Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Friday, March 20, 2020

How Homeschoolers Do It: If you just need more HELP

(Last of this series) 
Many of you will already know this, but AmblesideOnline has a special for-times-like-this page called the HELP Curriculum. It was created fifteen years ago in response to Hurricane Katrina (but has been updated since). Although AO is free to use, we realized then (as now) that some of the people most in need of support would a) not have access to many resources and/or b) just not be up to the challenge of a full-on curriculum, even if they were already homeschooling. As some have already pointed out to the suddenly-at-home-with-kids, "What you are experiencing isn't what we know as homeschooling. The homeschoolers are  cooped up and frustrated too."

From my own experience, I agree with something suggested on the HELP page: create routines and new rituals. Our own family did not usually have an evening gathering tradition, but during one particular time of crisis, we made a point of coming together for a goodnight prayer and hymn. Sometimes it works best to stick with something you already do that, in itself, creates "normal." But if you can't do that thing, maybe try another thing that is new or different, but that you can repeat, and that people will look forward to. A simple example from The Long Winter: Laura and her family received a package of magazines with stories, and they agreed (reluctantly, in Laura's case) to hold off on immediate binge-reading, and stretch them out as read-alouds during the winter evenings together.

So maybe you can try what Cindy Rollins termed Morning Time, if that hasn't been part of your routine. Or Tea Time. Maybe it's episodes of an old TV show. Maybe it's a nightly checkers game. Or bedtime stories.

For more thoughts on simple homeschooling, the value of family rituals, and the need for beloved Things, see if you can access a copy of one of these books:

For the Children's Sake, by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

For the Family's Sake, by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

What is a Family?, by Edith Schaeffer

The Hidden Art of Homemaking (alternate title, Hidden Art), by Edith Schaeffer


Hey-cool P.S.: If you sign in to Open Library, you can "borrow" the Edith Schaeffer books.

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