We’re New to Homeschooling

Judging by what I’ve observed on social media, it seems like the first few days of forced homeschool went pretty well for most people. As the days have gone on, though, and schools nationwide have announced longer and longer closures, I’m seeing things take a bit of a turn.

It has saddened me to see negative posts by parents who are feeling discouraged and frustrated. Posts like:

“The honeymoon is over! Homeschool is the WORST.”

“I’ve lost all control! The kids are refusing to do their work. They won’t sit still and listen. They’re crying, I’m crying. When will this be over?!”

“I don’t know how teachers do it. Teaching these kids is impossible. Teachers deserve a medal for putting up with this.”

And of course tons of comments alluding to the necessity of drinking copious amounts of alcohol in order to deal with the stress of having their kids home all day.

I’m telling you—this does not have to be a terrible situation for you or your kids. You can survive all that is being thrown at you right now. You can even do it sober! 😉

The number one problem I’m seeing with parents struggling to find their way as new homeschoolers right now is that their kids have been sent home with huge packets of school work that they are expected to complete each day. They’re stressed because their kids don’t want to recognize them suddenly as not just ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ but also ‘teacher’ and so they are getting a lot of push-back about structured subjects, structured physical education, due dates for assignments, and grading deadlines.

“Why is our playroom suddenly the ‘homeschool room’ and why can’t I lay across my chair like I usually do when I’m playing with toys or coloring,” they wonder.

Kids know that things are different… but they don’t know that their parents have been madly searching Pinterest and Instagram till all hours of the night trying to craft the perfect homeschool setting with virtually no time to figure anything out.

All that kids are seeing is mom and dad acting crazy—and so they act crazy in response, and pretty soon your clean and quiet home feels more like a low-budget performance of Lord of the Flies and you feel like a massive failure.

But here’s the thing: You’re not failing. In fact, the fact that you’re even worried about failing your kids shows just how capable you are of being a fantastic teacher to them.

The situation we all find ourselves in is unprecedented in our lifetime—maybe ever. The best advice I can give to anyone right now is to just slow down. Your child is not going to fail at life because they didn’t complete an assignment this week. So just take a deep breath and realize that you have a unique opportunity to spend some serious quality time with your family right now.

Stop worrying about what your kids aren’t learning, and try just doing life with them for a little while. I pointed this out on my Facebook page the other day, that if you really feel like you can’t accommodate the rigorous home study and homework schedule that your child’s school sent home while maintaining peace and harmony in your home—opt out!

If you feel that replicating school at home isn’t working for your family, then find a local homeschool group and ask what you need to do to disenroll your child from public school for the remainder of the school year. Bam! Your homeschool is now your own, and you can craft an experience and an education model that works for your family. If, when this is all over, you want your children to return to their public school then all you have to do is enroll them in the fall.

There are so many online homeschool and unschool programs out there that are really ramping up access and options for families who are finding themselves unceremoniously dumped into this lifestyle with no time to prepare or adjust.

Unschool.school, and Outschool are just two programs that immediately jump to my mind as fantastic resources for families who aren’t enjoying mountains or worksheets and reporting to teachers and administrators with their daily or weekly numbers.

Want more structure? Check out Prenda, a cool microschool experience that uses academic standards. They’re running a sale right now, but use code TUTTLETWINS and they’ll sign you up for free!

We’ve created a huge sale for families new to homeschool with our Lockdown Deal where we are offering a bundle of most of our kids products for only $60 instead of the normal $265. (Deal ends tonight!)

One of the joys of homeschool is that you can craft it to look any way you want. I wish I could tell all the moms and dads who I’m seeing struggle with this huge life change that homeschool isn’t about replicating school at home. It’s about knowing the needs of your children better than anyone else ever could, and building their education around their strengths, talents, and interests.

If there are tears, you’re likely doing it wrong.

There’s a really good chance that when your kids are older, all they are going to remember about this time is that everyone was home together for a change—eating meals as a family, playing outside in the evenings because there weren’t sports or extracurriculars to run to, getting enough sleep and waking up each day excited because mom and dad and all their siblings were home and new adventures awaited them. Kids are pretty great at reminding us what really matters if we let them.
Right now, the world is in enough commotion.

Our homes should be a refuge from it—not an extension of it.

It’s tempting to wish that things weren’t the way they are—to look back longingly to (was that only two weeks ago??) easier and less confusing times and lament all the changes that life has unfairly thrust upon us.

But what’s the point? All that does is make us miserable and rob us of the ability to enjoy this unique time for what it has to teach us about ourselves and the world around us. This is a pretty great time to be learning, and I hope we are all able to come out of it on the other side with renewed senses of purpose and gratitude, and that our familial relationships will be made better for the unplanned time we’ve been given with each other.

— Connor

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