Before COVID-19 became a reality in his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, 8-year-old Noah attended a brick-and-mortar school, was a straight-A student, and was enrolled in the gifted program. His mom, Beth, never had any intention of homeschooling.
Then, the pandemic struck, forcing the school to turn to a hybrid model of remote learning and in-person instruction. Beth kept Noah home to reduce his risk of getting sick, and since she already worked from home, it all made perfect sense at the time.
Common Struggles With Remote Learning
Yet soon, mom realized that remote learning simply wasn’t going to work for Noah. “I was noticing teachers not calling on virtual kids, and my son wanted to participate. Other teachers didn’t engage with students at all. They assigned work and then class was over,” she said. “It was very concerning that he wasn’t learning. It was stressful.”
COVID-19 has thrown just about everyone for a loop. Children have had to quickly adjust to remote learning, which has worked for some, but for others, not so much. What parents are saying about remote learning is that it can be overwhelming for both the child and themselves. This has led many families to address a question they never thought they’d face: should I homeschool my child?
A New Homeschooler’s Experience
With the advice and support of her sister who homeschools, Beth made the leap into homeschooling back in September. Her biggest concern was how it would fit within her busy work schedule, as she sometimes works between 8 to 12 hours a day. She has a background in education, so she felt comfortable teaching, but she didn’t know how much time she’d have to dedicate to make it work effectively. Her sister suggested she try Time4Learning because of the flexibility and grade-specific resources it offers.
Noah took to Time4Learning right away. Beth creates learning schedules, which he completes independently. Once they started homeschooling, Beth realized that there were a few gaps in Noah’s learning, which she was able to hone in on. Now, he can re-visit concepts he didn’t do quite well on in school. “He definitely loves the math lessons, and the language arts program has been a blessing. It covers areas the school didn’t cover,” she says.
The Importance Of Connecting With A Support Group
Keeping her son, and herself, engaged has been a top priority. She joined the Time4Learning Families Facebook Group, which she says has been a huge source of information and ideas. In addition to Time4Learning, Beth has complemented the online curriculum with other programs and resources for skill-sets such as typing.
Noah continues to be active in 4-H, since many of the organization’s activities went virtual. “He likes being able to do things online,” she says. The flexibility of online homeschooling has also provided Noah with the opportunity to work on his public speaking skills and delve deeper into photography. He also takes part in Zoom sessions offered by a local park. He’s done projects like build a solar-powered vehicle and a gingerbread house made of toaster pastries. Noah keeps in touch with relatives in other states by using Facebook Messenger and playing Minecraft with them online.
Advice From a New Homeschooling Mom
Her tip for families who are new to homeschooling and struggling: “Look into things that engage your child,” she says. Beth researched online, and got other people’s feedback. This helped her discover new resources and learning opportunities for Noah.
On the weekends, Noah goes on bike rides with his dad, and they do things in places that aren’t that crowded. “Outside time is very important,” Beth says. Sometimes Noah takes his laptop and heads outside to do Time4Learning inside his tent. “It makes it a fun way to learn,” she says.
For now, everyone at home is happy. Noah is thriving, keeping busy, gaining new skills, and interacting with other kids, all from the comfort, and safety of home. So, what’s their post-pandemic plan? “Noah wants to continue homeschooling,” Beth says. “And I am totally fine with that!”
Visit Time4Learning to learn more about the joys of homeschooling, and the differences between remote learning and homeschooling.
Originally Published by: Time4Learning.com – February 4, 2021