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Schooling at Home When you Are NOT a Homeschooler

I literally have dreamed about being a homeschooler for my children. I’m not sure how I could have ever managed that as a single mom who had trouble even maintaining patience for homework in the elementary years BUT, I’m about to find out! I hope my creativity can hold out better than my patience.

Now that we are in a “Pandemic” challenge with so many schools closed many of us are going to have the responsibility, opportunity or challenge (depending on how you see this) to maintain our children’s academic growth.

First, not all homeschooling is going to look the same as others. Second, no one can tell you how it should look in your home.

YOU need to get your own head around what will work for your family, your children, and the resources you have available.

At the time of this writing, schools and teachers are scrambling to organize a system to provide instruction to students remotely. Many many great ideas will come along but we are all creating the wheel at the same time so there is likely to be TOO MANY ideas bombarding us at the same time.

Some schools across the country seem to be taking time OFF, maybe until the dust settles or maybe just to catch their breath while we ride the unknowns for a week or so.

Regardless of the advice or support you’ve been given, remember:

THIS. IS. YOUR. Family. & YOU get to decide what’s best!

There are a few things that seem to be widely promoted to maintain emotional health as we trudge through this unchartered (and potentially wild) territory:

  1. Try to establish a daily routine.
  2. Keep expectations clear and as predictable as possible
  3. Vary the types of learning your children are doing so they are not just sitting in front of a computer screen all day.
  4. Balance work and family time with quiet and independent choice time to prevent everyone from burnout.

Homeschooling doesn’t mean it has to be done in teach/test mode the way it is in traditional schools. Here’s the opportunity to enrich our children with some real life lessons that we don’t always get to provide as we are rushing to and from work and extracurricular activities.

Schooling at home doesn’t NEED to look the same as traditional school.

I’m not going to recreate the wheel on this one but here’s some concepts that may open a new perspective on the possibilities of learning for some parents. Do a quick search for any of the following key words and you’ll likely come up with a whole new world of educational ideas that go beyond math or ELA worksheets and traditional writing assignments.


BEWARE! You might wish to set a timer because you could get lost for days and weeks on the internet if you don’t have a self made boundary. It’s interesting stuff, but the point is to get some ideas for making time at home with children of all ages enriching! Keep your eyes on the prize!

This could be a good time to have some lengthy conversations with your kids.

In other posts about conversational competency I’ve talked about how conversation could be at risk in this age of screen time and rushed schedules. Pay attention to their communication skills and clarification strategies .

How about a family project idea for older children?

My high school aged daughter has “swim with the pigs” on her bucket list for a family vacation. I proposed that she could research it, find a few hotels, air travel routes with approximate costs and make me a sales pitch. What about the new remodeled bathroom she talks about? Maybe after she sees the cost and what’s involved in that little room redesign she’ll have a more mature reality of my perspective when I say “not right now”?

This is a great time to work on increasing typing skills or practice cursive that so many kids didn’t get exposure to in past school years. How about a family read aloud book “club” to discuss different opinions, interests and values.

The family could learn a new skill together, meditation perhaps? Maybe a home project could include the whole family together. Perhaps a plan to give back to the community in some way now or after this pandemic gives up.

There are so many real life writing tasks that can achieve the same goals as the traditional school work. There are also a million word games to build vocabulary and have fun at the same time.




Just because it doesn’t look like “REAL SCHOOL” doesn’t mean it’s not “equally as” or “more” educationally valuable.

The recipe for school at home during this time is CONNECTION+BALANCE+FUN=LEARNING

Plan on good times and bad, it’s just the way it is….especially when you are home for days on end. Get some fresh air and just think Physical Education for the next few weeks might just get your garden and yard ready for spring earlier than usual! DIFFERENT DOESN’T MEAN BETTER OR WORSE! Enjoy what you can and let go of the things none of us are able to control at this time.

Pamela Talbot

Pamela is an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist dually certified as a teacher of the hearing impaired. She is a Listening and Spoken Language LSLS-AVT. Pamela has extensive experience training parents and professionals at the international level.