Suddenly “Homeschooling”

Well, yesterday at 4:35, my world as I knew it changed. If you are reading this, I think you are in the same boat. I have heard so many different takes on this in the last 12 hours. Some people happy, “more time with my kids!” to “now where do my kids go while I work, and work from home because my company sent us all there to work?”

I myself was in the middle of a 2 weeks substitute teacher job, which while challenging was fun. It was nice to be the teacher for an extended period of time. Those kids had my heart (which I seem to get attached to students quickly and find it hard for the school year to be over each year in June anyway) and we had great plans for the week. I’d spent Sunday afternoon prepping. I marked tests, planned games for reviewing fractions and set out to plan for ‘freezie Friday’.

When the news came, my first thought was, “Oh my word, indefinitely? How can that be?” Then it moved to my own kids and how would they be ready for their next grade e-learning when homework can be challenging? When the medical officer or the Minister of Education, I can’t remember which one now, said schools would let parents know when to pick up their things, I froze. School is 99% done as one together. Then I realized, so was my job.

So much loss in just a few minutes. It was hard to take in.

Don’t get me wrong, I know this is necessary. I agree. I stayed home from church and worshiped in my living room Sunday. I am taking this seriously. In the back of my mind on Friday, the nagging thought was there. But we didn’t prepare for it, thinking we would have until Friday. But no. It was immediate.

So by now, my kids are home from sledding and I’ve told them. Needless to say I wasn’t the only one in shock. I am fairly certain we all went through the stages of grief in just a few hours. So many emotions concerning friends, their teachers, finishing projects. My feelings of how am I going to start homeschooling or home e-learning or whatever the district will come up with? Then I went to thinking about all the students who may not have the support my kids will have whether it’s expertise, or thinking a “complete Canadian curriculum” book at Costco is the answer (IT’S NOT-Please don’t buy those-the capitals aren’t an accident there). And perhaps, those students in situations where parents don’t have internet, or laptops for their kids. We bought Chromebooks for the kids instead of video games….”Sorry kids, that’s what you get for a teacher mom and an engineer dad.”

Slowly, I realized something that Mr. Roger’s said, ” Look for the helpers…”

To recap, I lost my job and jobs for the foreseeable future, realized I had to create some sort of new normal, including facilitating my children’s learning, and on top of it, I also have four lovely, bright and energetic student teachers in the field who are worried not only about jobs in this current Albertan political world, but now they don’t know how they will finish a practicum they have just spent triple the hours prepping for.

The kids went to bed. My phone slowed. And I prayed.

“God, help me see the helpers.”

“Be one.”

I love a good brainstorm. So I sat down and thought of all the ways, with my knowledge in the profession, how I can help.

So starting tomorrow (give yourselves a day of grace…or a week!) I will start posting some ideas about how to set your child up for this thing we are hearing called “e-learning”. You can calm, knowing that the teachers are still being paid to guide your child’s learning from a far. It is not going to look the same for everyone I don’t think. I am certain they will focus most of the attention from the beginning on Jr/Sr Highs. I think elementary students will be given lots of guidance in regards to what they need to know, and some online resources, but alot of the hands on learning has been lost and will be for parents to do.

There will be many university students looking for work. Education students will be very eager and valuable tutors for your children. When I hear of valuable information, I will post it.

If I could offer any advice as a teacher-parent, give the teachers some time to breathe. They don’t know what the next steps are. Take Spring break a week early. Students won’t be behind immediately.

Here is a short list of things to do this week:

K-Grade 6:

  • Read daily. When they get 90% of the words correct themselves, they can find a harder book. A great app is “Lit Leveler” . You can scan the book and see what level it is according to Fontas and Pinnell. Don’t look at the levels on those books you can get at bookstores “Step into Reading level 1” is not really for kindergarteners.
  • Do some Mathletics if you child has access through their school. Watch that they are doing more than just games. Word problems are often what children need practice on. (More on this at a later post)
  • Get exercise! Go for a walk on a local path (remember social distancing!)

This link above has some great ideas and even a little schedule to follow if you need. I made it into a printable I share below! (Key is to print it with no border)

Happy Early Spring Break to all my Albertan friends! And to the rest of the world, we see you. We are doing our part to keep people healthy. Remember, this is what Jesus was talking about when He said to care for those in need. The world needs us to stay in and self isolate, to use social distancing. You will never know the part you played in stopping this pandemic, but it’s a time to really show Christ-like, community building attitudes. This isn’t time to be selfish or needy. It’s a time to give.

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