A few short weeks ago, could you have imagined what you’d be doing now: Homeschooling? Do you want to homeschool? Do your children want to be homeschooled?
If the answer is “No,” you and your children have a challenge ahead of you.
Rest assured, however, because there is hope and you can do this! A few well-placed suggestions will help smooth out some of the bumps in the road on which you now travel.
Overnight, your world turned upside down. You, your children and your children’s teachers have had your daily routines seriously altered. You were all forced into this predicament with no other option. Parents don’t want to be teachers, your children don’t want to be at home missing school with their friends, sports and activities, and teachers don’t want to be teaching remotely.
To begin, let’s face this fact: We are all embarking on an odyssey for the next few months. Doubt, anger, frustration, confusion and yes, fear, flood your mind. How can this be a good thing?
I’m here to assure you that it can be a positive experience for you and your children, and many of your anxious thoughts can be reduced or relieved. Many among us have forged this path before and we can offer assistance to you along the way.
When life gives you lemons, use them to make lemonade.
So let’s adjust our focus in this challenge and consider a new way of looking at these circumstances. Begin with clearly identifying the lemons you’ve been given. Not everyone receives the exact same lemons. However, every lemon has the juice to make lemonade. Once you have clearly identified the lemons, we can help you determine how to best squeeze the good things out of it.
Most parents who choose to homeschool spend months, even years investing time and energy researching the topic and exploring the vast array of resources. Even under those circumstances, there is a steep learning curve that can take several years to work through. You have not had this privilege.
Many parents currently find themselves in different situations. You may have a wonderful teacher who is communicating with your child on a daily basis and you are supporting that effort. Or, you may have received a packet of schoolwork that you are wading through with little or no guidance. In some cases, you have nothing to work with at all.
Homeschooling is not just about the books, computer work or paperwork. Remember, you were your child’s first teacher, and you taught them how to do the most basic things in life. You are also the one who has the greatest vested interest in a successful outcome for them.
You already have the most powerful, valuable ingredients for success in this endeavor. Keep in mind, your child is a whole person with dreams, desires, interests, talents and skills. Herein lies the keys to unlock great things.
Right now, there is a good chance you are beginning to face resistance. It’s normal. Children are not happy about their situation and neither are you. The question is how to turn a potentially explosive situation into one that motivates and inspires them to work with you, not against you.
Focus on who they are as a whole person. Find the flicker within them and then fan the flame. Even seasoned homeschool families face the same internal tensions, adjusting frequently as children grow and expand their world.
Start by doing what’s necessary. Then do what’s possible. Before you know it, you are doing the impossible. What may seem like an imperfect situation forced upon you and your children is actually an amazing opportunity to provide lasting, treasured memories.
Look around, as there are many homeschoolers throughout this state who have navigated this terrain and can help guide you through this challenging path. This is the time to ask for help.
Most importantly, however, is your family. Do what you need to keep everyone healthy, happy and whole. Reinforce those activities which strengthen your family and avoid those practices that tear each other apart. Choose to look for the silver linings.
Next week, I will be joining Maine Policy Institute for a Homeschooling Help & Hints Virtual Town Hall with several renown state and national homeschooling specialists to address your questions and concerns about how to navigate homeschooling during this crisis. We will share our knowledge and provide information on best practices that will steer you and your family in the right direction.
The virtual event will take place on Thursday, April 9 starting at 4:30 p.m. EST. Join the online event and come equipped with any questions you may have about homeschooling and how to get the most out of your children during this time.
To submit questions and learn more about the Homeschooling Help & Hints Virtual Town Hall, visit www.mainepolicy.org/events/homeschooling.