You’re committed to homeschooling your kids. Ready for the long haul. Out of the blue, an unexpected event happens, and suddenly your world is upended. You are now in crisis mode. What if, as a homeschooler, you couldn’t get access to the curriculum or resources you wanted to use? This scenario is a very real possibility. In fact, to some degree, many homeschooling families are facing circumstances much like this right now. Over the past few weeks, life has looked very different than it normally does.
We are facing times of uncertainty unlike anything we have experienced in recent years. With the closure of libraries, stores, and other places of business, homeschooling has become a little bit more challenging both for those of us who have been doing it for a while as well as those families who are new to it. In homeschooling, as in all of life, times of uncertainty and difficulty come to us all. We have all faced challenges and have had to learn to cope in ways we might not have dreamed of before. Were you ready for this challenge? Do you have the resources you need to deal with the closures and shortages we have come up against?
What about next time? Would you like to be ready and prepared if another situation arises that brings with it this level of uncertainty and challenges? What would you need to stock up on in order to be prepared to homeschool through an emergency or time of uncertainty?
As homeschooling families, it would serve us well to examine what sorts of supplies and resources to have on hand in case we should find ourselves in a place of need again in the future. But what sorts of resources should we be prepared with in order to be ready for that?
by Connie Overlock
Spring has tarried, and we still are finding ourselves under order to stay at home. What are some things we can do to make the most of these times?
1. Plant a garden. There are some great books and resources out there for gardening. Some of my favorites are Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy, and Ready, Set, Grow by Rebecca Spohn.
You can find gardening activities that include growing a sunflower fort, planting a pizza garden and so much more. As you dig and plant in the garden don’t forget to save the earthworms you find.
HOME’s unit study HOME Grown Gardens can also help you get started with some great gardening activities.
2. Go fishing. Children under the age of sixteen do not need a fishing license in Maine, so grab those fishing poles and earthworms you saved from the garden and go fishing. If you don’t own a fishing pole, check with a friend or neighbor. Even if you don’t catch a fish, there is so much you can observe in the pond or river where you fish. Make note of creatures you saw, draw them in a nature journal, describe them in a notebook and be sure to try to identify them when you get home. Look for new blossoms and note the color, where they grew, how many petals, leaves, etc.
3. Visit a park that you haven’t been to before. Maine has a lot of beautiful parks, and getting outside is so important to good health, both physical and emotional. Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon playing frisbee, tossing a ball around or just enjoying the beautiful sunshine.
4. Go for a hike. Use HOME’s unit study HOME Hikes to get you started on some great hiking locations, activities to do along the way, and how to identify the tracks, creatures, and plants you may find as go.
5. Create an outdoor scavenger hunt for your kids. Take some pictures of things in your yard, and have your kids locate them.
6. Mark off an area in your yard that measures 3 feet by 3 feet. Find everything you can to identify in that small area. Check on it weekly to notice any changes that may occur.
There are so many amazing things to do outside, whether you have yard clean-up today and happen upon a spotted salamander (as we did yesterday), or you purposely choose one of the activities listed above. Staying home doesn’t mean we can’t still find an amazing assortment of things to do. In the case of the stay at home order, it doesn’t mean we can’t hike, fish, or visit some of Maine’s beautiful parks. It simply means we need to re-adjust to when, where, how and with whom we participate in these activities.
You can find more great unit studies that incorporate learning outside here at the HOME Website.
By Brandi Schunk
There have been many questions and concerns lately about whether or not homeschoolers are included in Maine’s waiver of the required days for our current school year, 2019-2020. The following thoughts have been stirring in my heart for days. I hope that my words here will both ease your concerns and encourage you.
I recommend that you complete your 175 days for this school year as planned. There are many benefits and considerations in doing so, and I shall outline just a few.
1. Since the Maine DOE website does not mention homeschoolers specifically, the safest thing is to complete your days. It may be worth the peace of mind, even if it takes a little longer than planned.
2. You were going to do the days anyway, so really you are just honoring your commitment.
3. Your child’s education is worth the investment. They still need the knowledge, the chance to be challenged and grow, the pride and confidence that come from learning new things. Carrying on in the face of adversity is itself a valuable lesson.
By Kimberly Miller
We are all facing challenging times right now. Not only are we facing a global health crisis, but many families are finding themselves in situations they never anticipated. Social distancing and quarantining have led us into new and unexpected territory as we learn to navigate life in isolation with our families. Parents all across our nation have been forced to homeschool, with little or no time to prepare themselves or their children for this drastic change. We are all reeling from these challenges, but we do not have to let them overwhelm us.
If you suddenly find yourself in the position of homeschooling your children who are usually at school all day, and even working from home as you do it, this post is for you. It is our hope that you will find some tips and strategies that will help you cope with the challenges facing your family, and come out on the other side closer to one another and grateful for the lessons learned through the experience.
Adjusting Your Perspective
Have an attitude of gratitude
What we are all going through is tough; there is not doubt about that. It is scary and unexpected and our lives have changed overnight. It can be easy to give in to the fear and uncertainty and let it affect how we live our lives during this time. But it is important as parents that we keep our focus on the blessings all around us. Our perspective can have a huge impact on how we function in our daily lives. Focusing on the positive things in our lives can help us get through challenges, including this one. We are all in this together. You are not alone.
By Patricia Hutchins
As we all know, the reasons for homeschooling are numerous and diverse. The manifold benefits of homeschooling include spending more time together as families, accommodating each student’s individual learning style and pace, ensuring academic excellence, providing opportunities for community engagement, experiencing the world through hands-on opportunities, safeguarding our children’s physical and emotional health, practicing our faith in authentic real-life situations, exercising our freedom to choose curricula, and many more. While we as parent-teachers are highly invested in our homeschooling methods, and are familiar with the reasons we have chosen to home educate our children, it is likely that, at some point, each of us will encounter the question, “Why homeschooling?” It may come from a family member, friend, church congregant, coach, tutor, pediatrician, or college admissions officer. It may even come from our own children. This is when a prepared homeschool profile can come in handy!
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