When You Suddenly Need to Homeschool

Tips for when you find yourself unexpectedly homeschooling!

I reposted a meme the other day that made a joke about everyone becoming homeschoolers and I was shocked by how many messages I received asking for actual advice on the topic. I realized this was a real thing for many of you! So, I tossed around a few things I would say to a friend who found themselves in the position of unexpectedly homeschooling for a time. Here are some of my thoughts, which I hope can help spark some fun at-home learning for you all.

Enjoy the Bright Hours. One of the secret joys of school at home is spending time with your children at the beginning of the day, as opposed to the end.  When I began homeschooling, I realized the kids I woke up with were different people than the ones I was seeing mostly just from 4pm on, when they (and me) were tired. My morning kids are calmer, more focused and able to handle challenges. It’s a special treat to spend this part of the day with them. Take advantage!

Try Interest-led Learning. This is a perfect time to let loose on some interest-led, rabbit hole chasing, learning freedom! As homeschoolers we know that this can be one of the best ways to ignite learning, but even we have schedules and benchmarks we are looking to meet, and don’t always feel completely free to chase passions. Your brief stint as a homeschooler is perfect for this. Just ask your kids if there is anything they want to learn about, and go for it!  

Let them own their education. A short break from the classroom setting can be a great time to remind your student that learning isn’t about just doing the thing that leads to the next thing. This can be a chance to let them feel ownership over their learning, and to talk about the “why” behind all the work they are putting in at school. Engaging in learning without a classroom of peers brings out a different energy of self-discovery.  Maybe ask them about some things they might want to do when they get older. Then together you can try learn about what things are important to focus on to be successful in those fields.  One idea I like, that I heard from Michelle Obama, is to avoid using the phrase “what do you want to be when you grow up?” because we are all really more than just one thing as we grow, so try to use language that avoids putting any restrictions on future interests. 

Honestly, if you just take what you like to do together, and add to that an attitude of purposeful learning and discovery, it’s amazing what can happen. 

Happy homeschooling, and stay healthy out there!