COVID19 Homeschoolers: here’s advice & resources from a homeschooling mum of 3 years!
So, you’re here. Suddenly homeschooling because of COVID-19 shutdowns. And it may not be a conscious choice for you. It may not seem like a great option right now. It’s been forced upon you by a global pandemic.
(You can also listen to this post as a podcast here!)
I wanted to write this looooong ass motherfucking 6000 word monster of a post to you to say:
Welcome. Welcome to the International League of Homeschoolers.
I was a homeschooling mum for the last three years. It was hands down the most thrilling, fulfilling, connected and delicious three years of my life. It’s only been in the last month or so that both my kids decided they wanted to try out a small independent school, which has acted almost like a homeschooling co-op for us. And now, we’re back to suddenly homeschooling again, and I’m thrilled that we get to create even more memories together.
I’ve already been on this learning curve before, having asked a lot of questions, and researching the absolute shitter out of this. I’ve read over 70 books on homeschooling. I know it’s a steep learning curve. So I wanted to offer up any advice and guidance and tips from a homeschooling mum that’s already done it.
Firstly: you’re not alone in Suddenly Homeschooling!
And you’re not alone in this: Unesco’s current statistics show that close to 800 million children and students worldwide are in the same place. The last time I looked, it was 300 million. But that was two days ago. And things are changing FAST.
Here in Australia, schools have yet to close. Many parents are choosing to pull children from attending earlier (including me). Country wide closures are coming though, and faster than we think. And these closures will likely last longer than we can understand right now.
There’s close to a billion of us. You are not alone.
This has happened before
By now, you’ve probably seen some of the memes about other creators and inventors being forced into quarantine, including Sir Isaac Newton and Shakespeare.
It points to this astonishing little factoid: that even though we haven’t experienced this in our lifetime, it is a relatively regular occurrence in human history.
We’ve been quarantined before. Schools have been shut down.
And it’s a new thing for us, but not anywhere near a first in history.
There are also shit tonnes of people who are already homeschooling by choice.
Home education is not a second rate education.
It’s how we’ve learned throughout history.
“For most of history and in different cultures, the education of children at home by family members was a common practice. Homeschooling declined in the 19th and 20th centuries with the enactment of compulsory attendance laws.” — Wikipedia
Since the 1970’s, the take up rate of homeschooling has grown exponentially. Worldwide there are millions of homeschoolers, with numbers growing each year.
Where I live, there are close to 2000 families in my region homeschooling — it is a bustling and exciting community.
I’m not even fucking with you right now:
that’s my homeschooler kids doing painting and geography lessons on the beach.
I wish you could experience the fullness of homeschooling during Corona-free days: when the world becomes your classroom, where there are endless amounts of exciting homeschool activities and meetups, where your days are spent in the sun with your children and other homeschoolers. It really is some kind of utopia.
But, here we are. In Corona times. Doing quiet, at-home kind of homeschooling. And still, there are many gentle gladnesses and miracles to happen here too.
First up: I know you have a lot of fears right now.
It’s a big change! I get it! You feel absolutely unprepared for this!
And I want you to know: it’s ABSOLUTELY okay to feel like this.
It’s 1000% normal. Every new homeschooling parent does, whether they’ve consciously chosen it, or being forced into it by a pandemic.
Let’s talk about the specific fears you might have…
I am worried my kid will “be behind” or will “miss out”
Spoiler alert love… EVERYONE is being sent home. They aren’t going to have FOMO… because NO ONE IN THE WORLD is really able to go to school right now.
And here’s the thing about missing out: these things happen.
Sometimes it’s from World Wars. Sometimes it’s from illness or accidents. Sometimes it’s from pandemics.
None of us get a perfect ride. And sometimes it’s the really shitty, weird, rough stuff that actually builds our resilience, compassion and understanding of the world.
Hard times can be filled with great blessings, too.
One of my friends became so ill in high school she had to miss out on 9 months of school and repeat it a year later. And even though it felt like such a “bad thing” at the time — when she did go back to school, she met her soulmate. She wouldn’t have otherwise. They’ve now been together for over 20 years.
Another friend spent a lot of her childhood in hospitals for various operations. She says it lead her to develop a rich inner world and bury herself in books. She’s now a crazy successful entrepreneur.
We don’t know what these times will be the catalyst for in our children’s souls. But we can trust they are getting something out of it.
Like Isaac Newton and William Shakespeare, this downtime can be a fertile ground. They may not invent something new, but they may have the chance to do something even more precious: rest, connect with their family, live life at a quieter pace, and begin to listen to their own soul.
But school is the place for children to learn!
Well… it’s ONE place your children can learn.
But I’ll let you into a homeschooling secret: so is the rest of the world. And our homes. And our communities.
Learning happens in a rainbow of ways, and usually sitting at a desk with 30 other kids while a teacher talks at you doesn’t cause the greatest amount of information absorption.
Worksheets aren’t the only way to learn either… in fact… it’s one of the worst ways to learn.
Just because schools are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s right. Here in Australia our educational ranking is appaaaaaallllling and continues to drop — in fact… the United Nations has ranked us as #39 out of #41 countries. Guys… we are third last. You can pretty much shit on a canvas, swirl it around with a paintbrush and call it a better educational outcome than our traditional schooling environments.
THAT’S WHY THERE ARE SO MANY HOMESCHOOLERS! They want a better educational outcome than THIRD FUCKING LAST.
I’ll let you into another homeschooling secret:
There’s an ever-growing homeschooling sect called Unschoolers. Their philosophy is: you don’t need to push learning on a kid. They naturally want to learn for themselves. Just as they want to walk, they want to speak, they want to ride a bike. And you encourage them in their passions and interests (just as I did with that horse week!) and help them find resources and tools to learn what they want to know. Without any formal instruction.
Lest you think this an awful social experiment gone bad — I have a friend who was completely unschooled. She is 20 now, and one of the most self-assured and talented people I’ve come across! She’s even worked for me, and was WAY smarter and proactive than most traditionally educated people I’ve hired.
So whenever you FTFO over a math worksheet with your kid, remember there’s a whole army of unschooled kids and adults out there and they are doing fucking greeeeeeat!
I don’t know HOW I will teach my kids!
Instead of seeing yourself as a teacher of your kids, try and see yourself as an assistant (or librarian) for their learning experience.
Depending on where you are and what school your kids are at, you may be receiving online learning resources anyway. Many are not — one friend in the US had her kid sent home with a blank spiral bound notebook for the next six weeks of homeschooling.
Either way, you have a blank slate of a schedule, and it’s a good time to get your kid on board to work out WHAT they would like to learn and HOW they would like to do it.
You might create some parameters to make sure your time is productive. Screen time can be a total time suck and eat up other work, hobbies and interests. So, with your kid, you might like to set a container for your time that feels good to both of you.
A suddenly homeschooling friend sat down with her 10yo son, and he mapped out what he usually does in class, and they worked out how he could do something similar at home in their own time, with plenty of wriggle room.
Our homeschool schedule example
When we homeschool, we make sure that all our chores and homeschooling is done in the morning. By the afternoon, we are all usually a bit frayed, so it’s then they can have screen time. For my kids, that means Minecraft. When they have screen time, I get my work done (I’ll talk more about that soon). We have maybe 2 hours, and then we come back together to read a book or play. I cook dinner, my eldest daughter helps.
Then we have dinner, and watch an interesting show (usually craft based) like Landscape Artist of the Year, Portrait Artist of the Year, The Great British Bakeoff, The Great Pottery Throwdown, River Cottage, Donna Hay’s Basics to Brilliance, Pooch Perfect or Making It. Then we read a book together, and my kids go to bed early (6:30pm). They are 6 and 10 years old, and it’s been their bedtime since they have been babies. I’ve never bothered changing it. As they’ve gotten older, they don’t go to sleep right at that time. They are allowed to hang out in their bedroom, read, draw, play quietly or listen to audiobooks (no screen time though!)
It means that our evenings are free for us as parents to watch nonsense TV, talk shit together, work and create. It’s a beautiful way for all of us to have the opportunity to connect with our own souls. I’ve had friends visit, notice how lovely the evenings are at our place, and go back and institute a similar philosophy with their teenagers!
I reckon all of us are in dire need of more alone time and quiet time. That’s where the fertile ground is.
What if I go crazy?
Do you remember when your kids were tiny babes? And some days were just an absolute shitfuck of a fight to get through it. They might have been crying, or teething, or not sleeping. And you just felt SO empty, SO exhausted, SO out of juice.
And yet: you turned up anyway. And you kept on caring for them. And you tried new ways to soothe, and make things better. You asked for help. And you carried on.
I often think of those days. Those were the days I became a warrior woman. Those were the days I was made into a parent.
And if I can do THAT, then I can surely meet the things that happen today.
Here’s the thing: there are huge chances for rainbows and unicorns and miracles in homeschooling.
AND it will be filled with life as well: frustration, anger and stress too.
And those will be the times you get to become smooth like a river stone, tousled about by the water, grinding the edges off you.
When you do lose your shit: back off. Back up. Tend to your own needs as best you can. Rest. Replenish. Fill your own well. Let your children run wild with the wolves of their own interests.
You’ve got to reset you in order to be able to carry on. Then apologise to your kids for losing your shit.
What do I teach my kids? What should we learn?
Again, this is up to what your school expects you to do.
But here’s what I learned over three years of homeschooling:
Follow your kids’ interests as much as you can. That’s where the passion is, the self-motivation, and where they are eager to learn.
Plus your kids’ interests will cross over curriculum sections when you dive into it.
So for example, one week I asked my kids:
“What would you like to learn this week?”
They thought about it and said: “HORSES!”
So we extrapolated that out into Horse Week (which evolved into weeks and months!)
Here’s some ways we learned during our horse theme:
- We found art tutorials online and did drawings and paintings of horses (Art!)
- We read books about horses (Literature!)
- We found an amazing book by Jackie French that was one of the most incredible historical stories I’ve ever read (History!)
- We went horseriding together which became a year long passion (P.E.!)
- We learned horse biology and terminology at the stables, and then did a biological drawing (Science! Spelling!)
- I found horse themed Math & English worksheets online! (Math and English!)
- We did a Natural Horsemanship workshop on a friend’s property which was fucking innnncredible (LIFE GOALS!!!)
AND my kids were SO excited and enthused than if I just dissected it up and force fed it to them!
Help them create their own projects
We’re lucky because at the alternative school my kids are at now, they hold a similar learning philosophy.
The Principal is already prepping us for school shutdown, and has encouraged us to follow our children’s interests, just as they do in school. He expects they’ll find their own projects to be excited by.
My kids are at home today, and my eldest (10yo) came to me and told me she wanted to do a project on sloths.
“COOL!” I said. “Where do you think you could learn about sloths?”
She shrugged. “I tried looking through our library, but I couldn’t find any sloth books.”
“Hmmmm, you’re right! We probably don’t have any books just about sloths only. But you know what? We probably have encyclopaedias and reference books that might have them in it! Would you like me to show you how we find out?”
She agreed. So we went through our bookshelves and found any reference books that might possibly mention sloths. Then we sat down with them in a pile, looked up all the indexes for sloths and found what we did have.
She collated that information, then asked for help searching the internet for more sloth information. So I did — and I reminded her that lots of time can be wasted going down the internet rabbithole, so we needed to stay on task, look for reputable sources, and digest what we learned into notes for the project.
Meanwhile, my youngest (just turned 6) was still thinking about a fun creative project they did in art class last week, and asked me to print out a template of the same project for her. I did, and she set up her own paint station and created one. With the left over paint, we sat down together and did some art journalling, and tried out different paint techniques together. Then she was thinking about the zoo we went to last weekend for her birthday, so she set up a zoo with its own cages, animal (toys), signs, cafe and currency, then gave me a tour, making sure to tell me every fact she knows about each animal. Then we ate the (fake) food she made, and she sang me a song she’s learned at school recently.
I made them lunch, and then we sat down together and I read to them books that they chose. That’s a pretty decent example of a child-led learning morning!
(Just a heads up — if you’re a massive ole Pagan/Buddhist/agnostic/spiritual bitsa like me, there are a LOT of uber Christian resources out there. Like sometimes, you’re just happily searching for dinosaur homeschooling materials and then you fall down a website hole with Young Earth Creationist type worksheets on why God invented dinosaurs only a couple of thousand years ago and you’re like WTAF GUYS. SCIENCE. Anyyyyyways!)
If all you do is read to your kids, that’s enough
When all else goes to ruin, just remember: books are enough!
There’s even entire homeschooling curriculums out there completely based on reading books! You can find Build Your Library’s homeschool book lists on their website.
Fuck, is this going to cost me the earth?
Absolutely not. There are many homeschoolers that do this super cheaply!
Libraries are GREAT tools, but possibly not face-to-face in pandemic times! Make sure you check out what online services your libraries offer you instead. They usually give you free subscription to ebook and audiobook resources and other educational tools.
Our local library gives us access to BorrowBox which is AMAZING — my kids have listened to hundreds and hundreds of audiobooks through there, and read so many ebooks through there. The Queensland State Library even gives us free access to Lynda.com — a phenomenal training resource for everything from design, website coding, marketing, photography, illustration and business!
Kindle Unlimited can be useful as well — you pay one monthly subscription and get access to hundreds of thousands of ebooks to download.
And we haven’t even covered all the learning websites yet! I’ll cover that in a minute!
Here’s an illustration I made to remind myself of the possibilities and opportunities available to me and my family in this time.
How do I run businesses/earn money at the same time as homeschooling?
Now, I want to say up front: I realise I’m remarkably privileged to be in the position that I’m in now. I’ve already prepped my business for Coronavirus by building it online, and saving a lot of money for a rainy or virus soaked day. I know that this is a scary motherfucking time as the world changes, and we have to scramble hard to keep up. I know finances are super scary for a lot of people right now. I know it’s not easy to switch up your business model in the midst of all this.
What I do want to say though is: it’s absolutely possible and doable. And that doesn’t mean it will be without swear and tears and a fucktonne of swear words. But this is the first time that we’ve had a the hundred year plague AND had the internet. We CAN make money by working remotely or running businesses online.
What’s more: it is possible to build a business in part-time hours while homeschooling.
I want to share with you what I’ve done:
I’ve created over $10 million in revenue while working 10 hours a week. I’ve only ever worked around that 10 hour mark because that’s all I’ve had available. Before kids, I still worked in the Australian Government while I ran my business on the side.
And then I had kids! And I wanted to be home with them as much as I could. They didn’t go to daycare. They stayed at home with us, and I made my businesses work around the side.
And then by the time we were homeschooling it wasn’t really a transition, because my businesses always fit in around the sides anyway!
In fact — the year we started homeschooling, I was a bit bored, so I started a THIRD business, and broke the world record of building to the highest rank in a network marketing company in the fastest time. And I did it all online, coz Mama don’t leave the house for nothing. My other businesses are in publishing books and online training, so I didn’t even have experience in network marketing before that. I still focus mailing on the books and training, but that was a fun side project!
Here’s the thing: I’ve been the solo breadwinner for my family since 2010… ten years now! Ten years of ten hours a week work. Over $10 million in revenue. Hilarious how those numbers all line up now!
I don’t come from a rich background. I’m not a trust fund baby, unless you mean “the trust fund of debt-riddled small town farmer parents” bwahahah! I don’t have a sugar daddy (I AM THE SUGAR DADDY BABES!)
I wanted to share my experience not as a HA HA FUCKERS LOOK AT ME NAILING THE SHIT OUT OF THIS PANDEMIC.
I want to share it because I want you to see what is actually fucking possible. That this is doable. That yep, we can homeschool and focus our lives around our families and be at home and still be nailing it on the income front.
If you want to know more details about my productivity habits:
- How I homeschool and run businesses at the same time (video)
- And I talked about balancing work more in my free homeschooling ebook here too (no email signup required!)
What if my kids fight all the time?
Here’s my experience with homeschooling: my kids fought much less when we homeschooled.
Being together kind of forces them to work out their connection.
After all, there’s not much fun in fighting with the person that can be your best mate and playmate, right?
There (of course) will be hiccups because they are humans. And them learning how to communicate and resolve conflict is a wonderful thing for them to learn.
Here’s an example of what we did last week.
They’d been having issues at bath time for two nights: they wanted to have a bath together, but then both times it had ended in tears (one of them had their feelings hurt when the other left without saying anything, the next day the other bumped their head on the tap twice and then yelled at their sister in pain).
After I’d gotten them dried off and in pyjamas, I held the upset one while she cried, and empathised with her.
“You’re saying your feelings are really hurt. And you feel really sad hey? You really wish your sister hadn’t yelled at you! It makes you feel so upset, doesn’t it? Yeah, of course, you feel like crying right now. Oh love, I’m so sorry you feel so sad right now. Mmmmmmm! I love you and I’m right here for you.”
I talk to my kids the same way I like to be talked to when I’m upset: I want my friends or husband to try and understand why I’m feeling sad, and tell me it’s normal to feel that way, and that it still feels horrid when you feel like that.
I try not to tell my kids they should feel any different from how they feel… because it never works and it doesn’t make sense. If I’m feeling sad and my friends or husband say “You shouldn’t feel like that! Stop crying! That’s ridiculous!” how would I feel? I’d feel fucking PISSED. I have a RIGHT to my feelings, and I’m allowed to feel them. So I’d feel all my original hard feelings PLUS I would feel upset about the fact that I hadn’t been empathised and supported.
Whereas when I tell a loved one about a hard feeling I’m having, and they say “Oooof! Oh love! I’m so sorry you feel like that! It’s completely understandable to feel that way. I’ve felt that way before! And it’s so so hard. I love you! I’m here for you!” it feels like a huge relief. And it means I can start accepting and moving through my feelings, and finding my way out of them.
It’s bizarre that we tell our kids to stop feeling their feelings and expect them to be able to say “Yeah! Fair enough! I was being an idiot! I’m happy now! Thanks for telling me to get over myself!” We can’t even do that as humans when we are feeling all our feelings! We need to be able to express, be empathised with, and be able to regulate our nervous system back down before we can think rationally again.
Spoiler alert: empathy helps SO MUCH with managing tantrums. Both my kids haven’t really been tantrum throwers. If they started to get overloaded with feelings with toddlers, I’d switch straight into empathy mode. Crouch down to their level, give them firm, loving touch, eye contact and verbal empathy. Even just saying “Mmmmmm!” empathetically can help. All these things help set off the physiology of the mammalian care-giving system, releasing oxytocins and resetting our nervous system.
I remember when my 18 month old daughter started to have her first meltdown. It was in Bunnings (a big hardware store here in Australia). I’d already watched all of Carrie Contey PhD’s videos, and recited her words over in my head: “Stop, drop and breathe.”
What she means by that is: stop what you’re doing. Drop down to your child’s level. Take a deep breath to re-centre yourself and get your own brain back online. Then commence empathy.
So I did exactly that. There, in the aisles of a Bunnings store. My wailing toddler starting to lose her shit — that kind of wailing that draws so much attention. And I stopped, dropped and breathed. And then held her, cooed over her, and began saying: “Oh love! Of course you’re feeling overwhelmed! A big store like this! So many lights and so many things and everything feels so big! And you are tired, and probably hungry. And you just want to leave already! Oooof! That’s really hard. I’m so sorry honey!”
Meanwhile, there were people walking around us, and some were staring, and the Mama Bear in me just WANTED them to say something snide so I could lovingly educate them. But they didn’t. And within about sixty seconds, the meltdown was over, and we got off the floor, and carried along. And she rarely got to that place of complete meltdown again. It was like she knew that she’d be listened to, and that her feelings were allowed. And that’s kind of how it went for both my kids. I didn’t see tantrums as something to be controlled. More just an opportunity to get closer, and help my kid’s nervous system come back online again.
Something else I’ve discovered as well is that sometimes the tears they have aren’t about the thing that caused them. Instead, it’s just given them an opportunity to start feeling their hard feelings. And then a deeper hurt bubbles up and needs to be heard. So, when I held my kid who was crying because of the tap incident, after a minute of empathy and crying, she told me she feels like her sister doesn’t like her as much as her friends. That was the deeper hurt. So I empathised with that part too.
Jeff Bridges once said in an interview that he viewed conflict and difficulties in his marriage as an “opportunity to go deeper” with his wife. It’s kind of a mantra for me now. When there is discord, there’s an opportunity to go deeper. When my kids need my help to move through their difficult feelings, there’s an opportunity to go deeper.
So, anyways. That was Step 1 in resolving the Bath Incident.
And you’re like “Fucking hell Leonie, who has time for this bullshit?” — but I needed to explain to you the background concepts behind it. And in reality, holding and empathy took maybe three minutes. Heaps faster and easier to look after than having grumpy, grouchy, meltdowny kids for the rest of the night! Just put the work in there to make it easier later!
So Step 2 in resolving the Bath Incident.
I asked both the girls if they were willing to have a community meeting together. There’s lots of different words you can use for this kind of experience — the Native American tradition is called Talking Stick, the Quaker tradition also does something similar. We call it a community meeting at our house because my eldest kid’s class follows the same principal for conflict resolution and calls it that.
I had a crystal handy that we used as the “Talking Stick”. It was the closest thing at hand, but you can use a rock, a pencil, a book, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that when another person is holding it, they get to speak for as long as they wish without being interrupted. This, by the way, is exactly the process that saved my marriage, because I used to be a chronic interrupter. When another person is speaking, our ONE JOB is to listen and be present, and try not to start making up our response in our head.
So one kid started and shared why they were feeling so upset. Me and my other kid listened, and I made empathetic noises. When they were finished, they handed it over to the other kid to share. And so the crystal went back and forth between them, giving them the opportunity to express everything that they were feeling. Sometimes after one had spoken, I gently said “So you are feeling ____, because _____, yes? And you wish instead you could have _____, so you can feel _____?” Just to clarify and make sure we all understood.
After both had felt like they’d shared everything about their feelings, my eldest said “Ok! That was the PROBLEM sharing time. Now we need to discuss SOLUTIONS!” (This is the format of their meetings at school, obviously!)
And then the kids took turns holding the crystal and coming up with ideas of how they could NOT fight in the bathtub. They both realised they’d prefer to have baths alone because their limbs are getting too big to share it together, and that’s what is causing the main issues. They did however both say they’d still like to have baths together on special occasions because it’s fun, and they’ll try to take more care when they do.
I barely spoke during this time — it was mostly up to the kids. Once you’ve created the framework for it, and have the boundaries in place, it can work beautifully for conflict resolution.
But most of all — and again — having your kids together encourages them to start working through their conflicts. And we can guide them on the way there. If you want more details — Positive Discipline is a great resource!
Ok! The list you’ve all been waiting for… a fucktonne of homeschooling and learning resources for you!
Some of these are free, some are freemium, some are paid. Before you pay for anything, check first with your school or your library whether they have a subscription you can use!
Also: don’t buy more physical shit wherever possible. Climate change doesn’t need any more of our nonsense. Before you buy anything, make sure it’s necessary, your kid actually WANTS it, and you don’t have anything else you can use at home instead.
- Khan Academy
- Scholastic Learn at Home
- Mystery Science
- Reading Eggs and Mathseeds
- Prodigy math game
- Teach Your Monster To Read
- Story Box Library
- FunSchooling books
- Art For Kids Hub
- Board games! So often we don’t realise how much learning happens in games. Strategy, brainstorming, memory, numeracy and literacy are all part and parcel. We like Chess, checkers, Zingo,
- Sometimes sticker books can be a fun way to talk about a subject. We liked Lonely Planet’s Adventures in Wild Places and Wonders of Learning box sets.
- Sunshine Collective activity boxes
- Story of the World book series (covers the history of the world in a semi-fictional format! Riveting!)
- The Magic Treehouse book series and Merlin Missions book series (covers science, geography and history in a fictional format! My kids adore these!)
- Homeschool Australia
- Historicool magazines
- Wild Kratts TV series (my animal-obsessed daughter still quotes factoids from this show years later!)
- The Educating Parents Facebook group (plus there are SHIT TONNES of Facebook groups… just search homeschool + your area or country!)
- Not all of my book recommendations are kid friendly, but here’s the best books lists I’ve published each year!
- Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (read it with a globe to find out where they lived, and then you might like to Youtube them afterwards to see their art/hear them sing/do further research)
- Olga series by Elise Gravel (teaches the scientific process in the most adorable way possible!)
- How to Homeschool: A Purse Sized Guide To Getting Started (probably the easiest and best how to homeschool book I read!)
- Project Based Homeschooling (if you want to encourage your kids to being more self directed)
- The Core Knowledge series of “What Your ___ Grader Needs To Know” was helpful at trying to help me orientate to what my kids needed to know at each year!
- We bought a shit tonne of workbooks. We didn’t end up using many. Just make sure you have buy-in from your kid that they actually want it and will use it. The ones that did end up getting used were Brainquest workbooks.
- Minecraft Education Edition
- The Magic School Bus TV series
- The Brainquest cards are still being used in my house three years on!
- My Little Poppies blog
- Fearless Homeschool blog
- Confessions of a Homeschooler blog
- Project Gutenberg
- Duolingo: learn languages free
- CrashCourse and CrashCourseKids Youtube channel.
Also: I once asked a teacher where she found her teaching resources from. She said “Honestly? Pinterest. It’s the best thing since sliced bread!”
But most of all… DO NOT GET OVERWHELMED BY THIS LIST.
You do NOT need to use all these websites. You don’t need to even fucking use ONE of them.
It’s a LOT to take on right now.
Have a deep breath.
Have a cup of tea.
Read a book with your kids.
High five them and tell them you adore them.
That’s worth more than anything else they can ever learn.
You’ll work the rest out later.
What if this was a time to reset?
Here’s what I want to say:
This time could set us on a better path.
It’s going to be hard and scary and challenging, YES. And I deeply wish we could make this change without the grief and loss of life that is already happening, and will continue creating.
But haven’t we all been lamenting at the sheer speed of the world? How busy things get? How we can barely draw a breath? How we can barely scrap the time to just… be with our kids? How capitalism has broken the environment and the natural order of our lives?
The research shows us: for more than 50 years, children’s free play has been continually declining, just as children’s depression and anxiety has been increasing. Not only is free play in sharp decline, but so is the amount of time they spend playing outside too.
This is a massive opportunity to right that wrong, and rebalance our lives. To orient our families to play, rest and be outdoors (in safe, sparsely populated areas!)
What it’s like having kids return to school after being homeschooled
I guess I’m well placed to answer this, having had kids return after 3 years of homeschooling. I was totally nervous about what teachers would say. Where had I fucked it up? Had I ruined my kids? Those are the sneaky thoughts that sometimes keep homeschoolers up at night.
But here’s the biggest piece of feedback I’ve gotten from teachers: my kids are happy, enthusiastic learners. They’ve got a good sense of themselves. They love learning, and they love books. And that’s more than a teacher can ask for.
But most of all: I have the precious gift of three years of beautiful memories with my kids.
By my side as we learned and thrived and discovered. Together. I will cherish those years for the rest of my life. And I think my kids will too.
I wrote this 50+ page ebook a couple of years ago that documents:
- why we chose to homeschool
- how we structured our days
- the homeschooling fears I had
- resources we used!
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FREE HOMESCHOOLING EBOOK
(no email signup required!)
Related podcast I just made!
- Notes from a homeschooling mama
- How I homeschool and run businesses at the same time
- How I do record keeping for homeschooling (you may not need this if your child is still registered in a school however!)
We’ve got this.
In the immortal words of Saint Glennon:
Oh and this:
All that’s called upon us is:
Be with our kids at home, and helping them learn and bloom. Just as we do with our own sweet selves.
We are strong and brilliant creatures.
This time is full of possibilities.
May you and your family be blessed and safe.
Sending you so much love, grace and joy, even in shaky and uncertain times!