• taniagazzard

Encouragement From a Seasoned Home Schooler

Over the past weeks as our lives have turned topsy turvy, I’ve listened to those around me and to the stress that homeschooling is causing to many, and I feel that I have something helpful to bring to the table on this one…

If you know me, or have read the “about” section on my website, you will know that I have been home schooling my children now for the past 18 years. And for the most part I have loved it. But, it hasn’t been without its challenges and stresses… and an endless supply of insecurity. I don’t know that I’ve spoken to many home educators who don’t feel some measure of insecurity. At the end of the day though, what I have really learnt is to relax about it. And live life with my children and enjoy them.

What I want to say to you is don’t stress it. It’s just a season and YOU AREN’T GOING TO RUIN YOUR CHILDREN’S LIVES. Just enjoy them. Take this time as a gift. Bottom line is this: if they do nothing (and that’s never going to happen), it’s a small dent in time… but they aren’t going to do nothing. As they play, they’ll learn. As they spend time with you, or observe you at your work, they’ll learn. Give them space to explore new things… or to explore old things more thoroughly. Give them space & help them address their anxieties, emotions, missing friends.

I’ve been listening to how so many people are using this time to learn to cook, or re-aquant themselves with old hobbies. So embrace these things with your children. On a bad day, put the books or computers away and:

  • Enjoy nature together.

  • Create something (cooking, art, craft, Lego, flower arranging, make a terrarium or fairy garden, make a scrapbook of their time in lockdown – make plenty of happy memories to fill it with… the list really is endless)…

  • Focus on relationship – hug them lots (depending on age & personality of course), create memories, play a game, do a puzzle, watch a movie (and if you’re really worried, make it somehow (vaguely) educational… such as based on a historical event) – make some popcorn and hot chocolate and really make it special.

  • If you’re working from home, “take them to work" with you – show them what you do, let them observe.

  • Read a really good book together. One of the best things you can do for your child’s educational development is to read to them (or if they are a bit past that, perhaps pick a book you’d both enjoy, read it and then come back together and discuss it – don’t dissect and make it school, just enjoy sharing it).

  • Help them start a business.

  • Learn about those less fortunate. Use this as a launch pad for practicing gratitude, compassion and acts of kindness.

  • Take on a renovating or room make over project with them.

And from a naturopathic, educational, home schooling perspective… learn what real health looks like together. Here’s a few ideas to start with:

  • Learn about nutrition (but in a fun way). Find recipes, plan meals and learn to cook good healthy whole foods (that are yummy). Learn what whole foods are. What does a healthy dessert look like? Learn about the science & health benefits of fermented foods and have fun with ferments…

  • Pick a new vegetable/food each week that you haven’t tried before. Research what nutrients it’s high in, how it’s good for the body, how to cook it. Then find some recipes and experiment. Maybe make a recipe book and each family member has to rate each new recipe or write a comment about the new ingredient tried. And remember, you might not like them all, but don’t write it off based on the first recipe.

  • Learn stress management strategies together… mindfulness, or breathing techniques.

  • Practice gratitude with your children, keep a gratitude journal together.

  • Cook a meal, do some baking, make handmade cards or a care pack for a neighbor (or someone you know who lives alone or is vulnerable) & take it to them… just take it to the door, and still maintain the social distance. Plan it together. (And have a read of this post, for how that’s good for your health too).

  • Plant a garden (vegetables, herbs, flowers, bulbs, succulents…)

  • Learn about making compost and it's ecosystem…

In the weeks to come I’ll be adding in some FB posts – recipes, activities, links and ideas from a homeschooling naturopath’s experience. I hope these will provide you with some food for thought & fun.

I’m going to end with this link. Have a read. Be liberated. I’ll also share another post on my FB page that I found really releasing, refreshing and valuable.

And be kind to yourself and your children.

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