Now that millions of parents across the country have experience as homeschoolers, my perspective here isn’t going to be ground shaking. What I’d like to offer is one perspective that’s enabled enrichment beyond what we could do with the regular schedule of class. To be fair to the hundreds of thousands of homeschoolers out there, what we are doing now is not homeschooling. It’s a combination of facilitating remote teacher instruction while providing additional enrichment as is convenient or appropriate for your kids.
When our school district closed, there was a concern that we could not engage with electronic teaching strategies because this would generate inequity between students. I understand that position, but was confused that in a city that hosts Amazon, Microsoft, and the Gates Foundation as well as sizable outposts of Google, Facebook, and others, that we could not enable students to get plugged in. Eventually, creative problem solvers and philanthropists got together, and several weeks after the closure, there was a curriculum. In the interim, we relied on the 100 books we checked out from the public library the day it closed, and on instruction from Khan Academy. (Someday ask me how I met Sal Khan before he founded that education juggernaut!)
So we got into the habit of picking one thing a day to do that was interesting to the boys and diving deep into it. We learned all about skunk cabbage after finding it in the local park. We built a mini air hockey table in the workshop. We’re digging holes in the backyard (because: boys!). We’re trying to record songs in GarageBand. Last weekend, we cut each other’s hair. We found an owl in the neighborhood and under it a pellet and dissected it! And almost every week, the topic of coronavirus circles back into discussion. It’s amazing how we can bring science and social studies, math and reading, all into application when it’s for a topic the kids choose. This is the Robey Common Core. We still love what we get from our awesome teachers every day, but it’s this other stuff that I think our boys will remember.
What cool close to home activities are you doing to keep the kids engaged?