Trudy is a homeschool mom of over 25 years. She has an Associate of Arts Degree in Elementary Education.
Before I dive into this article I want to make a couple of statements regarding the education of our children. As a seasoned homeschooler of 27 years, my heart goes out to all of the coronavirus-mandated home-schools of 2020. It’s crazy to think that homeschooling suddenly became a government-regulated choice all across our nation.
First of all, I’m not a homeschooler that thinks all parents should homeschool. Rather I’m a parent who thinks homeschooling is a choice. And not always the best choice. I’ve seen homeschoolers do an excellent job. And I have seen homeschoolers who have no business whatsoever teaching their children at home. I stand for what is best for the students and the parents. Home education is not always the best. Equally so, private or public schools are not always the best. I believe each parent must decide what is right for their child. Period.
And now in 2020, a virus pandemic has determined how our children are educated. This is something we as a nation, as a world, have never really had to think about. In America, we get to choose our children’s education. We have choices that include public schools, private schools, and homeschools. We can choose specialized education that interests or meets the needs of our children from arts to music to various therapies. But in 2020, this all came to a screeching halt. And instantly, as a nation, we became homeschoolers.
Tips for New Homeschoolers
May I share with you, whether veteran homeschooler or newbie, a few thoughts that I hope bring relief and perspective and encouragement to you.
1. Attitude is everything.
This homeschool venture, though it may seem to be lasting for years but in reality is only a few months, can serve as one of the most pivotal times your child will ever learn about attitude. More important than physics, algebra, or learning the ABC’s is this unparalleled opportunity to teach your children about their attitude. Trust me on this one: they will mirror you and your attitude about them and their education. This is your opportunity to teach your child that it’s OK to mess up, it’s OK to not have all the answers, and it’s OK to ask for help. How you approach this season and how you respond to it are being observed by your child and will ultimately affect their response to the same situation.You are teaching much, much more than reading, writing, and arithmetic.
2. Perspective is paramount.
This imperfect season of at-home education will not mess your children up. These few months of your role as teacher are a mere drop in the bucket in their overall education. Whether your child is a kindergartner or a senior, you have not and cannot ruin their education.
3. Grace is essential.
As homeschooling parents, this is more important than the books, iPads, paper, and pencils that are required to teach your children. Grace will get you through the day. Grace will get you through the mistakes. Grace will get you through the trials and tribulations of navigating schooling your children online via Zoom or you having to teach them face-to-face at the kitchen table. Grace covers a multitude of misunderstandings, bad attitudes, faulty lesson plans, and poor Internet connections. Grace as a gift we give ourselves and our children that allows room for growth, that gives them much needed space to learn from their mistakes, that provides an opportunity to admit we don’t have all the answers nor do we need to.
4. Relationships are invaluable.
Your role and relationship as a parent/child takes precedence over your role and relationship as teacher/student. Do not be willing to sacrifice your relationship as mother or father with your son or daughter. For the sake of your relationship with your child, ask for help from others if you see the relationship suffering. Ask for advice from your child’s teacher or from other parents who are going through the same thing.
5. Seasons never stay the same.
One of the greatest things about seasons is that they are not permanent. They change. They all have beautiful and ugly sides to them. So it is with this COVID-19 enforced homeschooling. It is a season. It will change. Some days will be uglier than others. But it will change. And in doing so, it will mark the landscape of your home.
Everyone Is Affected
On a side note, it has been said that much of the homeschool community hasn’t been bothered by this at all since we already homeschool. That’s not necessarily true. Many, many homeschool families depend on their local homeschool co-op groups, which function very closely to traditional classrooms, giving our children the same opportunities to interact in a classroom setting with their peers and gain classroom time and credit for certain subjects.
Needless to say, a great majority of homeschool families are affected the same way as non-homeschool families, that their students were unable to attend many of their classes and were forced to take these classes at home as well. Also, many homeschool families rely on the local libraries which were shut down during this pandemic.
This is just one example of many of the public resources that homeschool families use. If you’re a public or private school family, please don’t think that homeschool families have not been affected; they have. In the last few months, Americans have found themselves all in the same boat: we are all homeschoolers.
Parents, hang in there. Help each other. Learn together. Make this the best season it can be. Summer is coming.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.