I’ve been seeing a lot of social media posts recently from moms who are asking about homeschooling and how to transition to it. Questions like how to start, what homeschool provider to get, what method should they use, and even routines and schedules. And with so many resources online, it can be quite overwhelming.
Whether you have decided to homeschool by choice or because of the pandemic, I want to share with you some tips on how you and your family can gently transition to homeschooling. Slowly easing into it will help you and your kids get rid of the overwhelm. We all could use a little breather, especially during these tough times, don’t you agree?
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Learn and unlearn.
There has been an explosion of resources online about homeschooling for the past few weeks. And if you’re a newbie homeschooling parent, this mass of information can be quite overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to take a step back and take time to really digest the information you are getting.
So instead of downloading and printing all the worksheets you can find online, purchasing furniture for your homeschool room, or preparing visual aids right away, equip yourself first. Use this transition time to prepare yourself for the task of teaching and educating your children.
Here are some ways to help you process and learn better about homeschooling:
- Join local Facebook Groups about homeschooling. If you have already chosen what homeschooling method to implement, join groups who advocate it. Make sure to join the discussions, post your questions and connect with other homeschooling parents. This will help you learn from other people’s experiences.
- Grab a book about homeschooling and spend at least 10 minutes a day reading it. If you have time, try writing down your thoughts about what you’ve read. This will help you process the information better. Here are my top suggestions for books to read on homeschooling:
- Learn about the different methods of homeschooling. Choose one that you are more inclined to and get yourself more familiar with it.
- Watch homeschooling vlogs on YouTube. If you’re the kind of learner who likes to see how things are actually done, jump into YouTube and see how other Homeschooling families are doing it in their homes. Here are my top suggestions for YouTube Channels to watch:
Another thing to note about learning how to homeschool is that you have to unlearn a LOT of things. For me, it was my orientation towards a traditional classroom-style of teaching and learning. Picture this: having a chalkboard or whiteboard, making your child sit still behind a desk, me teaching like I have 20 students. Funny right? This made me realize that more than a chosen method or mode of teaching, homeschooling is really a lifestyle. It’s not just about doing schoolwork at home. Lessons don’t necessarily start and end at a certain time because each moment of the day can be an opportunity to learn.
Spend more time getting to know your child/ren.
I hear a lot of parents who say, “Hindi ko alam kung paano tuturuan yung anak ko.” (“I don’t know how to teach my child.”) Maybe this statement stems from the fact that new homeschooling parents are focused too much on figuring out what teaching methods to use. But let me say this: while it is important to decide on which method to use that is suited for your family and your child’s learning style, let’s not forget that we are parents first. And the only way we can fully educate our children at home is when we get to nurture our relationship with them, FIRST.
Make it an effort to spend more time with your child/ren. And I don’t mean watching Netflix or movies with them. Get to know more about them. Play with them. Talk with them. Find out what their current interests are. What makes them happy? What do they not like? Do they miss their friends? Go ahead and make the most of this transition time to be closer to your child/ren.
Incorporate Morning Time into your daily routine.
Morning time is a great way to gently transition to homeschool. It’s basically a time in a day, ideally in the morning, when you gather with your children so you can pray, read books, sing, memorize poems, do some writing or make some art.
Activities can vary depending on the age of your children. You can incorporate play-based activities for the younger ones and maybe more discussions for older ones. For example, when my family started out on our homeschool journey, our morning time included activities like playing puzzles and games, reading aloud and memorizing a short Bible verse, and some phonics.
Here is a simple guide for Morning Time to get you started right away:
If you have older children, you can have them do the read-alouds and incorporate short discussions about the topic or story that was read. You can also ask them to play instruments, if they can, when you sing hymns or praise songs. And you can play a round of games like Boggle, Uno cards, Pictionary or even charades.
Most importantly, setting up morning time for your family will also allow you to get a feel of what it’s like to homeschool. Therefore, use this time to make adjustments, assess what works and what doesn’t and also for your children to get used to the new setup.
I know you must be feeling a lot of mixed emotions lately with this homeschooling thing – from feeling excited, overwhelmed, positive, and scared all at the same time. Diving into homeschooling may not be your first choice when it comes to your child/ren’s education but know that you have support. Today is a good time to be homeschooling in the Philippines. Aside from the fact that there are more parents choosing this lifestyle, the support and resources you need are now widely available.
Certainly, the task of educating our child/ren is a big one. It is overwhelming and hard. There will be okay days and there will be not-so-okay days. That’s why it’s also important to always pray and seek God’s guidance in this journey. I’m writing this as a note to myself, too.
What about you? What steps have you taken to transition your family to homeschooling? Share them in the comments below.