Need to Homeschool in a Hurry after Hurricane Harvey? Start Here!



As a Texan, I'm hearing reports of families planning to homeschool in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.  This is an understandable reaction, especially with so many school closures in the area.

Because parents who opt to go down this path (even temporarily) are juggling disaster recovery with homeschooling, it's similar enough to "working while homeschooling" for me to feel comfortable making some suggestions rooted in my years of coaching parents.

Therefore, I've pulled together a quick, stepwise crash course on homeschooling. (Feel free to ask questions in the comments section if I've overlooked something you need to know.)

Here goes:

Step 1: Assess your schedule.

If you're reclaiming your life and belongings from wind or floods, then you're only going to have so much bandwidth to dedicate to teaching your kids. But here's the good news: most people vastly overestimate the amount of time it takes to teach a child at home. Yes, you can "school at home" and spend 8 hours doing academics, but most homeschoolers I know do not spend a full day, every weekday on teaching. Tips for creating a schedule that helps you, the parent, juggle needs can be found here.

Step 2: Keep the curriculum simple.

Frankly, since most of you likely plan to send your kids back to school--and your budget is likely tight, then I suggest taking a hard look at basic Brain Quest branded activity books to begin with for your elementary aged kiddoes. (These are usually available in Target and similar stores, but look for "Relevant and Recommended" at the bottom of this post for Amazon links.)

For tweens and teens, curriculum options get trickier because of the complexity of their academic load. Thus, I'd suggest, if you have more than one kid,  that you focus on sorting out the plan for the oldest kids first and then move down to the younger kids.

Great places to learn about specific curricula include: Cathy Duffy Reviews and the Homeschool Buyers Co-Op.  I also like Time 4 Learning if you want to go full-tilt digital with your curriculum--and you can be set up with them in a matter of ours. (They're affordably priced, too, and cover elementary through high school.)


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Step 3: Ease into things.

Your family has been through a shock. There's no reason to expect that you need to be a full-fledged, pedal-to-the-floorboard homeschooling family by mid-September. Take it easy. Add a new book or a topic each week. Begin with schooling three days a week and expand to five. Carve out time daily to read aloud a classic book or, at a minimum, listen to an Audible book together. Give yourself some grace with this process and let it unfold. (And while you're at it, populate your Facebook feed with useful, encouraging pages.)

Step 4: Supplement learning with online options.

Seasoned homeschool families know that websites like PBS Kids! and apps like BrainPOP can help provide a fruitful, enriching home-learning environment. Use them alongside your local PBS station's kiddie programming freely. (A collection of parent-tested online resources can be found here.)

Step 5: Don't forget that life itself offers the greatest lessons of all.

Whether its helping you calculate how much wood to purchase to fix a rotten door frame or helping unload groceries, essential lessons of living are waiting for your children, yes, even in the wake of this disaster. In your understandable eagerness to get back to normal, try to remember that we parents can be ideal teachers for our kids.

Trust yourself.

Trust that you can teach your own.

And don't forget: we're all pulling for you!

Have questions? Need support? Reach out to the How to Work and Homeschool Facebook community.

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Relevant & Recommended: 

I've included a link to Brain Quest Grade 1 in this Amazon ad, but there are other grade levels.


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