As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a lot of institutions encouraging parents to continue school at home with their kids while they practice social-distancing outside the classroom.
Good news, folks! You don’t have to do school at home!
In this unprecedented time in history, you have the opportunity to experience a living education with your children! You are no longer bound by a model that was designed to teach dozens of children of the same age, the same thing at the same time.
You do not have to recreate the classroom in your living room. You have a 2-week opportunity (maybe even longer!) to experience all that home education can be…
…and it looks nothing like school.
Here’s what’s interesting: there are no hard and fast rules to tell you what an excellent education at home should look like, because it’s unique to each family.
You have the opportunity to play to your children’s strengths and weaknesses.
You can spend more time in places where you see they’re struggling, and give them unbounded opportunities in places you know they’ll soar.
At home, you can remove the clock from the wall. There is no killjoy timer, buzzing you out of a subject you’ve just got interested in, forcing you to close your book and move onto something else.
Schedules can be helpful, and children often thrive on routine, but equally beneficial is not allowing their God-given wonder and curiosity to be governed by rigidity.
Knowing a few things very well is far superior to knowing a little about a lot.
Let them be engrossed in a good book for hours on end.
Ask them what they want to learn about, and facilitate experiences in that area. In researching a topic a child is passionate about, they will naturally touch on most subjects as they investigate.
Go for long drives, listening to a good audiobook (I’ve listed our 10 Family Favorites, here), and discovering the geography of your hometown.
Bake cookies in triple batches to stockpile snacks in the freezer, and to learn how to multiply fractions.
Write letters and draw pictures (our kids really enjoy Art For Kids Hub!) to mail to retirement homes, sending a bit of cheer to those most vulnerable and cut off from the rest of society by this pandemic, and honing handwriting at the same time.
Clean out the gardens for Spring. Discover and identify what forms of new life are emerging from beneath the decomposing leaves. It’s science, exercise, and soaking up immunity boosting Vitamin D, all in one.
Grow something from seed. Research Square Foot Gardening, Lasagna Gardening, and Back To Eden Gardens. Develop a hypothesis and discuss which method may be better and why. Prepare or amend your own gardens according to what you’ve discovered.
Take this opportunity to learn life skills that don’t usually get taught in the classroom: foraging, laundry, tax preparation, how to change the oil in a car, how to make a dinner for the whole family using only non-perishable ingredients, basic home repair, first aid, etc.
Let them use your phone to call their great-grandparents, learning proper phone etiquette and showing care and concern at the same time.
Seize this opportunity! Don’t squander it.
These next few weeks could prove to be the most educational and enjoyable ones your family has ever had together.
Fair warning: your children may end up wanting to learn this way for life.