Before we begin – I want to let you know that I have written this post 2 previous times. Had it completely done – and it disappears. So my thought is that it’s some good stuff that Satan doesn’t want you to know. God wants us to support each other – even if just from across a computer screen- so that we can build each other up and NOT BE ALONE. With that in mind – know that I am going to hit the PUBLISH button as soon as I am done writing it this time. I won’t be saving it as a draft or editing it later. Errors be darned, I’ve got to share these encouraging words with you!
In the last 6 weeks, I have seen parents go from cautiously optimistic to full no cares given mode so rapidly. On March 15th, when we found out Iowa schools would be closing for *Two Weeks* – most parents took it as an, “oh this will be fine. Two weeks break will be like Christmas.* Some families even put up there Christmas trees again. But just like a family holiday, everyone got sick of it pretty quick – desperately wanting things to go back to normal. but that wasn’t going to happen. We soon found out that school wasn’t coming back this year – and now there’s are murmurs of it continuing this way into the fall.
This is no longer fun or *novel* for most families. It has become a time of desperation and survival.
I was added to a Facebook group pretty early on that one of my sweet friends started that is meant to encourage families in the midst of Social Distanced life. Its become a place for moms to lean on one another in desperate times call for extra boxes of wine and sarcastic memes moments. I am also part of homeschool groups that are up in arms that we DARE call this social learning homeschooling.
But you know what, I see you mamas. I see you just wanting the best for your kids and for your family. I know that you are trying to survive. Trying to teach your kids while working and keeping your house in an acceptable state of cleanliness. I know you are worried about the future. We all are.
So I decided to bring together a few of my friends – teachers and homeschool moms – to share some of their best wisdom and tips with you. You have got this, Mom. Were all in this together.
Homeschool Mom And Alumni
Want to know a secret about your kids? They are capable. They are curious. They are clever and creative.
God has gifted them from the beginning with specific traits and talents that He wants to use to bless both your child and the whole world. Realizing this, and realizing the truth of my own kids’ capacity to thrive has been the anchor and motivator of our homeschool journey.
My biggest job is to be an observer and supporter- asking questions like: who are you, my small person, and how do I equip you to grow and flourish in your glorious person-hood? Where do your passions lie? What are the skills and tools and knowledge that I can give you to help you grapple with and overcome the challenges your life will bring? How do I show you the richness of Christ’s love for you so that you can’t help but carry that healing love to a hurting world?
This is an education for the parents just as much as it is for the kids, and though it’s not easy work, I trust that it will produce something beautiful and useful.
“All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.” Isaiah 54:13
7th Grade ELA
We miss our classrooms, our kids and the routine it brought. We know you are doing YOUR very best, and no matter what that ‘best’ looks like, you are KILLING.IT.
Be kind to yourself – this is an unprecedented time in our world, and you are doing great! Don’t look to social media to try and emulate what someone else is doing. That might be fabulous, but it also might be unrealistic for you.
Trust me, EVERYONE is struggling, so even if their social media looks like all roses, they are trying to get through each hour as well. Establish a new routine if you need more structure, and if doesn’t work – scratch it!
Something is better than nothing (I know this personally when it is a struggle to get my own 3rd grade daughter to do work!). You’ve got this! Keep the faith, and when you’re struggling, remember your kids love you unconditionally, just like we love them unconditionally. YOU are their glue.
The stress and uncertainty you are enduring is something every teacher empathizes with you. We know that this is hard, and we appreciate you. Here are 5 things we want you to know.
1. You’re doing good. – I promise you will not academically hurt your child. Anything is helping them. Don’t feel like you have to sit and do school work or worksheets for 8 hours a day. That’s not what we do at school. Keep doing the best you can, you’re doing good.
2. We appreciate you. – We want more than anything to be the ones working with your child. We are so thankful you are there to fill in our shoes when we can’t be.
3. Reach out. – We miss your child more than you can imagine. We want to hear from you. We want to help. Please reach out to us, for anything! Let your child email us. Let them send us video messages. You may think it’s too much, but we soak up every sweet message and moment.
4. Read. – If the worksheets are too much, the websites are too confusing, the computer is not working properly. Simply read. Read with your child. Read to your child. Have your child read to you, a sibling, a pet, a stuffed animal, whoever. Just get their eyes off a screen and in books. Foster a love for reading.
5. Love them. – As a teacher, we love each and every student who enters our classroom. We provide a sense of stability, safety, and love. Please do the same. Keep them safe. Feed them well. Ask for help if you need it, we are here to support you. But most importantly, love them.
Parents are a child’s first educator! They know their child better than anyone else! If parents can set a good example of foundational skills, the academic skills will come.
Some great first things for a child to see/learn are positivity, perseverance, emotional control, problem solving skills, inquiry, delayed gratification, vocabulary, and self-help. These are all easily learned through basic daily routine and play.
Talk to and with kids…all the time…talk! From birth, tell them what you’re doing, what you see, how you feel, what you wonder, how you’re going to fix something, why you changed your mind…this can help children’s brains make sense of the world around them. When you’re outside, point out the wonders of nature. Inspect bugs, pull weeds and look at the roots, jump in the puddles, dig in the dirt.
Try to name your child’s emotions, more than just happy/sad. If you see them frustrated, nervous, skeptical, worried, excited, name those too! Emotional intelligence is more important now than ever before, plus, this can give them the words to explain their feelings to others which can divert tantrums or over-stimulation. Play with open/ended toys: blocks/legos, balls, costumes, crayons…see what they come up with or create. Discuss their ideas and allow them to be wacky, crazy, unrealistic.
Read to them, if nothing else, READ! If you’re tired of reading a book for the millionth time, talk about the pictures instead or ask questions about the story, or make up a new story.
But most of all lead by example. Let them see you reading, counting how many grapes you have, measuring that board, apologizing, hugging, caring about others…they need to see that, be involved in that, to learn it.
And never forget: Love them, hold them, hug them, listen to them, look in their eyes, get down and play with them, if even for a second.
Homeschool Momand Former Preschool Teacher
Right now, the best thing you can do for your child(ren), give them grace. Give yourself Grace. Some days, you are going to rock this homeschooling thing. Other days, you are going to plug kids into a Wild Kratts marathon on PBS and that is OK. There will be tears. There will by smiles. It will be OK. For a child under 5, don’t expect more than 20 minutes total of actual sit down schooling (Lots of things can be counted towards schooling).
Elementary aged school children should expect anywhere between 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours of homeschool MAX. High school students shouldn’t take about 4 hours in a day MAX. Right now, all of my children are missing their friends and struggling with getting along.
We have had more tantrums and more fights than normal. With each tantrum, I have the kids take some time to calm down and then I assess their needs.
My 8 year old and 5 year old are really struggling. We have been cuddling more, playing games more, reading books more. We go on walks to get out of the house. We move school outside on really gorgeous days.
Long story short, give yourself Grace. Give your kids Grace. God has got your back and it will all be OK. Hugs to you momma (and Poppas!).
Stop, take a deep breath and relax. Your sweet little one is going to be okay. We are all in this together. Don’t sweat pushing your kid to do school related things all day. If they are stressing about it, you likely are too and it’s not worth straining your relationship.
The only thing I have told my kids that I recommend doing during this time is READ, READ, READ. It doesn’t matter what you read, just read! Read inside, read outside, read on your trampoline.
Find what works for you and spend at least 20-30 minutes a day reading. I pray that my kids are getting to spend quality family time together and it doesn’t have to be school related. Take a hike, bake something, go on a bike ride, etc. These are all practical things that leave lasting memories on your kids.
Whatever this time is bringing you and your family I pray that you and your child will feel God’s loving presence through it all. Praying for you all during this crazy and uncertain time!