Homeschooling: COVID-19 Edition
My children are part of the public education system here in Ontario. There have been a lot of ups and downs lately due to work-to-rule events and strike actions writhing their way through the daily grind this past school year. Some days I wanted to sit with my coffee and write all day but would find out suddenly that the kids would be staying home and now with the COVID-19 pandemic I, amongst other parents, have found myself in a unique position.
We as parents are our children’s primary teachers, this sort of situation should come naturally to us. However, being in self-isolation presents some challenges and where our strengths lie may not always be where the strengths of our teachers lie. Let’s face it, the education system is not perfect but if you have been lucky enough to experience a great educated professional at the forefront of your child’s student career, than you likely understand the predicaments of teaching a full curriculum yourself without the aid of a Degree in Education.
Each year of a child’s life creates a progressive opportunity to distinguish themselves and discover their worlds and even discover themselves. They go to school to socialize, learn in a team setting, have opportunities that might be overlooked at home; even homeschooled children have these opportunities by attending co-op events and participating in extra-curricular activities. What happens when all opportunities are taken away, where the home becomes the school and your friends are now your parents? It seems like a tall order to have a pre-teen accept the new challenges.
I admit, Canada does not have as many difficulties as other countries as of yet. Watching the world markets, public health industries and education systems collapse around us is frightening enough for everyone. It feels like a ticking clock and all the while we need to gather ourselves and our children to persevere and get back on track; and keep them up to date with their education to not let it slip. This is not a vacation, this is a worldwide crisis; something I fear is still not actualized into a tangible situation to my 12 year old.
Here are a few ways I plan on keeping their brains working to bide our time whilst protecting ourselves and the people around us.
First I make a schedule, not necessarily for them but for myself where I can plan out what I would like to teach and find learning opportunities online and offline according to their age and level, logically with a glass of wine in my hand.
Make it a fun experience by incorporating board games, charades, science experiments, dioramas, arts and crafts, I’m also going to try to invent some games or look for ideas through reddit and other social media platforms.
For the older ones, make the COVID-19 situation a historical experience. Watch documentaries, have them write essays (can be short or long depending on age), talk and engage in social, family and economic life of those eras. Choose moments in history that redefined the social aspects of the world. Examples could be the Spanish Flu, The Bubonic Plague, World Wars, Discovery of North America, The 100 year war, the fall of the Mayans, Pompeii, etc. There are hundreds of topics to cover, this is just a starting ground.
Have a jar full of ideas/lessons to get through. You can ask your kids to contribute to the jar to mix up the interests and creative process as well.
Create a passport that takes you around the world a couple of times a week. Learn about their culture, food and history. Re-create popular dishes if possible as well as re-creating social situations. What would a market be like? What is their currency? Do they need to walk miles to their nearest town? Make your home a whole other country with different cities involved. It may not be the real thing but it is a great cultural adventure for the whole family without hopping on a plane.
Here are a few websites that are free and educationally focused:
Do you have any suggestions to contribute to our list?
We at The Orchid Journal are here to listen and respect all your thoughts and opinions throughout this unprecedented time. You can message us privately or comment below we are always open to be a support to you and your family where we can.
Sending our thoughts to you and yours during this difficult time,
-Genevieve and Christine