As spring break winds down for most area school districts, the reality is beginning to set in for parents that their children will not be returning to the classroom next week. And while districts are still hammering out the logistics behind how exactly learning will proceed, parents are beginning to realize they will probably have to start transitioning into the role of teacher.
Tim Lambert, president of the Texas Homeschool Coalition, says feelings of nervousness are not uncommon, even for parents who voluntarily choose to homeschool their children. But he says there’s no reason to worry. A teacher might deal with 30 students in a classroom. A parent at home usually only has to teach two or three kids, allowing them to accomplish a full day’s work in only a couple of hours.
“What that means is you can be much more relaxed,” Lambert says. “It is imminently doable.”
While parents await final direction from their children’s schools, Lambert shared some tips for getting started. For homeschooling elementary-aged children, he suggests utilizing books and approaching school more like playtime with mom or dad, so it’s both educational and engaging. For older kids, whether middle school or high school, Lambert recommends using a method called delight-directed study, which means tapping into their passions to keep them tuned in.
“My youngest son, for example, hated to read or write, but he loved basketball. And so my wife kind of put those together and said, ‘I want you to write about the NBA,’” Lambert says. “Taking things that students have an interest in and combining that with assignments works amazingly well.”
If you’re looking for support, you can visit the Texas Homeschool Coalition’s “How to Homeschool” page for more advice from the pros. You can also find support groups by searching here, including virtual organizations and ones based in Dallas.
I was not homeschooled but I can attest that my mom played a major role in developing my writing skills. I have so many memories of us sitting around the kitchen table as she edited my school papers, pushing me to think harder and more critically. And now, of course, my career is writing. So time will only tell what your kids will learn about themselves during this period. With your help, they might just discover what they’re supposed to be when they grow up.