At least 33 states have announced that public schools will be closed due to the coronavirus. The length of the closures varies from state to state, with some schools remaining shut down until the end of March, others shuttered through the end of April, and some for the rest of the year.
With all 50 states and the District of Columbia reporting COVID-19 cases, it’s likely that more states will follow suit in efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker was one of the most recent to announce school closures; as of Tuesday, March 17, schools in that state were shut down for three weeks. After the announcement, Andrew Beckwith, President of Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI), wrote an article, “How To Homeschool When You’re Not A Homeschooler,” offering helpful suggestions for parents faced with this situation.
He writes that due to the governor’s actions “nearly one million Massachusetts children found themselves effectively ‘homeschoolers,’” adding that this will require “a major adjustment for hundreds of thousands of parents and children in our Commonwealth.”
Beckwith is writing from a position of experience and understanding. He says: “My wife and I have been homeschooling for almost seven years with our four children, but it was a decision we made after months of talking, researching and praying. For so many families right now, it is something that has been thrust upon them almost without warning.”
Along with MFI education consultant Mary Ellen Siegler, he’s put together a resource list for parents wanting to teach their kids over the next weeks and months. Here are just a few of their recommendations:
- Blogs written by homeschooling mothers not only provide useful resources like suggested books, websites, printable worksheets and activities, but they also offer practical tips for organizing the day and inspiration for weary parents. Check out Simple Homeschool, Hip Homeschool Moms, and Practical, by Default (this blog is specifically for working moms).
- Home School Legal Defense Association, a nonprofit ministry founded to defend and advance parental rights and the freedom to direct their child’s education, has a wealth of information and links for both new and veteran homeschoolers, including help for struggling learners, advice for teaching every grade, and preparing kids for college.
- Kahn Academy is an online platform that provides free, high quality educational videos that allow students to work at their own pace. Their lessons cover K-12 math through early college, grammar, history, and more.
There’s more ideas, including suggestions for older students, which you can read at MFI”s “How To Homeschool When You’re Not A Homeschooler.” The Massachusetts Family Institute is a Focus on the Family affiliated Family Policy Council, one of 40 state organizations that work to protect faith, family and freedom at the state and local levels.
In addition to MFI’s helpful list of resource, Focus on the Family has also created a webpage: “We are here to help your family get through the COVID-19 Crisis.” The page has sections on family devotions, parenting, marriage and the sanctity of life. Each section has articles and resources, which Focus will be adding to over the coming weeks and months.
Focus on the Family also has numerous resources for parenting, faith and marriage, including specific resource lists – with books, videos, Q and A’s and referrals – for education and homeschooling.