In 2018, Sophia wrote a paper for her Grade 9 Writing class titled, “The Secret to Happiness is to Embrace the Odd Inconvenience.” I happened upon it this morning, looking forward to some tips.
“Sometimes the greatest moments of our lives are fueled solely by an odd inconvenience. If we allow inconveniences to ruin our experiences, life would contain hardly any adventure at all.” – Sophia Rey
To my newly home-based friends with kids, I feel your pain. I know how hard it is to set up, manage and organize school at home. I also know many friends and family are also trying to balance working from home. I know this is not easy. To all of you, I hope I can offer an idea or thought that might work for you or help your situation. Our full-time homeschool journey has been more than seven years in the running and you are being asked to sort it out in seven days. Not fair.
First of all, give yourself a break. No school is perfect on day one, and your new school-at-home will need time to settle in.
- Keep it simple. But be firm and protect your ability to set house rules.
- Make a schedule. Set hours in your day which will be your family’s “school hours.” 8-1? 10-2:30? 12-4? Be reasonable and flexible, but establish some structure and boundaries.
- Start a list. Talk to your kids, individually. First, map out what work has been issued to them by their teacher. Ask your child/teen what else they might like to study, read, learn about and then make a list of all these items. Ask them what want to do for a fitness plan. This list should be fluid. If something doesn’t hold interest over time, change it out with something else.
- Use the list as a guide. Each Monday – Friday, your child should use the list you made together as a structure for their days. Understand that your child does not need to do EVERY extra item, every day; Anything mandated from school has priority.
- Keep it interesting. Include things like: free-choice reading, alone time, fresh air PE, listening to music, baking, etc. School does not have to be boring. Mix in things your child enjoys with required core subjects. Encouraging free-choice time is not a bad thing, but too much screen time is. Non-screen play-time is valuable for all ages and is essential. At every age, playing sparks creativity and exploration. Embrace your child or teen’s inner curiosity.
- Set them up for success by working together on a plan for their days that is not composed of one hour of school and eight hours of Fortnight. Set some ground rules that benefit you all, whether short or long term. Show empathy, and be a leader. Your job right now is NOT to TEACH your children. It is to love and support them first, and facilitate their learning second.
- Relationships first. After health and well-being, your relationship with your child is of highest priority. Establish values you both believe in and set a schedule based on those values.
- Long term wins. Unlike homeschool, any course subject that proves difficult at home, will be made right by your child’s teacher when they are back in school. Teachers are trained for diagnostic evaluations and are pros at meeting each child where they are needed. Have faith all will be just fine.
The last line of Sophia’s 2018 paper was this, “If you think about it, life really is just one big odd inconvenience, it’s just a matter of how well you adjust!”
I hope this is helpful. Please reach out to me if I can offer any aid at all to your home-based learning structure. I have had toddlers through teens both at home and in traditional schools (currently ranging in ages from 14-29). Education comes in so many ways, and learning at home is a gift, if you allow it to be.
Below is a podcast/article from a hero of mine, Brené Brown. She has some great information and help for anyone who needs it. brenebrown.com