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    • I used to be a part of rather a niche group of parents, educating my own little slice of the ~3% of US students who homeschool.

      Now? The number is closer to 100% homeschoolers. Quite precipitously, parents by the tens of millions have been thrown into homeschooling their children.

      Weird became normal. Normal became weird.

      I've received exactly one question from a friend regarding how she might tackle a particular educational challenge with a child. From what I see on Facebook, many parents are being sent lots of assignments/suggestions from their children's teachers and just muddling through as best they can by cobbling together some of the free resources made recently available online. One poor friend was given an entire school day schedule from each child's teacher that she was expected to adhere to at home.

      There's been some discussion in the homeschool community about whether we'd see more people homeschool once they got a taste for it, but I see some major impediments to that:

      - Doing something by choice feels different. It allows for anticipation and planning. This sudden change is disorienting rather than exciting for most.

      - Trying to recreate school at home as some teachers are pushing for is doomed to fail. The HOME part of homeschool is essential and delightful. School can be shorter, sweeter, more tailored, and more comfortable, but not when you impose the timing and structure of a classroom.

      - Finding your groove with homeschooling takes time. While the days seem to stretch on for some parents right now (if memes are any indication), a few weeks or even months aren't likely sufficient to allow a family to relax into a new relationship and have confidence in the dividends of this method of education.

      If you recently found yourself one of the 100%, how are things looking at your house?

    • I wanted to share with readers and regulars a few resources on Cake for homeschooling

      1. An interview with @amacbean16 on homeschooling


      2. An interview with the editor of Playing with Math: Stories from Math Circles, Homeschoolers, and Passionate Teachers

      The book I put together, Playing with Math: Stories from Math Circles, Homeschoolers, and Passionate Teachers didn't fit in the usual categories. It’s math ed, but not classroom-oriented. It’s about math for kids, but written to the adults in their lives.


    • I don't have any experience with regards to homeschooling, but it's interesting to see just how much more parents appreciate the work that their kids' teachers do at school now that they are the ones responsible for the education of their children.

      I've seen a number of tweets like this. Hopefully teachers get the respect they deserve after this pandemic is over.

    • Thanks for starting this thread - I had been thinking of your successes as a Home School Teacher.

      We are lucky where we are: kids in this area were sent home with a Chromebook and each morning (as opposed to a ton of photocopies) they get daily tasks from the teachers as well as lessons online.

      Yesterday the “book club” even met online.

      The day has been shorter and so far successful. For that I am grateful.

      Technically, right now, they have one more week left online. I can’t see this happening , so I wonder what will happen more long term.

      If you have 3 things to suggest to help create a successful learning experience at home what would they be?


    • That sounds like your school has really gone above and beyond with the teacher figuring out the logistics of how to educate virtually. I'm glad it's been a smoother transition!

      I love your question.

      Your kids are currently doing school at home, which is working fine. Plenty of long-time homeschoolers use this approach as well. However, I think the lasting positive impact on our family from homeschooling will primarily come from two things: shared experiences and rich content. A third key to success for us is focusing on routine (rather than schedule.)

      To elaborate:

      - A shared experience is something where you are alongside your child, learning and enjoying with them. Our favorite vehicle for this is family read-alouds that make us think, laugh, cheer, and cry together. The vocabulary works its way into our family vernacular, and characters and lessons from the story become stepping stones for big conversations months later. Other shared experiences might be tackling interesting challenges together, freewriting together, or creating art together. Leveling the playing field is a powerful way to demonstrate what life-long learning looks like for our kids.

      - Rich content is sadly sometimes lacking from large school classrooms, perhaps because tastes among children differ, because their ability to appreciate beautiful things is often underestimated, or because wonder and an enlarged soul aren't things that can be measured on a standardized test and thus have had to take a backseat. My preschoolers memorize Shakespeare and love the way the words sound. My 7 year old boy can snuggle up and listen to poem after poem (silly ones, but also ones that move us both). We study art, nature and classical music, just because it's lovely. You can find curriculum that weaves in all these things, or if your curriculum is already a set thing, you can take 15-30 minutes a day and rotate through beautiful extras. This dovetails nicely with the idea of shared experience above, since all of these things can be appreciated just as well as an adult.

      - Routine, not schedule - We do math first thing after breakfast, but it isn't always the same time every day and the curriculum might vary. I always read books aloud at lunchtime, but sometimes that's just a few pages and sometimes it's much more. A routine allows for the consistency necessary to move the needle on education, while maintaining space for the flexibility that makes homeschool grand.

    • I love these ideas - especially the idea of “shared experience” and all that goes with it.

      I am going to think about possible (small) projects which will be fun!


    • Spending 3 weeks with you and your 5 kids in Costa Rica was an amazing homeschooling adventure for me too. Count me as one of the skeptics when you first started homeschooling years ago, but to see how it actually works in practice was very eye-opening.

      One thing was reading Summer of the Monkeys out loud for them, a masterpiece of writing imo from Wilson Rawls, author of Where the Red Fern Grows. Your kids absorbed every little detail and had amazing insights into where they thought the story would go.

      Btw, I didn't know Disney made a movie of it.

      But what surprised me most was the kids' writing assignment from you to cover the Coronavirus outbreak... The way Caitlyn humanized the story by opening with the story of the Chinese doctor who blew the whistle and then died... You ought to post that story here, it's amazing. And so were the other kids' versions.

      Speaking of monkeys, actually spending a day in an animal preserve in Costa Rica, learning all about their care and feeding, and then actually preparing their food and feeding them is not something most school kids get.

    • Absolutely, although with caution. Many of the ideas for making sense of maths are likely to be new to parents (many of them are new to teachers!). But if parents adopt a "learning together" approach with their children when it comes to sense-making in maths, then these ideas can be as poweful as they are in the traditional classroom. I would say tread carefully, refer back often, and ask if unsure!

    • Since some people who teach children think that teaching Greek and possibly Latin are key to a good education, this gives me an excuse for a "Dad Joke."

      Let's be honest though, those of us who tell "Dad Jokes" will find an excuse even when one does not exist. 🤪

      So at the end of this post are two Greek words, but it is essential that one speaks English to understand the joke. I am linking each of the Greek words to a Wikipedia article which explains the real meaning of the word, but the humor is not based on what the words originally meant but how the words sound to a person who speaks English.

      The Joke:

      A greek mother said to her rambunctious son, when she gave him a new pair of pants, "Εὐριπίδης, Εὐμενίδες"

    • I think many families will find those books useful. Of course, the quality of homeschooling education may go down the longer schools remain closed.

    • I can see the potential for quality to go down but one thing I am noticing is the frustration of the kids. They are used to a more interactive learning experience specifically with their teacher and with each other. That is not happening. We had a lot more tears this week and I have changed up the day to have more breaks.

      @amacbean16 so ... when the kids have a "bad" learning day at home?

      We have our own book club started and that has been fun -- we picked a book that no one has read (Pages & co The Book wanderers) and that has been fun! Thanks for the make our own project idea.

    • "Bad learning day" can mean a lot of things, but usually assuming the basics are there (sleep, exercise, fresh air), I focus on reconnecting. Warming up hearts tends to open up minds.

      You mentioned they're "used to more interaction." Can you elaborate? Ages would be helpful as well as what you're asking them to do that they're struggling with.

      My 9 year old, for example, spends 20 minutes a day on math, and I try to make myself available for teaching or fielding questions during that time. We'll put on classical music, and everyone else does math at the same time (though at different levels).