Dear moms and dads in need of a little encouragement; to all who find themselves thrown into having to home educate their children whether they want to or not; to all who already home educate but are finding this new way of doing so *only* from home a wee bit stressful; to those who feel like a deer in headlights, a bit paralyzed by endless options; to those who feel lost not knowing the options that are even available; and to those who have it all together but need a virtual hug every once in a while:
You are not alone, friends. I may not know you personally, but I still feel a common bond among fellow parents and home educators... a friendship not necessarily seen but felt. We are in this together, even though we can feel a bit lonely at times. As Pope Francis said, we are all in the same boat.
Some advice about home education?
Don't worry or panic about if your children are getting a “good enough” education. YOU are good enough, friends. That is what they need right now...you, your encouraging words and hugs and smiles. Do you find yourself having to work from home AND home educate? Still no worries. Try to take a break every once and a while to touch base with your kiddos and give a hug or reassuring word or two. Get a breath of fresh air together or eat lunch together or take a cookie break. Children need alone time to play, too (even older kiddos... getting outside alone or enjoying a hobby alone); there is no need to fill all of their time, so let go of that pressure :)
Top two things to try to do every day: read and get in nature.
Pick fun, good quality literature to share with your children. Read aloud to them, or even let them read alone if you have to work. Don't know where to start? Any of the books from bfbooks.com are winners, and there are fantastic lists on readaloudrevival.com and learningthroughliterature.com!
Getting in nature doesn't have to be complicated! Just go for a walk and see if you can find signs of spring! Make a simple nature scavenger hunt and see if you can find all the things! You can find great nature resources at bravegrownhome.com, stephaniehathawaydesigns.com, fireflynatureschool.com, chickieandroo.com (and Lauren has an article with all of her favorite printable freebies and links to them! Click here. )
Do you feel overwhelmed?
Drop all expectations and have a movie day in your pajamas! Seriously! Pop some popcorn and just relax together watching something y'all enjoy. Days like this will not hurt anything, in fact... it will help them build positive memories during this time.
Last but not least, don't compare yourself with anyone from social media or your neighborhood or your extended family. Really. The things that are shared on Instagram (for example) can be fantastic and inspiring, but they can also cause some (depending on the day or moment) to feel “less than” like, “why don't MY lessons look like that?” “why aren't MY children grinning ear to ear while doing math?” People usually show the best little snippets of their days on social media. Don't think their entire days look like that! Take what inspires you and leave the rest!
Let YOUR days be unique and different... they don't have to look like anyone else's!
Give yourself grace! If one day doesn't go as planned (or even ten or more days), it's okay! One of my favorite quotes is by Anne from Anne of Green Gables, “Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
Hugs to you all! If you ever need me... even if just to chat or vent, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message on Instagram @learningfreely
Much love, Annie