There are parents around the world who plan to homeschool. They reach this decision through research, planning, and gradual reasoning that homeschooling is the best plan for their child and their family.
Then, there are the parents all over the internet that are suddenly finding themselves unexpectedly homeschooling! This post is for them.
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No matter where you live, 2020 has been a weird year, folks. A year that is still full of uncertainty, and for many people, it has been downright hard. Parents are feeling the brunt of these challenges and are now faced with a decision. Send their children back to school, virtual school, or choose homeschool.
Many parents are finding themselves transitioning from public school to homeschool due to COVID-19. I know you are frantically scrambling to find the best solutions for your family. Remember, no matter which choice you choose you are a GOOD MOM! You are making some tough decisions right now. But you’re still doing great!
First Thing to do When Unexpectedly Homeschooling
The first thing you need to do after you decide to homeschool is to know your state’s homeschool laws. Every state is different, so be sure to visit the HSLDA website and click on your state for more information.
These rules and regulations are important. You can also find out more by going to your state’s department of education website.
You can read about the 10 things you need to know to homeschool to help ease some of your worries.
Unexpected Homeschoolers are Overwhelmed
Across the internet, unexpected homeschoolers are feeling scared and overwhelmed. How to homeschool? There are so many curriculum options to choose from. How do they make sure they are teaching the right things so their kiddo doesn’t fall behind? Can they teach their kindergartner how to read?
It’s OK. BREATHE.
Try not to freak out. These are hard days right now. You CAN do this! Trust your parenting abilities and your abilities to TEACH your child new and wonderful things. It may not look the way you think it should in your head.
Start slow. You don’t have to have it all figured out right now.
Also, please ignore the Pinterest and Instagram “perfect” homeschools.
Second Things Second for Unexpected Homeschoolers
OK, so you’ve researched your homeschool laws. Now what?
Join your local state homeschool Facebook groups. They can answer questions specific to your state and homeschool methods. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Local homeschool veterans are a wealth of knowledge. Seriously, join all the groups and ask all the questions. Knowledge is power. But, remember to research everything for yourself.
The next step would be to decide if this is a temporary situation and you plan on sending your kiddo back to public school OR if you think this will be a good long-term plan for your family.
If you plan on sending your kiddo back to a traditional school, then I’d recommend looking at a boxed curriculum or an online curriculum. These will be open and go and help take the guesswork out of homeschooling for the year. Plus, they can help your kids stay on track with their peers if you decide you want to send them back to public school. These may include:
- Build Your Library (you’ll need to pick an additional math curriculum)
- Ambleside Online (free)
- K-12 (online public school)
- Ascellus Power Homeschool
- Easy Peasy (free)
- Oak Meadow
- Khan Academy (free)
*This is NOT an exhaustive list. It’s only the tip of the iceberg of homeschool curriculum. Read farther down this post for more resources and please research all curriculum for yourself.*
Here is a great post if you are worried about Accreditation.
Homeschool is Not Public School
Some people homeschool over the weekend. While others school year-round. Developing a routine or rhythm is a must for unexpected homeschoolers. You and your children will do better if you know what to expect throughout the day. I also like to let my children participate in setting their learning goals.
Did you know that there are moms that work full time and still manage to homeschool? If you are one of those moms then be sure to check out The Working Homeschool Moms Group on Facebook and my friend Jen at Practical By Default. She just graduated her son while homeschooling him and working for the past twelve years.
There are people and groups out there that can help you as you make this transition whether you’re a working homeschool mom, chronically ill mom, mom to a gifted learner, or mom to a special needs kiddo. There are blogs and groups to offer support and guidance.
Some of my favorites are:
Plus, the beauty of homeschooling is the freedom it allows for your unique family.
Unexpectedly Homeschooling and Not Sure How Much Time it Takes to Teach
Homeschooling does not look like public school…unless you want it to. Honestly, your kiddos don’t have to sit in their seats for 6 hours while you “teach.” You can homeschool during the hours of the day OR night that work for your family.
*Unless you’ve signed up for digital classes or are doing distance learning.*
Here is a guide for you to use “loosely” on how much time it takes to “teach” based on the ages of children in your homeschool. (This may differ depending on your state’s regulations.)
- Kindergarten – 40 minutes
- First Grade – 1 hour
- Second Grade – 1 hour 20 minutes
- Third Grade – 1 hour 40 minutes
- Fourth Grade – 2 hours
- Fifth Grade – 2 hours 20 minutes
- Sixth Grade – 2 hours 40 minutes
- Seventh Grade – 3 hours
- Eighth Grade – 3 hours 20 minutes
- Ninth Grade – 3 hours 40 minutes
- Tenth Grade – 4 hours
- Eleventh Grade – 4 hours 20 minutes
- Twelfth Grade – 4 hours 40 minutes
Remember, use this time frame as a guide, not as a hard rule. You don’t need to use the full time all at once. You can break it up into small blocks of time throughout the day.
Now, if your state says you MUST have 4 hours of instruction per day, then you MUST have 4 hours of instruction per day. But you can still break up that time.
You can also count certain activities toward that time. Helping mom cook can count as science or home economics. Measuring out ingredients can count towards math. Watching a documentary or listening to an audiobook will all count towards school time. Check out my posts on strewing for more ideas on how to create a learning-rich environment in your home.
Every child is different. Some kids soak up curriculum and information like sponges. While others need extra attention and review. Be patient. Be gentle.
Unexpected Homeschoolers Looking for Resources
Are you scrambling for resources? The best resource you can give your child is the access to great books and a love of reading. Reading is the most important thing you can do for your child academically. We do this in the form of read alouds. But not all parents have the time for read alouds. That’s where audiobooks come to the rescue! Sometimes we even pair our Kindle with our Audible books. This really helps emergent and struggling readers as the Kindle highlights the words as the Audible narrator reads aloud.
Just know that there is NO PERFECT HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM. I’m sorry, there just isn’t. There are lots of options to choose from, but no perfect one that’s going to make all your homeschool problems and worries disappear. But there are options that may work great for your child if you are unexpectedly homeschooling. So, other homeschool resources include:
- The Art of Strewing Math in Your Homeschool
- Teaching Textbooks
- Life of Fred
- CTC Math
- Mr. D Math
- Beast Academy
- Right Start Math
- Math U See
- Page a Day Math
Language Arts Resources
- Literary Adventures for Kids
- Playing with Language Games Your Kids will Love
- Michael Clay Thompson
Monthly Subscription Boxes
- Exploring Art: Art Books and Games for Kids
- You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels
- Masterpiece Society
- Kitchen Table Classroom
* Remember to research all curriculum options for yourself.*
Cathy Duffy Homeschool Reviews is another great place to look for curriculum and reviews of curriculum options.
Here is a great list of resources for Distance Learning.
For more homeschool resources, visit my Amazon shop for books, games, and hands-on activities to help get you started with creating a learning-rich environment in your homeschool.
If you find yourself unexpectedly homeschooling, just know, it will be OK. You’re not going to ruin your child’s education. Take it one step at a time and be willing to make adjustments as necessary.
But most of all, allow yourself and your child plenty of grace as you both travel down this unexpected path. Be patient and flexible with each other as you learn new things. Again, no matter which choice you choose you are still a GOOD MOM! You are making some tough decisions right now in a world of unknowns. But, you are still doing great and I am cheering you on!
You may also be interested in our curriculum and resource choices in years past:
- Homeschool Strewing as Part of a Child-Led Education
- 100 Strewing Ideas for Your Homeschool
- The Art of Strewing Games in Your Homeschool
- 50 Favorite Games The Whole Family Will Love
- Our Eclectic Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2018-2019
- Eclectic Homeschooling Curriculum: Pre-K and 4th Grade
- Preparing for Fall: Homeschool Curriculum Choices