Suddenly Homeschooling?


A lot of parents have found themselves suddenly homeschooling due to COVID-19. Whether you call it homeschooling, distance learning, remote learning, or some other term, your child is doing school at home. You’re nervous, overwhelmed, and not sure if you can do this. This is the type of advice that I needed when we first started our homeschool journey, and I hope it helps someone during this chaotic time. 

Breathe. Take a deep breath. You’ve got this! You might be isolated, but you are NOT alone. We are all in this together, and we will make it through this. This could just last a couple of weeks, or it might last the rest of the school year, but you can do it! This isolation schooling is different for us, too. Even though we are used to doing our school work at home, we are also accustomed to being able to leave whenever we want for field trips, visits with Grandma, and other outings. We are struggling in these abnormal times as well. 

Find your calm. If you are stressed out and panicked, your kids will be stressed out and panicked. Homeschooling isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but starting out in a calm state of mind certainly helps.

You don’t have to do school all day long. Everyone’s instructions from their school will be different, but you shouldn’t try to get in 8 hours of “schooling” each day. You don’t have to worry about taking attendance, announcements, lining up and walking down the hallways, and all the other things that take up time in a classroom setting.  Each day might be a little different, too; some lessons can go by quickly, and others may take longer. In general, younger children will need less time than older children. Remember that schools are set up with one teacher and many children. You have the luxury of a much smaller ratio and will be able to get work done faster.

Don’t try to recreate the classroom at home. You don’t have to force your child to do their work at a desk. Some will do better at the kitchen table, on the living room floor, the back porch, or chilling out with the family pet. Give them some freedom. This is a stressful time for everyone, and giving them some control over things like where to do their work can be helpful.

You will find the rhythm that works for your family. Some kids are early birds and do their best work right after breakfast. Others need a little more time to wake up and get going. If you have multiple children, use this to your advantage. I personally find it easier to work with one child at a time in my household. My oldest child does his work independently; I am just there as a facilitator to make sure it’s getting done and am available if he needs something. My other two need much more of my direct attention, but I don’t usually try to work with them at the same time. We can get the work done faster if I work with them individually. What should you do if you have little ones? Try to utilize their nap time to work with the older ones if you can. Alternatively, you can give them something to do, like coloring books or unique toys while the older ones are working. Remember, it’s going to take some time to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for your family. Give yourself some grace – you don’t have to be perfect.

Limit distractions. You know your family better than I do. If your teen can’t get any work done if his phone is around, then plan for the phone to be put away until the job is finished. If you are using online resources, but your child can’t stay off games, utilize the parental tools of whatever devices you are using to limit access to certain games or websites. If your younger ones need to run around the backyard to burn off some energy to be able to focus, then let them! One of the blessings of homeschool is being able to cater to your child’s needs.

They’re going to fight. At least, more than likely they will. You’re all going to get tired of each other, you’re going to get frustrated. Tempers might flare or feelings will get hurt. It’s okay to take a break. Heck, it’s okay to just pack it all in for the day and try again tomorrow. Turn on some music and have a dance party in the living room. Get outside for some fresh air. I often follow the words of The Offspring. You know, “you gotta keep ’em separated!”

Let your kids lead the way. I realize you may have to do specific lessons that your child’s teacher assigns. However, when you can, let your child take the lead. If she wants to learn about space, blast off! If he wants to learn to bake, get in the kitchen. There are teaching opportunities everywhere; they don’t have to all come from a book or worksheet. Family game night can even be educational – reading, math, logic, and more all come into play. At the same time, remember that not everything has to be a learning experience. Sometimes you can just do things for fun!

Read. And read some more. If you only do one thing during the school closure, read! Read to your children, even your older children. Have them read to you. Let them read to the dog, their siblings, even their stuffed animals. Make books accessible all the time. The benefits of reading are far and wide, and enough for a post of their own!

Connect. Take this time to connect with your family. Bake some cookies, watch a movie, work on your family photo album, tell the kids stories from your childhood.  It will not ruin your child’s future if the schoolwork doesn’t all get done. We are all in uncharted territory – the schools, teachers, kids, the community. Focus on weathering this storm and being a safe harbor for your kids. Check-in on other moms you know. That quick call or text might mean the world to a struggling mama. Like I mentioned before, you might not be able to leave your house, but that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with each other.

Take care of your mental health. It is so crucial in times like these to remember that mental health important. If you are struggling, reach out to your healthcare provider or a trusted friend. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has many resources on their website at, or you can reach their helpline at 800-950-6264. You can also text NAMI to 741741.

I’ll be back in another post with tips and links to resources you can use for learning during your time at home. In the meantime, I want to leave you with a little humor and practical advice, which I think we can all use. Learn the phrase “you’re not hungry, you’re just thirsty. Get a glass of water.” Seriously, these kids eat so much! My three boys all have very hearty appetites, and I’ll be honest – they get it from me!

Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands!

Previous articleNo One Laughs at My Jokes
Next articleWear the Mickey Bandaid
A lifelong resident of Lubbock, Katy loves living in the Hub City, despite the dust storms and heat waves! Katy loves cheering on the Red Raiders, holding both her bachelor's and master's degrees in business from Texas Tech. She also loves the art of dance, having started on the stage at the age of three and has many years of dance teaching experience as well. Growing up an only child did not completely prepare her for raising three energetic boys but she loves them to infinity and beyond! At home, Katy can often be found curled up with the cat and a good book, but more than likely she’ll be creating in the kitchen. Katy appreciates a good cup of coffee any time of day. She also has a slight obsession with true crime podcasts and documentaries. One of her recent adventures has been starting Kidpreneur Lubbock, giving local youth the opportunity to start and run their own business at a one-day marketplace. She also homeschools her children and is still a number-cruncher by trade while working from home. Katy is excited and proud to be part of the Lubbock Moms Community! Favorite Lubbock Restaurant: Thai Thai Favorite Landmark: Texas Tech Seal and Fountain Favorite Lubbock Tradition: Carol of Lights at Texas Tech University


  1. Katy, this is amazing! You are still the smartest and most grammatically gifted person I know. Thank you for taking the time to do this. It is very informative and full of fantastic ideas.

  2. In my world several dad are at home with children. They may have a two income life. We generally think of homeschooling at a mother activity, but is not. It is a family activity. Do you have any advice for dads?

Comments are closed.