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Parents are Not Expected to Become THE Teacher

I have to start homeschooling this week. I created a 9am-4pm school schedule for my kids! How am I supposed to teach six hours a day? How do I create lesson plans? These are just some of the statements I have read on social media lately and I want to tell parents – STOP!
You are not expected to become an overnight teacher. If you did not already choose homeschooling, there is no need to start. Frankly, some of you are not cut out for teaching – and that is okay. Teaching children takes a special kind of dedication, passion (lots of passion), and a college degree. Please leave the classroom teaching to those who know how.
Our education system has temporarily asked you to keep your children busy while they recreate the way it has been done for more than century. They are asking for time while teachers work on innovative, interactive, and appropriate lesson plans on a digital platform. But they are working on these things and you should not. Your child has resiliency and abilities to cope if given a positive environment in which to do so. Give them time and let them play, exercise, and enjoy some new ways of learning. Environmental scavenger hunts can teach them about nature around them. Playing games, especially those with dice or cards, can help with math (counting, adding, ordering). Tossing a ball, bouncing on a trampoline, biking, and running are just a small number of ways to get some exercise (gym) and practice some healthy living.
Parents are providing education daily without lesson plans and schedules. Again, it is okay. As stressed and unsure as you are, your children are experiencing the same. Feeling isolated or lonely? So are those youth. Make time to ‘visit’ through electronic means, set up play dates online if you can. Be a little more patient and be aware of a variety of emotions. We expect anger, confusion, sadness, and moodiness at times like this. If your child lost a major event or experience they were looking forward to, they may go through a grieving process. Loss, no matter what type, can still cause denial, depression, anger, and a period of mourning. Give your child reassurance and time to talk; acknowledge and respect their feelings. Younger ones may not put into words how they feel so if they act irrationally or you feel they are overreacting to something, perhaps it is because they can’t express themselves.
Please be patient with teachers as they navigate these new waters with you. Remember, they may also have children at home and they now balance more roles just like you. Technology is another subject matter your child will be learning, and it is well needed these days. Work with your child’s teacher and make the best of this difficult situation.
Nancy A. Moores is the UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County 4-H Agent and has been working with youth for more than 34 years. Contact her at nmoores@ufl.edu for more information or to start your child on the 4-H journey!