Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Unexpected Homeschooling: You CAN Do This

Wow; we are all in one big, worldwide homeschooling club, aren't we? And most of us had not expected to be here today. From the looks of it, this ride may be the long-term sort, so buckle up, relax, and let's look at what may be in store for you. First, remember; this time is pretty precious. Whether or not you've figured out a rhythm yet, these days spent at home, wondering where the heck the world is headed, together with your family, are creating unique memories already.

Circa 2010, homeschooling for 3 months in France in a tiny aparment

True, I have been here before, but in different times and different circumstances. The children were...children, and I made the decisions about great portions of their lives. Now, my husband and I are thrilled to co-exist with four real humans who have separate realities outside of this house, or they did until about two days ago, and it is not the same. 

You are most likely in the same type of ship; they may be younger, there may be less of them, or more. You may have a more precise idea of how you want this to go down, or still be floundering in the waters of denial. 

In any case, first things first; breathe, and give yourself a few days permission to sit with this and see what presents itself; both in your own mind and that of your child's. It is not a race, my friends. This is not school, this is life. Life is nothing without tenderness, so start with love. 

Homeschoolers often talk about a period we call deschooling, like detoxing in a way. It means allowing for a free mind to emerge from the habit of having much of one's day scheduled in a familiar way. This is not always easy, and in uncertain times, it will present challenges yet unknown to our era. I believe some of the same principles still apply to the situation of forced-to-be-home. Expecting a family to go from all-day-school to zero school and a plan for home all at once is unrealistic. Take time to take care of yourself, and in the best of unschooling traditions, do two things:

1) Follow your own interests/passions/things that need getting done.
2) Let your kids share their interests with you. 

In our house, this has looked like a lot of things over the years.
Cookie maps of the world

Spending time outside: sailing


This week, it resembles this:

The past few days, we have all slept in (this is, after all, our spring break). We've cooked, baked, and cleaned and threw things away that should have been thrown away 12 years ago. The kids slept in even later, and joined us in cleaning or cooking or listening to French podcasts or the Presidential Address from Emmanuel Macron. We have read books, gone on walks (not together, it is no longer cool to head out on a 7-person walk), played Uno and watched movies. 

I looked at the weather forecast and saw only one day of sunshine all week; yesterday. We dropped everything else and did spring yard work for one glorious day, reveling in the good fortune that we have a backyard and it was warm enough to be out in it.

Today, when we talked about maybe coming up with a plan for the next month or so, the topic of Kahoots came up. I was the only one who knows nothing about this questionnaire/contest thing all kids play in school. They were more than happy to oblige, and we were soon immersed in a trivia game that we played all morning, had lunch, then played some more. We took turns picking topics and winning our faves; geography (Thierry beat the pants off the rest of us), anatomy (Charles, future sports medecine-something), chemistry (Valentine, hands down), Spongebob (Gael, naturally), 19th century lit (mine!) Is this game aligned with my Waldorf homeschooling values? Why not? It is on a screen, on many screens, as answers have to be picked on a phone or laptop, but it is also a fantastic way to bring people together in fun and challenges. 

We will come up with more of a plan by next week, and so will you. I have faith in you as a parent. Have faith in yourself as a parent. And enjoy the time that is now. 

For more resources, including another lovely blogger's straight-forward, zero filters take on it here, you might want to read Leonie Dawson:

Or for a Waldorf-inspired source of curriculum, but also parenting advice, including free videos and resources, Melisa Nielsen of Waldorf Essentials:

If anyone would like to work on their French skills, drop me a comment; Skype-pals may be a thing starting soon. Stay well and sleep tight. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for stopping by. I am always happy to hear from you! Please leave a comment and let me know how you feel about a post or add advice, anecdotes, etc. of your own.