How to Homeschool During a Pandemic
by Kristi Crosson
I see you moms and dads. Your children are suddenly home for the next 2-6 weeks thanks to COVID-19, aka the Coronavirus and you have no clue what to do. Maybe their teachers sent home some packets, and maybe your school district has online class options. But if you’ve suddenly been thrust into homeschooling when you had no intention of it, it can feel overwhelming and scary.
I’ve been there. I didn’t want my children to fail or to stop progressing in their learning when I started my homeschool journey. I wanted them to thrive. But I had time to prepare.
I see all these social media posts that talk about how to create a schedule for homeschooling. They talk about what to do and not to do. But, these are not normal circumstances for homeschooling, and your life is going to look a bit different in the coming weeks.
I want to encourage you that your concerns and fears are valid, but the real beauty of homeschooling is the ability to just BE with your children. Your children will be fine if they don’t do math daily, or if you skip history for a week. They need you and your love now more than ever. The “schooling” is secondary to the stable home environment they have with you.
There is no right or wrong way to do this. Be there for your kids. They might be scared, they might need extra hugs, they might have a million questions, they might be wondering why they can’t play with their friends, and however you approach that is up to you. Just be there. There will be days they will act out. It’ll be okay. It’s not your fault.
We have a saying in my house and that’s this; “We’re a family and we work together”.
I think I’ll change it to, “We’re a family and we’ll get through this together”.
Homeschooling because of COVID-19 is something completely new. I know a schedule can help you feel in control of a situation that feels out of control and it does help to create a certain rhythm to your days, but to stress yourself out about a daily schedule might be too much. Take it day by day and roll with whatever happens.
Here are some of my thoughts to give you ideas for a family-oriented schedule for homeschooling during the Coronavirus:
1. Spend time reading the Bible and praying with your children or doing something to practice your faith each day.
2. Read at least 30 minutes a day. Whether you read to your children, let them read, or help them learn to read, incorporate this into your day.
3. Find something new for them to learn. There are a ton of free resources available right now to help parents who are suddenly homeschooling because of the Coronavirus (see below). There are also YouTube videos, Udemy classes, and even Lynda.com courses available online through most public libraries.
4. Get outside daily. You may not be able to go to a playground or play with other children, but find a secluded path or open field to play a game of tag in if you don’t have a backyard. The sunshine will help lift everyone’s moods.
5. Create something. Bake cookies, paint a picture, draw something, finish a project, write a short story, etc.
6. Teach schoolwork but be flexible about it. Short spurts are best for retention, so while a class at school might be an hour long, it should take you far less time to teach a lesson than it does at school. Plan maybe 30 minutes per “class” a day. Schedule the fun stuff and breaks in between.
7. Play games. Board games and card games are a big hit in my house. Scrabble can help you practice spelling, chess is great for strategy, and Candy Land is fun and helps with matching colors.
Free homeschooling resources available online to help with the Coronavirus crisis:
1. Easy Peasy All-in-One-Homeschool: They have a full curriculum available through high school.
2. Discovery K-12: This online homeschool program is fun and engaging. They offer 7 standard courses from Pre-K all the way through the 12th grade.
3. Scholastic: They are offering free daily learning activities up through 12thgrade.
4. Learning A-Z: Get a free 3-month trial to help you get through the worst of the crisis.
5. The Metropolitan Opera: Have you ever wanted to go to the Opera? The Metropolitan Opera is streaming recordings of their productions for free online.
6. Khan Academy: This is a great math program online.
7. Go Noodle: Get your kids moving indoors in a fun and engaging way.
8. Rivet: Find free e-books here instead of visiting the library. They have a PC and a mobile app.
9. Outschool: They offer small group video-based courses. They are live classes and have so many different subjects and topics to learn.
10. The Good and the Beautiful: This is an amazing language arts curriculum for free. The PDF downloads for levels 1-5 are all offered free of charge. It is faith-based and family-oriented.
Also, use screen time however you need to in your home. While we all know that it’s not beneficial to watch TV all-day every day, there is no shame if you need a breather and use a TV show to get it. Don’t fight your kids to get all their school work done, instead, find projects and activities to work WITH them on to make learning more enjoyable
We’re all in this together. I’m praying that you can find a new normal in the midst of something so different than we’ve ever experienced before.
About the Author
Kristi Crosson is a writer and photographer and homeschools her three children, ages 8, 4, and 2. She is in the process of writing her first book, a personal story about God’s goodness in the midst of heartache and impossible situations.
Her background includes work in communications for a large Christian non-profit and freelance writing for hundreds of businesses on social media and blogs.
She has more than 15 years of ministry experience serving in the church and learned valuable leadership skills that she applies to her life and businesses. Kristi has a huge heart to fight human trafficking and see women experience God’s love in powerful ways.
When she is not busy with her businesses or her family, she enjoys creating art, playing music, singing, and hiking. And somehow manages to "do it all". Don't be fooled. In getting real, she'll share about how she manages her day to day work in business and homeschool.
You can read Kristi’s column, Getting Real with Kristi on the 3rd Tuesday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.