School is just around the corner, and parents all across Canada are trying to decide, send your kids back or homeschool?
It’s a definite risk to send your kids back, but no one seems to know for certain how big a risk it really is. And homeschooling.. Well this presents a whole different set of fears about risking your child’s education, his social well-being, and your own sanity as you continue to juggle an impossible home and work load.
For many the uncertainty is too much; why gamble with your child’s health and the health of grandparents and immunocompromised loved ones? Homeschooling is also a big unknown for most of us, but the difference is that there is a wealth of information out there about it as opposed to COVID-19 where the experts are still learning and experimenting.
So how do you get started with homeschooling? First, an attitude adjustment.
Allow yourself a moment of panic. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there and it’s ok to be freaked out. Once that moment(s) has passed, tell yourself that this is a great opportunity. Homeschooling can be an awesome experience for your child and yes even for you.
Once upon a time it was only natural that the parent be the one to teach the child everything, and it’s a little sad how much this has changed. Keep this in mind. Traditional schools are required to meet guidelines, and to meet requirements like ticking items off a checklist. Very much like “the filling of a pail.” However, education is not the filling of a pail.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” - William Butler Yeats.
If done thoughtfully, homeschooling can very much be the lighting of a fire for your child, inspiring him or her to be a lifelong learner.
Next, learn the lingo.
Did you know there are actually 2 types of home learning?
- When you register your child as a homeschooler you are educating him outside of the school system.
- PRO - Flexibility. You have full control of curriculum and schedule. Do you have a child that focuses better in the afternoon? Does he prefer acting out stories to writing them? As a registered homeschooler you have the freedom to create an education that is meant just for your unique child.
- CON - You have full control of the curriculum and schedule. Yes this is a con too! Creating your own lesson plan is daunting. You can shell out $$ to get a boxed curriculum. YouTube is also a great resource for learning how to make lesson plans.
- Tip: You have until September 30 to register your child as a homeschooler.
Distributed Learning (DL)
- You can enrol your child in a school that specializes in remote education. When you enrol in a DL you are educating your child inside of the school system.
- You will still be the primary educator, however a teacher will be assigned to you to act as a mentor.
- There are several different DL schools out there, with many providing daily assignments.
- PRO - Curriculum support and the guidance of a B.C. certified teacher.
- CON - Having curriculum and teacher support is a big one, but for many working parents it can be challenging to complete the required assignments and activities. Depending on the DL, your child will be required to log in by a specific time each day.
- Tip: Get yourself on one or more waitlists as the DLs are all very full right now and are trying to hire more teachers to meet the demand.
Join the BC Home Learners: homeschoolers, DLers, unschoolers Facebook group. From here you can get insights about the different DLs, philosophies for homeschooling, and guidance from other parents who are in the same situation as you.
Look for another group that provides local support. The local groups are the place to organize social gatherings and field trips with other parents. Perhaps not as relevant during a pandemic, but there are parents who are organizing social distance gatherings.
Get excited, because it is exciting! Challenging, yes without a doubt. But it can also be a wonderful adventure. Read The Call of the Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment.
“Allow your children to experience the adventure, freedom, and wonder of childhood with this practical guide that provides all the information, inspiration, and advice you need for creating a modern, quality homeschool education.”
Allow you and your child a period of adjustment. You will both have preconceptions of what school should look like, and it can take some time for your child to adjust to his new way of learning. What does this look like? Here's a deschooling idea:
Get your child to choose a recipe, and let him follow it. Self-directed, hands off Mom or Dad! This activity teaches reading comprehension, time management and of course cooking!For more ideas:
Find ways to save time.
You will have less time in your day. I have gotten accustomed to working while the baby naps, but I know that I will have to sacrifice at least one of those oh-so-precious nap times to cleaning or preparing lessons. To keep my sanity, I am devising ways to help give me time.
Hiring a cleaning service - Twice a month, or even once a month so that my free time is not always taken up by cleaning. It’s expensive yes, but don’t forget that your time is valuable and worth the $50-100/hr you spend on a cleaning service.
Use Tradle - I’ve told my husband that he is now in charge of our 8-year old son’s clothes. Including making sure that outgrown clothes are organized and properly donated/sold/disposed of. As for our baby girl, we of course have Tradle. I only have to message Blyth to get a new bundle of clothes whenever Cora goes through yet another growth spurt.
My family decided together that homeschooling is our best option. Whatever decision you make, no matter how imperfect it seems, just know that you are an amazing Mom. You are an amazing Dad. You are enough, no matter how much it feels like falling short in this very crazy year.
A Tradle Mommy Post
Jahzel Misner is a Vancouver Mom of two. Alexander who is 8 and Corazon who is 8-months old. She is on the quest to reduce her family’s footprint so that her children and their children can enjoy nature in the same way we do today.