The following is an incredibly encouraging letter from Amanda, our community manager. She’s a public school teacher turned homeschooling mom (who also works from home!), and her perspective is going to give you a LOT of hope and freedom. I can’t wait for you to hear from her!
Dear momma who finds herself suddenly schooling your children at home,
It’s going to be okay.
Does it feel okay right now? Probably not. And that is also okay. These are uncharted waters, uncertain times, unprecedented circumstances – but know this: we serve an unchanging God.
“For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6
As a former public school teacher turned stay-at-home mom, and then homeschooling mom, and then work-at-home homeschooling mom – I get the panic, I really do.
But we’re all on this journey now, whether we wanted to be or not. So here’s what we’re going to do.
We’re going to take our expectations and lower them.
And then lower them again.
Here’s the thing, you’re not just “schooling at home”, you’re doing this
- without warning
- without time or resources to prepare
- without a choice
As a homeschooling mom, I’ve spent a lot of time comparing and reading about different curriculums. We’ve tried various styles of homeschooling. We know all that our kids know and what they don’t and how they best learn and how they won’t. We have the privilege of time and choice.
You, on the other hand, might be walking into this fairly blind.
You might have access to specific school-assigned work for your child, or none at all.
You might have access to various resources and technology, or none at all.
But that’s okay. Because no matter where you find yourself, I hope to encourage you with this:
You are already teaching your children every day. LIVING LIFE IS LEARNING.
- Making meals together, going on nature walks (if you can), reading books (especially this!), free play – all of these things are learning.
- Conversations, games, quiet time, puzzles, making cards/writing letters for others – these are also learning opportunities.
- Listening to music or audiobooks, watching documentaries, creating and inventing – all still learning!
- Washing dishes, folding laundry, scrubbing toilets – hey, that’s some super helpful learning!
And we can do all of this with our kids, every day – without the perfect worksheets or textbooks.
But how do I recreate school at home?
I know it is hard to change perspective of what “school” looks like. You, perhaps, have only ever been in the shoes of a classroom student – having been one yourself.
But here’s a wonderful thing about being the one to teach your child – learning, much like your child, does not have to fit a specific mold.
I’m going to assume you have varying personalities within your home, just like we do. Within that are various learning styles as well, plus different needs, different strengths, and very importantly, different interests.
Do you know what that means? It means that your learning gets to look different, too.
So however your “schooling at home” starts to look, don’t worry about it looking like anyone else’s “schooling at home”. And definitely don’t worry about it looking like the school your child attends. You do not need to have them “busy” from 7am to 3pm. If you tried to recreate that at home, it would be stressful for everyone!
In a traditional school setting, there are many students and scheduled transitions and they try to cover all subjects in one day. But at home, we have more freedom!
Want to spend the first three hours of the day reading and playing outside, then have lunch and rest before hitting the books in the afternoon? Great!
Want to work studiously all morning so that you can enjoy your afternoon pursuing more free learning? Awesome!
Want to loop history, science, music and art on certain days and take Fridays for reviewing and playing games? Wonderful!
There is no perfect formula. Just as each of our precious children started crawling, walking, talking, pottying, and riding their bikes at different ages and stages, the learning of reading and writing and arithmetic will look different too.
But what if they fall behind?
If your family will be schooling at home for longer than you originally anticipated, please do not feel the pressure of being “behind”. Your child is unique and is exactly where they are, despite where any chart shows you they “should be”. Education is not a race. It is perfectly fine, even highly encouraged, to go slow and steady. Consistency is way more important than rigidity. They will get it! Whatever it may be.
For most of you, this may be a temporary situation, so I encourage you to adopt the perspective of “just for this season”. If this is just a small part in the overall lifetime of your child, what do you want them to remember when they look back? How do you want them to feel? What do you REALLY hope they learn?
Focus on those things. Pursue those things.
In the overall scheme of things, this is such a very short time. “The days are long, but the years are short,” is one of the most profound and truthful statements I’ve found while being home with our children all day, every day. Looking at the “big picture” can be very helpful when the days get tough.
What if…we love it?
For some of you, this may be the beginning of your transition to actual homeschooling! If that is the case, another helpful perspective is to teach your children in light of eternity. To rest in knowing that what is most important for them is not learning the world’s standards, but His. I highly recommend the book, Teaching from Rest as it can lead you to teaching with His unshakable peace. (And it’s a super short, easy read!)
The Bottom Line:
Your kids don’t need a regimented schedule booked to the gills with assignments and projects.
They need you.
In this time of chaos, you can be their place of safety and familiarity. Their worlds have been flipped upside down and they need love and security over anything else right now. So snuggle up, make connection a priority, and point them to our sovereign Savior who has the whole world in His hands.
“At many times throughout their lives, children will feel the world has turned topsy-turvy. It’s not the ever-present smile that will help them feel secure. It’s knowing that love can hold many feelings, including sadness, and that they can count on the people they love to be with them until the world turns right side up again.” — Fred Rogers in You Are Special
Lastly, but most importantly, please embrace grace upon grace. For your children, your husband, and yes, even yourself. Right now, anxieties are high, stressors are high, unknowns are very high…and everyone is feeling it. Routines are off, structure is wobbly, and feelings of insecurity and fear will manifest in a wide range of emotions and behaviors. As your lives have seemed to be flipped upside down, center yourself on the foundation of our Rock and Redeemer.
In Him, our lives are firm.
His love is unchanging.
His truths are unwavering.
In Him, we find peace.
Seek Him and His wisdom in all of this. Pray and read God’s Word together as a family (the most valuable learning!!) and lean into Him and each other. Let this time together bring connection and rest. Let this storm water the soil of your home and root your family deep.
He is good and His love endures forever. Even when we’re finding an entirely new normal.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. – James 3:17
If you’re looking for a free printable pack that will help you make sense of all the things you’re juggling at home right now, download our free At-Home Printable Pack! It’s got everything you need to keep schooling at home SIMPLE & DOABLE.
Kayse Pratt serves Christian women as a writer + designer, creating home + life management resources that help those women plan their days around what matters most. She’s created the most unique planner on the market, helped over 400 women create custom home management plans, and works with hundreds of women each month inside her membership, teaching them how to plan their days around what matters most. When she’s not designing printables or writing essays, you’ll find Kayse homeschooling her kids, reading a cheesy novel with a giant cup of tea in hand, or watching an old show from the 90’s with her husband, who is her very best friend.