Podcast: Brave Schooling
Is it possible to work from home while doing homeschooling?
This school year is different from any other. We are not going into it with the same sense of confidence or the same tools, resources, and experiences that we rely on to be good homeschoolers. Instead, we’re coming in with a lot of uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This has caused parents to think about the fall in a new way, and in addition to the garden variety homeschooler who chose this lifestyle long ago, there’s a new crop of homeschooling parents joining the community. Welcome.
In this podcast episode, we will cover what learning is NOT, how homeschooling differs from traditional school, and the essential steps to facilitate learning at home.
Learning is not an activity that is confined to just school, and I want to teach you how to make learning a natural part of your life.
Listen to the Podcast
There’s a question that a lot of people, especially new homeschoolers, have right now: Is it possible to work from home while doing homeschooling?
For many of you, there was delight when our schedules all came to a grinding halt. For the first time, you were considering that you could do your work at home even though your children were in the same space. This is something homeschoolers have known for a while — many homeschooling parents have side gigs or full-time jobs that they perform from home while they homeschool. It seems like something nobody would choose to do, but suddenly many of us are forced to do this… and it isn’t so bad!
Another thing that many new homeschoolers discover is that much of the work our children do in schools can be done in a fraction of the amount of time they normally spend in a school building: somewhere between 1-3 hours compared to the 6-8 hours they would spend at school.
How to begin homeschooling today
It’s an interesting question: How do we embark on the theory of education that combines personal tutorial with a program, online school, or curriculum while weaving it into a family life that may or may not include working for money?
The three key admissions of learning
From the moment you bring your kids home for learning, you are making three admissions about learning:
- Learning does not happen in a building
- Learning does not live inside a textbook
- Learning is not sourced in a teacher
Kids are learning every minute of every day. Learning is not confined to a single location.
It does not lie in the pages of a textbook. A textbook is a tool, a resource, an answer key, or a set of problems or suggested activities so you do not have to start from scratch. It can be incredibly helpful, but it is not where learning comes from.
A teacher does not decide what a person is and isn’t going to learn. Kids do not need us in the way that our worldview leads us to believe. Learning is always taking place, so we need to rethink the ways we look at teaching.
How do we know that learning has taken place?
As an adult, what proves to you that you’ve mastered something new? Mastery is elusive. There’s never a point where you think, “I’ve played guitar for 20 years and now I’m a master.” No matter how much energy you put into any topic, there is always more to know.
Let’s say I realize I want some indoor plants. I see an African Violet at the supermarket and bring it home. Then I realize I don’t really know how to take care of it, so I decide to learn about caring for African Violets. We have the entire world in our hands with our cell phones. And the proof of learning is in seeing those violets bloom.
How useful is it to know the information about multiplication tables and yet never see it bloom in lived experience? Even if I had studied and aced a test on African Violets, I still wouldn’t know if I could get one to bloom.
When we are thinking about subject area, there are three essential ingredients in learning:
- Triggered interest
- Find a meaningful use
- Immerse (deep dive) into the topic
When we think of learning as consuming information, we miss the first essential ingredient: a triggering interest.
It can’t be leveraged for a future goal. It has to be a meaningful use for today, which is the second major ingredient. Trying to make something fun does not work if there is no underlying interest.
Lastly, you want to immerse yourself fully in that topic, or what homeschoolers sometimes call a “deep dive.” Traditional school doesn’t really permit this, but at home, there’s no rule that you have to cover several topics in one particular day.
This is the secret of homeschooling: Apply the same learning style you use for your hobbies to the school subjects with your children. You will be shocked and amazed at how much more meaningful their educations become, both to them and to you.
If you’re stepping into homeschooling for the first time this fall, ask yourself: What could instigate or trigger curiosity? What would be a meaningful use for this subject area for my child? And what kind of immersive environment could I create that would allow my child to risk exploration?
Be intentional to create a space where this natural learning could bloom; test it, refine it, and tweak it until learning is part of the way you live together.
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