Friday, March 20, 2020

Adventures In Home Schooling

(I intended to have some cute pictures in this post of my little scholar, but for some reason my computer is telling me it can't open my photo files from my iPhone so, boo/hiss to that.)

Okay, so I know this is not exactly book-related, but I meant what I said in a previous post about being willing and able to provide assistance or guidance in any way for parents now facing the reality of teaching their own spawn in some way, shape, or form. I have been collecting resources that I hope to use for Eleanor, and there are seriously so many at this point I know we will not use them all.

I am sure by now we have all seen the funny memes parents are posting, how they are only so many hours in to homeschooling and kids are already suspended or expelled. No lie, teaching is hard.


I have roughly fifteen years of experience, the majority in my own classroom, but also multiple long-term subbing positions I took for friends who were having babies while I was working on my Master's, and there have been some school years where I cried.


Some of my hardest years were recent ones, within the last four school years. No amount of experience can prepare you for some of the things you see and hear daily.

I first want to reassure parents: literally no one except maybe the idiots who have pushed Common Core to begin with actually expect you to teach Common Core. Don't. Show your kiddos strategies that worked for you growing up.

Don't worry about filling seven hours with academics just because your kids go to a school building for that long, that is impossible. This morning Eleanor and I were able to get through reviewing nouns, solving word problems with double digit addition, reading short passages for vocabulary and comprehension, journaling, and learning about sound waves and vibrations in a little under two hours. We did not have to take bathroom breaks, go to lunch/recess, another recess, practice lining up, sit down and then line up again, etc. (No joke, practicing lining up is the worst, especially when it is seriously just one or two kids causing the problem!)

GoNoodle is a great site for brain breaks, especially if you can't go outside for a walk due to crappy weather. It is free to sign up and has tons of videos for kids to move and dance to.

Cosmic Kids Zen Den is great for mindfulness exercises, yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. You can also find a bunch of the videos on YouTube.

I created a schedule for us to follow, though I am not exactly rigid about the time down to the minute. Sometimes we also have to adjust based on when she goes with her dad on certain days of the week. Do not stress about keeping a schedule to the minute. One thing I am grateful for in this situation is the fact that I don't have to adhere to district guidelines about how long we should spend on a given subject each day. Eleanor and I work on concept until she gets it, or needs a break from it.

You don't need tons of fancy manipulatives, pocket charts, or any intense color-coded system of notebooks and folders and whatever. I bought a couple composition notebooks that have space for a picture and then lines for writing. One of these is a journal that Eleanor can write in daily about what she is doing, how she is feeling, etc. Then to help her feel like a 'big kid', I have a composition notebook for each subject so she can work out problems, or write answers, or record questions she is thinking of, for whatever we are working on.

If your child's school has materials prepared for you to work on with your child at home, please do so! I know this is going to be hard, and many parents are still working, and all of this is just a giant clusterfuck and it is all chaotic, but even spending twenty minutes per night reading together, and asking your child a couple comprehension questions, will help.

I have found some great supplemental materials/workbooks at Lakeshore Learning (we have a store here in town, but they often have shipping deals on their websites). I also highly recommend the Brain Quest workbooks, though I don't think Lakeshore sells them on their website, but they are definitely in-store.

The best thing we can all do for ours kids right now is give them as much normalcy as possible. School is part of that. I worried about explaining all of this to Eleanor, mainly because she is wise beyond her years and comes up with all kinds of questions and ideas in that six-year-old brain of hers that even older elementary kids would not think of yet. So far she has taken it all in stride - I think being out of school all last week because she had influenza helped, in a weird way, because she was already out so adding extra days to that does not seem out of place to her? I don't know.

This post became much longer than I intended. Mostly, I was going to post a couple photos from our Official Day 2 of Home School, but technology was working against me tonight.

I hope something I have said here has been helpful. Please ask for help if you need it, are curious about online resources, or just need a pat on the back and a 'good job!'.

We can do this, we will be okay.

Sarah and Eleanor


  1. What a wonderful post. This is so hard on kids and teachers. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas and resources.

    1. Thank you so much Carole, I am glad you liked it. I didn't know if it would get any responses because it is not book-related, but I want parents to know that they are not expected to 'home-school'! Teaching is hard and if they can at least review materials provided by their child's school, that will help. I am at a major advantage because this is literally my career and I actually CAN home-school, so I want to help everyone I can who feels overwhelmed and is struggling.

  2. All true! Excellent resources here, Sarah.


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