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This Is Why We’re Following a More Relaxed Homeschool Schedule

This Is Why We’re Following a More Relaxed Homeschool Schedule

My children are learning more basic home ec skills—and we're all happier for it.

With all New York schools now utilizing at-home learning during the coronavirus quarantine, some parents are attempting to keep a strict homeschool schedule. But this family is following a more relaxed approach to homeschooling. Here's why.

At this point, we’ve all watched as two influential items have emerged about homeschooling—first, an Israeli mom’s viral video airing her electric opinions on distance learning, followed by the New York Times article about whether or not parents will be setting up corona schools at home. After laughing at these outbursts—and by all means we should laugh, because humor is great medicine right now—and relating to them, I decided how I plan to move through this tough time with my family: with a positive approach.

I have four children: three girls in lower school, and a boy in middle school. My son’s school is very prepared, with an online learning tool, which many students will be migrating to immediately. While most parents are pleased with how schools are adapting, I’m also hearing disappointment from parents who feel their kids’ schools are not ready to mobilize technologically. As a mom with one foot in each camp, I find myself on the side of old-school: I’m actually relieved that my daughters and I will have the freedom and flexibility to work at our own pace. 

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The point is this: Each family is dealing with unique circumstances within its own dynamic. And within each family, every individual member has challenges that no one else can understand. All any of us can do is our best—and our best will be different for each one of us. So this should be a time without judgment, checklists, or scorecards.

Here’s one certainty in this uncertain time: Every day will present a different set of challenging circumstances, and we’ll need strength and energy to address each one as it comes. So do what works for you. If you find social media platforms to be motivational, by all means use them. But if you find them aggravating, or they make you feel “less than” in comparison to some super-creative moms out there, then tune them out. Parenting is not a competitive sport. There are times when I feel I’m not doing a good enough job—then I remember not to judge myself. If our kids are happy and healthy and safe, then we’re doing our job.

Getting Back to Basics

This might be a minority opinion, but I’m really enjoying having my kids home! I’ve found two things to be particularly helpful. Each day, we’ve allocated time for movement and mindfulness. The kids and I have agreed on one movement hour—doing physical activities such as going for a bike ride or playing basketball in the driveway—and one mindful hour—time away from the screen, whether it’s reading, doing a puzzle, completing workbooks or assignments, cooking or baking…anything that gets the brain stimulated in a way that an iPad or the TV cannot.

Even in a crisis, we have a choice: to live in fear and anger, or to live in hope and positivity. Staying hopeful and positive is the best way I know to find light during times of dark uncertainty. So let’s choose to connect with our children and our partners; let’s play games together, get creative in the kitchen, do crossword puzzles, and spend quality time with the family pet.

So maybe that means the kids aren’t learning that chapter they would’ve studied at school—but last week my son learned how to load the dishwasher (he crushed it, lining up those utensils like a boss) and my daughter asked if she could have a sewing machine.

Other skills parents should teach children to master, according to The Washington Post

  • Make sure your elementary school-age child knows their full name, address, and phone number(s)
  • Give elementary school-age children the responsibility of caring for pets: have younger children fill your pet's food and water dishes every day, while older siblings clean the litter box or take the dog for a walk
  • Have your tweens select a recipe and make it for dinner once a week
  • Teach middle-schoolers how to read and understand labels (laundry instructions, medication doses, etc.)
  • Help teens understand money management and financial literacy
  • Set your tween and teen up for success in college by helping with time management skills

In the old days, these skills were part of home economics—now, we’re all getting a crash course in home ec.

So let’s not feel limited by our kids’ curriculum. Let’s stay open to all the different types of learning that exist. Let’s put doing homework on pause, and focus on making home, work.

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