Embracing Alternative Education During a Pandemic
By Lehla Eldridge
We as a family are social distancing. I write this from my bed, my daughter is in isolation and coughing in the next door room, the other one is in here finishing her college essay, I can hear my son gaming in the other room and my husband is making lunch.
Having the whole family at home is a normal situation for me, minus the coughing, as we have been unschooling (I will get to that bit later) for nine years. Only in the last year have our older children decided to go to college.
We have had a lot of experience of them being at home, this is relatively normal for us but I totally understand that it is not the norm for most people and no homeschooling meme with Marlon Brando stroking his chin and saying ‘Homeschooling? Welcome to da Family!’ is going to help.
Having your kids constantly at home is a huge adjustment. Especially if you and your partner or just you, have suddenly had to stop work, you have no wages coming in and everything that has been normal is suddenly turned on its head. This is a big shift and nobody is expecting it to suddenly be easy.
So let me offer a few gentle tips to help you through this period.
https://scaleofuniverse.com/ The Scale of The Universe shows everything from the smallest to largest things in our universe.
https://www.khanacademy.org/ You can learn anything. Expert-created content and resources for every course and level. Always free.
https://ed.ted.com/ short educational animations about basically everything, great for kids and adults too.
https://www.ted.com/ Great talks from around the world
https://tinkerlab.com/easy-stop-motion-animation-kids/ stop animation for kids
https://diy.org/ A huge library of hands-on projects, how-to videos, and an awesome kid community.
But above all, be gentle with yourselves, your children are great, they need you right now to be there, loving them and letting them take a breather. Don’t worry about a timetable and them being achievers. The best thing you can do right now in these crazy times is to see what they can teach you and love them as much as you can. Even when everything may seem upside down and uncertain.
There is a lot of good stuff going on within this crazy time that we find ourselves in. I am seeing kindness, community and compassion on a level that I haven’t seen for a while. So you can witness this with your kids at your side and together we it the best that we can!
Unschooling is an approach to life and learning that fully removes the line separating learning and education and daily living. Unschooling relies on the potential for learning across all daily living activities and contexts. Parents focus on children’s innate natural curiosity, which is fostered and supported, leading to self-directed learning where the children learn by self-selecting what they interested in engaging with. Unschooling parents rely on the process of facilitating learning with children so as to leverage their natural curiosity. Teaching takes place only when required by the child and with their consent. Unschooling seeks to maintain a collaborative approach with children where power is focussed in the relationships in the family rather than in the adults. Unschooling prioritises the child’s overall wellbeing and positive natural growth over reaching predetermined learning objectives.
Lehla Eldridge is an author, illustrator and performer and is also on Instagram cooking up a storm @plantbasedcircus
You can reach out to us via our social media below. We will also be available on a webinar and Facebook live so you can feel free to ask us questions there and we will support you during this crazy time as best we can.
If you want to know more about unschooling our book ‘Jump, Fall, Fly from Schooling to Homeschooling to Unschooling’ is available at https://www.jumpfallfly.com/
Instagram; unschooling _the_ kids
Who I truly am is a creative who loves working to help, comfort and inspire other people. From performing in hospitals to writing a book for wonderful women to supporting self directed learners. Doing work with meaning is where I get the most joy. I am so excited to be a part of Jump, Fall, Fly and I aim to inject my best self in to this project so that I can add something exciting, new and upbeat to this challenging and fast changing world.
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