Every family situation is different, but one thing that we now all have in common is that none of our kids are going to school outside the home for at least a month, if not longer.
In the mad scramble to adjust life around this fact, many helpful resources are being provided by local school districts and other organizations. As you make decisions about what this means for your family, I want to share with you some words of wisdom from the best homeschooling resource that I know of, Rich and Rhonda Johnstone, otherwise known as my parents.
My parents live in the Bay Area. They wrote this letter to share with families they know when that part of the state went in to “shelter-in-place” last week. I asked their permission to share it with you. I hope you find it helpful.
Ideas for Teaching Your Children at Home
Rich and Rhonda Johnstone
We are praying for you and your family as you shelter-in-place, especially as you navigate caring for and educating your children at home. If this is new to you, here are some ideas that may help flip this from burdensome to joyful. We homeschooled our three children from kindergarten through high school and launched each of them into college. We would like to share a few encouraging ideas as you teach your kids at home in the coming weeks.
- See this as an amazing opportunity. Remember all those times you said, “I wish we could slow down and spend more time with family?” Well, here it is! You are creating the kind of memories that will become the stories your children will tell their children someday.
- Enjoy one of the best secrets of the Homeschool World. Most homeschool families only hold structured learning for three or less hours a day.
- Maintain a relaxed structure. Clear, daily routines are a must. They provide your children with a sense of stability and security. However, while you are sheltering at home, you no longer have to worry about outside time pressures. Create a schedule that will both reassure your children and allow them time to just play and rest. One of our biggest parenting goals was to give our children an Unhurried Childhood. This can be your opportunity to give your children that gift.
- Think outside the box. If your school is assigning work to your children then, of course, you will want to cooperate with those plans. But if you have freedom to design your own schooling then “seize the day.”
Not all learning comes from books and worksheets. During this time you can teach your children about lifelong learning. Are they fascinated by a certain topic? Research it! What needs doing around your house? Yard work? Painting their bedrooms? Cooking? DIY projects? Those activities are an education in themselves. Go on nature walks, write some letters, play board games. You get the idea! Integrate learning into each of these activities.
Taking several weeks or even months away from traditional learning models is not going to ruin your child’s future. Your child’s school is equipped to help everyone get back on track when that time comes. This is your opportunity to broaden your child’s educational experience. Have fun with it.
- A free resource. Here is a link to a Christian curriculum designed especially for emergency situations. It is focused on keeping things simple and fun for your children and for you. Feel free to share with families in your church. We think you’ll find it helpful. AO HELP - Crisis Curriculum