Restoration member and experienced mother of three, Mary Frances Baker shares some of her favorite tips and resources for homeschooling.
Hi fellow home school parents!
(I never thought I’d say that to so many people!)
I pray your first week of transition to shelter-in-place work, schooling, etc. hasn’t been too overwhelming. If it has, you’re not alone!
I had a dream the other night that our family needed to cross a raging river. We had all seen enough Bear Grylls episodes to know we needed to cross that river in a line, holding hands, with the big people on the ends. Yet all five of us stood in a circle in the middle of the river, arguing about the best way to cross. The dream didn’t end well.
That next night, we had a family meeting to discuss some ways we could all cross our “river” together, without too much arguing! Since that discussion, our home feels a little more peaceful.
Knowing that each household has its own set of circumstances, with a variety of employment situations, personalities, likes and dislikes, I can’t pretend to know what’s best for your family. I can only share what my family and I have truly valued as we try to facilitate a happy learning environment in our home. So, here are a few ideas from the Baker house.
THE SCHEDULE IS BOSS
The reason I like a schedule to guide our day is because it provides an authoritative voice when I can tend to be too sympathetic. If the schedule says that it’s time to walk the dog, or do chores, or put devices away, then we all need to obey the schedule. If my kids see me following the schedule, they are more likely to jump to the task at hand. Then, at the end of a week, they can offer feedback, suggesting how the schedule might be tweaked. That way, they feel as if the schedule is theirs- ownership is achieved!
We pick a time each day to pause and share a story. In our house, this is lunch time. Sitting still and munching on their food, my kids tend to listen better. Since I have such a mix of ages in my house, it can be challenging to pick a book that works for all. But there are lots out there! And a really good story, with brave characters who learn how to face and overcome obstacles, can take on new meaning during this strange time. Here is a list of Baker favorite read-alouds (probably suitable for Kindergarten and up):
My Side of the Mountain, George
Narnia series, Lewis
The Mysterious Benedict Society, Stewart
The Indian in the Cupboard, Banks
Crispin: The Cross of Lead, Avi
The Phantom Tollbooth, Juster
The Bronze Bow, Speare
Treasures of the Snow, St. John
I’m sure you’re finding creative ways to collaborate with others, despite the separation. We have established a couple of message boxes in the neighborhood, where creative stories, drawings, and little gifts can be exchanged with friends. This has become our writing / art assignment, and is highly motivating! I’m also a big fan of the bartered lesson. Example: One parent “Zooms in” math lessons, while a parent from another household hosts reading time.
Find lessons outside! Quiet time, drawing, sports, nature study, reading a book in a tree! If there is one silver lining that is top of mind, it is the beautiful spring weather we are enjoying here. There are several nature preserves within 20 minutes of our North Dallas area. Let us know- we’ll meet you there and stand 6 feet away!
Extend grace to your kids, your spouse, AND yourself! A home without grace is like a couch without cushions. We all are glad for our comfy couches right now.
Some of my favorite on-line resources:
Best wishes, love, and prayers from the Baker household! Passing the Peace will mean so much more when we can all meet together again