Millions of parents around the country have recently found themselves homeschooling due to the closure of public and private schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve talked with some of the “accidental homeschoolers”, and their apprehension and fear are understandable.
I remember when we decided to homeschool and pulled our daughter out in the middle of 5th grade. While I had been a college professor and love teaching, I was definitely concerned about how I would do this without having much time to prepare and still work full-time. I’d like to share some tips from my experiences over the past five years in the hopes that it will encourage you that you can do this (with the Lord’s help of course!).
For most parents, this is a temporary situation that will only last the remainder of the current school year and your school has likely given assignments in some format for your children to complete. However, you will find that homeschooling takes much less time than the eight hours that typically fill a regular school day. This is because you are not waiting for 25 or more students to complete an assignment, line up at the door, go to the bathroom, ask questions, etc. So, what do you do with the remainder of the time to keep your children occupied?
School at home can look very different from how it is done in a typical classroom.
School at home can look very different from how it is done in a typical classroom. I’ve had to learn this the hard way! I like structured, formal learning but my daughter does not, so over the years we’ve learned to compromise and find something that works for both of us. There is no one right way to homeschool!
Here are eight tips to help any “accidental homeschooler”:
- Read books aloud. You will find older children like this too and AiG offers a great selection of children and teen books on our website. Some websites are offering free audiobooks as well.
- Go for a nature walk. This is a great way to infuse some biblical teaching. Start with the 7 C’s of history. If you see a beautiful flower, talk about Creation. When you find a dead animal, talk about Corruption and redemption from death through Jesus (Christ, Cross, and Consummation). If you find some fossils in a rock, talk about Catastrophe.
- Watch educational shows like documentaries on YouTube or streaming services.
- Take a virtual field trip. Since many attractions are closed, this is a great way to explore these places from the comfort of your home.
- Check out educational websites or apps. Many of these are offering free access during this time. Be sure to check out our safe kids’ website, Answers for Kids, for lots of great activities.
- Check out online courses. Again, many places are offering these at reduced rates or free.
- Get some basic workbooks or print worksheets off the internet. This is great for younger kids who need to practice phonics, math, letters, etc. Some teacher websites are offering free or reduced fees for access.
- Do some practical learning. Kids and teens need to know how to cook, sew, fold laundry, etc. They need “adulting” skills! Personal finance is a great idea for a teen.
Be aware though that not everything you find on the internet, read, or watch will be from a biblical worldview.
Be aware though that not everything you find on the internet, read, or watch will be from a biblical worldview. It’s a good idea as a parent to preview items before choosing to use them. But don’t necessarily discard something that has a secular worldview (which many things will); instead look at this as a great opportunity to teach your kids to be discerning. Help them spot the errors and know why from a biblical worldview those ideas are wrong.
And don’t be afraid that you’re going to “mess up” your kids. Kids are quick learners and if something gets missed this school year, it’s likely to be repeated next year and they’ll get it then. Try to start each day with time in the Word and prayer. I know this can be challenging, especially with young children, but it’s worth the effort.
One Bonus Tip: AiG’s Facebook Livestreams—4X/Day (Weekdays)
For some great teaching from a biblical worldview, check out AiG’s Facebook livestreams each day. These can be found on the Ken Ham Facebook page (and archived on the Answers in Genesis YouTube channel) at the following times (ET) during the week:
- 10 a.m.: Science experiments for kids at the Creation Museum
- 12 p.m.: AiG speaker gives a Bible/science talk at the Creation Museum
- 3 p.m.: Animal encounters with Ken Ham, from either the Ark Encounter zoo or Creation Museum zoo
- 7 p.m.: Ken Ham conducts a special behind-the-scenes tours, where few people have toured