Dear Public School Friends: Don’t.Home.School

by Allie Olsen

Hey public school friends… homeschoolers do not do school at home and we don’t think you should either!

I know you’re scrambling now that kids are home and work is at home and teachers are sending school home… we want to help! Below are some protips (we’ve schooled & worked from home for over a decade) and ways you can stay organized & get school done without constantly nagging the kiddos.

public schoolers dont homeschool

First, can I demystify homeschooling real quick? {I know that should read quickly. Don’t judge. LOL}

  • we don’t teach each child & each subject separately (sharing subjects creates family memories!)
  • we don’t have workbook pages for every subject (we love to learn by doing)
  • we don’t sit at desks start to finish (we enjoy flexibility!)
  • we don’t take quizzes every week to test a child’s understanding (Because we talk with them all.day.long. We know if they understand or not! And if they don’t, we re-teach until they master the concept.)
  • we don’t spend all day schooling (no classroom management saves a lot of time!)

Homeschooling looks different from a day in a traditional classroom. So don’t panic and think you need a degree in education to teach your children in the coming months. You taught them to tie their shoes, to read, to share and you’re teaching them to cope with social changes. With the help of your district & the work they’re sending home, you can teach your child!

getting into the routine of homeschooling

Homeschool 101-1: Establish a Routine
how to start homeschooling

DO: establish a routine
DON’T: expect school to take 6 hours

Let’s talk about the length of the school day. It will help you to know that most homeschooled elementary students spend 2-3 hours max on school work daily, middle school students spend about an hour per subject and high school a little more than that. Here’s a post about our family’s school day for reference.

Takeaway: Even when teachers send home work, don’t expect their school work to fill a traditional school day (or your work day).

Homeschool 101-2: Determine What Should Fill Your Day

Homeschool dos & donts

DO: complete work assigned by teachers
DON’T: stop when that’s finished!

One of the joys of homeschooling is having time to pursue interests with no time restrictions. Pick the most interesting part of the day’s lessons and keep learning! Let this extra time at home be a time to pursue interests and re-learn how to learn independently. Curiosity is innate in children but we often squeeze it out of them by telling them what to learn when. 

elementary example: Here’s what that looks like in our home: I have a 5-year-old son who loves dinosaurs. (What 5-year-old doesn’t?!) He’s learned all their names, what they eat, and what they look like without me ever teaching him more than T Rex and TriceratopsSure, I’ve read a library book or two to him but he also learns from books off our shelves the big kids read him, b-day present toys, the Adventure Science Center (they gave him a placemat covered in dinos for his Bday!) and, of course, the Dino Dana tv show. He loves dinosaurs so he asks, researches in a 5-year-old way and soaks up all he can!

high school example: You don’t have a 5 year old? Substitiute the same thing with Hamilton for my 15-year-old. He loves the Broadway musical so he has read Hamilton biographies to cross-reference and see what parts are factual and what is dramatized.

Takeaway: Give your children the tools & the freedom to fall in love with a lifestyle of learning. 

Homeschooling 101-3: Look to Experienced Friends for Help!

Homeschool dos & donts ask for help

DO: Ask friends for help.
DON’T: Ask friends who are drinking wine at 11 am.

As you find a new normal, we would love to be a resource! Homeschool Manager is a cloud-based scheduling tool. Enter your students’ assignments and pass the responsibility to them to accomplish the day’s school. The first 30 days are always free and we offer monthly subscriptions for those who will only need help for a month or two after that. Check us out at www.HomeschoolManager.com!

Takeaway: Don’t try to reinvent the wheel! Utilize tools that will make your life easier as you learn to school at home.

Homeschooling 101-4: Don’t teach like Wal-Mart

Homeschool dos & donts online learning

DO: check out some of the online learning opportunities
DON’T: act like a chicken with its head cut off running from shiny thing to shiny thing

Mom calls this WalMart learning… a whole lot of information but none of it deep enough to really change your life. The online art lessons, tours, Broadway shows, and bedtime story read alouds, are all great… but pick one at a time so the kids can actually soak in what’s being taught!

Takeaway: Enjoy some of the unique experiences being offered but don’t try to keep up with the Joneses… pick a few that are perfect for your family!

Homeschooling 101-5: Don’t Turn to the TV when You Need a Break!

Homeschool dos & donts manage media

DO: enjoy the aforementioned flexibility of schooling at home
DON’T: turn on the tv, phones or fun extras until the day’s core work is done

I know I talked about the flexibility of homeschooling but here’s a pro-tip: don’t turn on the distractions in the middle of the school day. {Call me old fashioned but we’re actually media-free M-R unless it’s educational.} A lot of the fun “extras” available right now are streaming but I highly suggest you save these for a fun surprise at the end of the day. Let the school breaks throughout the day be outside time, card games and other “old school fun” activities.

Takeaway: Don’t turn to media until school is over. No tv breaks… go outside instead!

At Homeschool Manager, we want to see homeschoolers (intentional and unintentional ones) thrive!  If you’re a public school family, we were recently featured on this episode of The 99% Local Podcast… give it a listen! If you’d like more homeschooling tips, click through our blog and subscribe below. Happy Homeschooling!

Published by Allie Olsen