports are a great example of this behavior. Children are taught about the parent’s favorite sport, how to play it, where to play it, who to cheer for, all lessons that last with the child for their entire life. I could stop writing now and we could just ponder the strength of this example. As Christians know very well, “sports fever” has had a tremendous impact on church youth groups across the country. Parents will pull their child out of church for a game in a heartbeat. So if you just start with a topic you love to physically perform and/or in which you find psychological fulfillment, you have lined the bike up at the top of the hill and set yourself up for momentum to fly down.
For this essay, I asked for a couple of readers if they would be willing to be used for a case study. Allow me to introduce you to LeAnne and Aaron. So let’s start with LeAnne. I asked her about her main hobbies, which were decorating, bowling, massage and cooking (hey look, don’t try to say I’m sexist, she said cooking). Let’s say she has elementary school aged children that she will be instructing. I would recommend she starts with just 30 minutes of focused instructional time. We are going to combine cooking and decorating and make up our own homeschooling class called, Applied Studies.
Monday – Vocabulary / Example: All things kitchen
Tuesday – Short stories & Writing / Example: Foods around the world
Wednesday – Business / Example: If this was our business, what would we do today? Cover everything from the physical building to what to serve for dessert.
Thursday – Science / Example: Weights and Measurements
Friday – History / Example: Where does food come from? Where did McDonald’s come from?
Now for Aaron. His main hobbies were singing and spending time with his kids. Let’s assume his kids are junior high school and above. Again, just 30 minutes of focused instructional time is where he could start.
Monday – Music genres / Example: Deep study on gospel music
Tuesday – Lyrical study / Example: Amazing Grace
Wednesday – Music Business / Example: Contracts, Money, Distribution, Publishing
Thursday – Science of Sound / Example: Speed of sound, how do various musical instruments function?
Friday – History / Example: Artist focus, answering the “5W’s and 1H” about a particular artist.
This was just a simple brainstorm, but the key is including plenty of variety for your interest and the child’s interest as well. You could keep this rotation from now until the schools are told to return (some reports are saying that school is now over) to see how it feels and make adjustments as needed. Since spending time is an important element for Aaron, some museum trips once per month would be great and could provide ideas for other lessons. Some nights, we fire up videos of TV One’s Unsung, and watch an episode of a particular artist, and I share what I know about the artist and afterward we search out videos of their work, seek out more about their life, etc..
Lastly, I cannot express this enough, be flexible! I know so many people who hit the gym as a newbie hard for two weeks in a row, then something happens and they miss a day, and all the wheels come off the wagon and they just quit. For my readers in the Midwest, imagine if your school did this when there is an unexpected snow storm that hits and the kids get a “snow day”? Would you be okay if they just said, “We shall resume again after the new year”? Well, we are in that landscape now. While school districts need to throw in the towel for the remainder of the school year, why should you when you go back to work or when challenges arise?
So there you go. Insert your favorite hobby and just begin by making a structured effort to ALWAYS BE TEACHING! Give it a trial run and add one more subject, then another, then another. The universe is your university, so why let others decide the size of your child’s universe? Just recall, a few weeks ago, the narrative was that homeschooling promotes anti-social behavior in children. Now, society has sent your child home and even developed a new term as well, “social distancing” that we will now be stuck with forever like, “fake news”. Take some control back into your home. Because we all should have learned by now that when Stuff Hits The Fan, “home is all we got”.