How might parents best support their children’s learning when in virtual school at home? Today on the show I speak with Carina Stone on her experiences educating her children at home for the past 8 years.

Regardless of your day job, if you are a parent of young children, chances are high that–right now–you are taking on being your child’s teacher as their regular teacher is doing their best at educating them through a screen. While it’s amazing what we educators can do through Meet or Zoom, we know that in person learning just can’t be replicated through a screen. With Ontario’s recent lockdowns (and for some places, continued school closures) many parents are tasked with navigating the flow of their child’s day with their own work situation. To say that parents are frazzled is a remarkable understatement. 

I wanted to hear from a parent who has been figuring out the homeschooling / unschooling thing since before the pandemic. Partially because I hoped that they may have some strategies that I hadn’t tried yet. But also because I just wanted to know that it is possible for parents to educate their children and not be crying at the end of every day. While I don’t think that my guest today has all the answers or doesn’t have the occasional cry-fest of her own, Carina Stone’s caring, gentle, and attuned approach to educating her 3 boys gave me some comfort and inspiration.

In this episode, we discuss how to really observe our children to notice what their learning needs are, the importance of taking mental health days, pairing down the curriculum to “cut out the static”, and how to find that sweet spot of just enough challenge. 

I think there are some incredibly powerful takeaways in this conversation for all educators–not just for those folks who are trying to educate their children at home. The first: 

  • How might we find ways to encourage our children and students to integrate learning into the rhythm of the day? If you are a teacher, this might mean designing more self-paced units so your students can access the content on the days or times that they can handle the challenge. For parents, this might mean going onto the virtual class when your child is more focused and then finding other experiences to enrich their formal learning
  • The second is pretty simple and you’ve heard it before, but reset your expectations. Let’s be okay with doing less to be better. 
  • And finally, we are all worrying about the outside pressures and the “other side” of this learning journey we are in. It’s okay. What you are doing is enough. What you are teaching is enough. And our children and our students are enough. 

I am so grateful for Carina sharing her perspective and wisdom with us. I’ve known Carina for many years and it was really a joy to have this peek into her everyday world.

Things Mentioned in this Show:

About the Author
Passionate and curious about technology, smiles, special education, differentiated instruction, forests, graphic novels, accessibility, anti-oppression, and warm beverages. Can often be found laughing with young people and improvising songs on the spot. @teach_tomorrow

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