Kalin Art & Spirit


    The Corona virus pandemic has wreaked havoc on American families in many ways, including education of children. This may not be the tragedy that many parents see it as. Personally, I think it may be an eye-opener to what teachers deal with everyday and may even be a better setup to have kids at home than what is currently being prescribed by new administration of the Education department, but I digress.

    I recently read a post from a friend of mine who is struggling with the amount of homework that’s being assigned to her/her son from her middle school’s 7 teachers. She is overwhelmed with the time it takes to watch videos, answer quiz questions, read, do homework for each class each day. It’s creating a ton of stress that is truly, not necessary!

    I, myself, was tired of going to PTA meetings, many moons ago, and I was fed up trying to continue the ongoing struggle that was the IEP my older son had been given. I realized that the admonition to “Try harder to…be organized, i.e.” was not going to help him succeed at anything they had laid out for him. The education he received was definitely NOT serving him and the social pressure to conform was creating a very negative situation for us all.

    We researched homeschooling and withdrew from the system and began a wonderful FAMILY adventure. We homeschooled our two sons for 8 years, very successfully, without the stress, competition and social labels that the public school system unwittingly creates.

    Our family enjoyed and had a great appreciation for our kids’ childhood. Our sons graduated with Political Science and Chemical Engineering degrees and are now happy in creating the futures that suit their personalities. How did we do it?

    Here are some TIPS to successful homeschooling:

    1. Teach your kids chores and life-skills so you have time to research how you will become a better teacher. Dishwashers can be loaded and unloaded, setting the table and cooking, doing laundry, yard work, auto maintenance and repairs around the house can be taught and passed down by eldest to younger kids too, leaving you time to read and power nap.

    2. Understand what each of your children need in order to learn. Read “How Children Learn” by John Holt, “Multiple Intelligences” by Howard Gardner and the like. “The Well-Trained Mind” by Susan Wise Bauer & Jessie Wise offers classic children’s literature as a basis of education.

    a. Then consider which learning style suits each of your kids. Provide time slots for each of your kids to have 1:1 time with you during the day and while getting them into bed. It teaches them self-worth, which is the most valuable lesson to learn in life.

    3. Read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and discover how your kid relates to you and what s/he needs from you. This also works wonders with spouses and significant others!

    4. Consider what subjects they are drawn to and provide various methods of learning to those interests. An interest-led student is going to have lots of motivation to learn that s/he can apply to other, required, subjects. Take your kids on field trips, museums, talk with neighbors, network with other home schoolers, church groups and interest based groups. Be creative in social distancing and continuing safe health precautions.

    5. Continue to offer opportunities to hands-on trials of subjects that aren’t interested in; local outlets like YMCA provide instruction in arts, crafts and sports. (They may have equipment swaps when kids outgrow their gear.) The Dumb Friends League has opportunities to learn how to care for animals. Historical museums teach about self-sustainability and old-time crafts that can be carried on today. Arbor Day activities provide a chance to learn about local trees and how the climate can be cared for. Children’s Day at the State Capitol will provide a demonstration of Democracy and encourage a voice for the young and voiceless.

    6. Take time to deprogram yourselves as a family from thinking that the mass-education model is the only one that works. We spent most of the first year, distressing our older son by allowing time for bird-watching and nature hikes. This allowed us all to appreciate the natural world without stress about ‘productivity’. It also allows us each to find a stillness and balance within that is the beginning point to living. In my experience, families that homeschooled had kids that were greatly more self-sufficient, self-motivated and comfortable in their own self-expression.

    7. Homeschooling is LEGAL in all 50 States! Learn the educational requirements for your state; the local school district office may also provide you with alternative systems. Check to see if there are any ‘Umbrella Schools’ that you can register under; they will provide you with more information and options, such as ‘Unschooling’ or ‘Pre-packaged curriculum’ that you can purchase or subscribe to. (The problem with the latter, however, is that is the baseline that many public schools are currently using following the pandemic that is causing so much overwhelm today.)

    Most importantly, Here’s a Secret for CONFIDENT HOMESCHOOLING; You know your kids better than any teacher. You are already their guidance counselor and cheerleader. So, read up on Learning Styles*, watch for natural waking and productivity cycles that your children (as individuals) have, and tailor what you want your kids to know based on your values and what you intuit may skills and capabilities be most valuable to your individual children in the future.


    **The Secret we discovered is to use an INTEGRATED APPROACH TO LEARNING!** When all the subjects are applied to the year-long ‘Theme”, learning becomes fun and natural. History was written in a continuous thread with repeating themes. Why not learn to learn from history in the way it was lived???

    I’ll write more on the subject in following days… ~K



    Posted in Uncategorized by kalin on April 25th, 2020 at 2:00 pm.

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