Anyone can home educate… I mean anyone! All you really need is the ability to read and take notes. You don’t need the patience of a saint, nor do you need to pay a host of expensive tutors – virtual or otherwise. Just being a loving parent who wants what is best for your child qualifies you to facilitate their learning! The internet is brimming with information and resources to fill and stimulate the minds of you and your children! Worry not, dear parents!
Having survived the first week of home educating in full lockdown mode, hopefully you’re feeling less anxious about your ability to home educate, work and stay sane during these trying times! In case, you’re not. Be assured, your little ones will be alright. They will not regress if you let them work a little less than the normal school day whilst you settle into your newly acquired superwoman/man role of being parent, educator, remote working employee and housekeeper. As someone who has home educated for over 18 months, I can safely say that children also need space and time when transitioning from one system to another. We home educators call this “de-schooling”. Your children too might be absorbing all the tensions surrounding these difficult times as well as going through huge changes in their daily lives, so don’t be afraid to take things slow.
That might sound kind of crazy and unrealistic, I get it. However, given that we are all now in a worst-case-scenario situation, there is little time to debate your personal ability to teach or the benefits of home education. The crux of the matter now is due to COVID-19, you have, seemingly overnight, become the primary educator in your child(ren)’s life and it is now your responsibility to educate as well as nurture them! If you have the wherewithal to rely on outside sources of education for your child ‘s education, then bravo as that certainly lightens the load. For many of us for whom sustained periods of tutoring virtual or not, is not a viable option, allow me to share why I think you can nail this home education thing and maybe, even grow to like it.
If you choose to use this isolation time to engage in your child(ren)’s education, beyond making sure they meet the basic requirements of schoolwork, then take my word for it, you don’t need any special qualifications! Being a loving, attentive and present parent who wants only the best for your child is all you really need. I have come across quite a few successful mothers who have educated their children into Cambridge, Columbia, and Oxford, to name a few. (Yes, Sally Clarkson, I am looking at you!) I have also come across home educators who have brought up incredibly kind, intelligent, wholesome, and productive citizens who didn’t go to university. Each to their own.
The anxiety surrounding home education stems from the stress of maintaining a tightly run school at home. I’ll be honest, it isn’t the most pleasant walk in the park…but unless you’re a teacher, or trained to teach, don’t try to take a formal approach as an educator. First, you’d need to make extra time to master various topics, prepare and create educational material to supplement your child’s entire day not to mention the restrictions and tensions you will unleash in your home. Let’s be real here, your children know you’re not a teacher. If they are older, they may even know the extent of your academic strengths and how to manipulate you. In my experience, even the most compliant children cringe at the thought of their parents becoming their teachers. Not to mention, your children may have their own anxieties about being cooped up at home indefinitely. They may be anxious about missing their friends and teachers or they could be feeling fearful because of the misinformation that has circulated surrounding COVID-19. Trust me, trying to replicate school at home is a tall order. The battle will get ugly and there will be no winners (because no one can walk away from the ring). There are many other ways to approach educating your child at home, and we’ll discuss that later.
Like most parents, just under two years ago, I found myself caught between a rock and hard place. My then relatively bright, active and extroverted son was not a fan of school. Quite frankly, he hated it! I didn’t know if I should take his education upon myself, or ignore his discontent and continue pushing him through his classes…
After months of trying to work things out with no sign of hope, I finally decided to do what I knew was right for my child. I began homeschooling my eight-year-old and it wasn’t a decision I came to lightly. I was working remotely at the time, so that kind of swayed my choice in the matter. However, with global clients on both sides of the Atlantic, I was on call (albeit with some flexibility), from 9am to 10pm most days. I took the plunge regardless. I can honestly say that not only was it the best thing I’d ever done for my son’s emotional and academic well-being, it was the bravest decision of my entire life.
Now breathe, relax, and hit “pause” for a minute. You are not alone. We are all in this together. Your child will not be left behind in all of this. Balancing home education and work is done by parents all around the world. After downloading the following tips I have written for you, you might just emerge from this lockdown stronger, smarter, and maybe even more engaged with your loved ones!
13 Quick Tips to Get You Home Educating with Ease
I have written these tips for parents, who like me two years ago, are being tossed into home education with little experience and tons of anxiety. In this valuable resource you will find lessons learned from my first year as a home educator, as well as advice received from mentors, colleagues, and trusted friends, all of whom have successfully educated their own children. I have also included tips from various books I have read along the way. Having said that, I know there is no “one way” to home educate! Every child is different, and they all learn differently. These tips may not work out for you, as you may need to develop your own educational and comfortable approach, and that’s absolutely okay! Happy Reading!
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