Turning Crisis Schooling into Homeschooling

Over the past several months, parents have been initiated into at-home learning whether they wanted to be or not. When COVID-19 arrived, things began locking down and families were forced to remain at home 24/7. At that point many parents became educators instantly. It wasn’t their choice, it wasn’t the best situation for them to begin, but they grabbed hold of the moment and did the best they could.

Maybe you are one of those parents who thought you could never teach your own kids. I must confess, I said those exact words back in 1991 when someone announced that they were considering homeschooling. I had a choice and time to prepare and I still didn’t think I could do it.

In 2020, many parents have had to juggle teaching their children and working full-time from home simultaneously. Not an easy task! I’m sure many felt like they were thrown into the sea with no life jacket. But here we are in July and everyone survived the end of the school year.

So what now? With the schools scrambling to come up with a plan while the virus case numbers keep climbing, there are many who are considering not sending their children back into a brick and mortar school setting. Perhaps you are one of them or know someone who is.

So how do you turn crisis schooling into effective homeschooling in such a short time? It may not be as difficult as you think.

Here are some resources to help you navigate, or just explore your options.

Online public K-12 schools are just like public schools in that they use set curriculum and have designated teachers that your student is assigned to for the school year. They follow a formal school calendar and have a traditional grading system. Most are under the education department of your state government so each state has slightly different systems. Here is a list of free K-12 programs in the states that have them.

Tuition-based online homeschooling is also available from many reputable schools. These schools choose their own curriculum and each have their own set of expectations for their students and families. Some offer completely online options and other have workbooks and other assignments for their students. You can find several of them listed here.

Boxed curriculum programs are just what they sound like. You find a program you like and you order all the books, tests, and resources needed to cover whatever school year your child is in. There are dozens of options here. Some, like Curriculum Express, design packages based on whether you child learns best by listening, watching, or doing.

Parent-designed programs are fine-tuned to meet your child’s specific needs. It isn’t as hard as you might think, to design your own program. You can pick and choose parts of the free materials available and create a homeschool experience that works best for your family’s strengths and schedule.

The most important decision you will have to make, if you embark on a homeschool journey, is to give yourself grace when things don’t seem to be flowing very well. Over my 26 years as a homeschool mom of 7 boys, I can tell you, things won’t always go smoothly!

My most important goal as a homeschool parent was to instill a love for learning in my boys. We didn’t always get everything right, some subjects got much greater attention than others, but I learned that the ebb and flow of homeschooling is one of the best parts. We were able to focus on what my boys were excited about at any given time and let the rest go for a while. It all came into balance and we covered most of what we needed to and the areas I felt we may have given too little attention were not as far off as I feared. In the end, I was very proud of how my boys took responsibility for their own learning and excelled in the areas that interested them, turning their passion into careers they love.

Something else to consider is that you can find a homeschool coach to assist you with ALL of the options I mentioned above. What I do as a coach is to come alongside my families and give them encouragement, help them pick curriculum, provide private tutoring when needed, and help them stay on track to meet the goals they have set for the school year.

If you are considering moving from crisis schooling into homeschooling, even if it’s just for a year or two to see how things work out in the public schools, there are plenty of resources available to you. If you are interested in discussing your options with me, you can check out my homeschool coaching and tutoring services page and click here to book your free 30-minute phone consultation.

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Email Coaching with Research

This option allows you to request information and assistance that may take research or planning on my part. I will do this research or planning at a billable rate of $45 per hour. You will be emailed a document of recommendations with relevant links. Click here to purchase.

Email Coaching for Advice & Encouragement

This option allows for 4 email exchanges over a 12-month period. It is for quick questions for things such as:

  • Grade-level recommendations
  • Curriculum assistance
  • Lesson planning
  • Accountability
  • Homeschool structure and scheduling

This option is billable at $60 per 4 emails per year, nonrefundable. No credit will be given for unused emails. Renewable as often as needed but the original nonrefundable agreement expires after 12 months. Each additional email will be invoiced at $20 each. Click here to purchase.

Even Homeschoolers Can Benefit From a Tutor’s Assistance

So we are at the end of the first semester according to some school calendars. Whether you closely adhere to such a calendar or just do your own thing, you have some idea where your child could be struggling by now.

I think homeschoolers are sometimes hesitant to engage a tutor because they feel it reflects poorly on their ability to teach. But the fact is, NO ONE is an expert in every subject at every grade level. It just isn’t possible.  There are several other reasons a tutor might be helpful.

  • Your child may have a learning disability that you are not able to address on your own.
  • Your child may get easily frustrated and may work better with someone who is not so focused on their success. Not that a tutor doesn’t care about the student’s success, they just don’t have an emotional attachment to the child the way a parent does. Sometimes the stress of the parent wanting them to succeed so badly puts pressure on the student. This can cause a disconnect between the parent and the student. A tutor is a neutral party and can focus just on the subject or subjects she is addressing and leave all the other areas to the parent.
  • There may be many students for one parent to work with and having a tutor for specific areas eases the load a bit so each child can get the attention they need.
  • Perhaps a parent is also trying to work outside the home and just doesn’t have the time and energy to address something more challenging right now.

No matter the reason, there is evidence that having a tutor for a season is of great benefit.

What makes tutoring a successful investment?

  • Consistent sessions – usually an hour long and no less than once per week.
  • One-on-one rather than group sessions.
  • Working on processes and skill building rather than “studying” information. In other words, teaching the student how to study effectively, not spending a lot of time helping them study for specific exams.
  • Not giving up too soon. Learning takes time. Bad habits that have formed need time to be relearned in a more productive way.

There are several ways to set up a tutoring relationship. I personally do much of my tutoring at my home. It sets the mood to learning for the student because it isn’t the comfort of home with all the distractions. I also sometimes work with a student at a library. With the ability to do sessions over the internet, there is also that option and online tutoring can be much easier to schedule. It’s still a one-on-one relationship and can have great benefit to the student in an easier format for the parent. All you need is a quiet room and a computer that will run Skype.

Here is an article to check out as you consider whether tutoring is a good addition to your homeschool.

Does Your Child Need a Tutor?

My latest experience was with an elementary student who was bringing home Ds and Fs on his language arts papers. We began working together and after a couple of months, he brought home these two papers. He was so proud of his improvement!

A tutoring relationship can be a short-term activity. Usually, a student just needs help to get beyond a specific skill challenge. Sometimes a more long-term plan is good, especially in the case of a student with special needs. Working closely with your child’s tutor can help direct you as you make the best decisions for your child.

If you would like to discuss your situation on a personal level please contact me.