If you’re a parent who’s suddenly become your child’s full-time school teacher, principal, and administrator because of the coronavirus, your SOS has been heard—a free new website has you all covered.
In late March, nonprofit Texas Home School Coalition launched coronavirushomeschooling.com, a place where parents can sign up for free daily lesson plans and advice to help walk them through educating their kids at home.
“Don’t worry, you’ve got this! We’ve schooled from home for decades, so we know the ropes,” the website reads. “Here are a few steps that will help. Just take them one at a time.”
THSC President Tim Lambert told Texas Scorecard the project was started as an emergency response to the coronavirus outbreak, to relieve stress for families working from home and give them a clear and simple path to not just surviving with their kids during this time, but actually thriving.
“Because of the virus, we’ve heard this mantra that ‘we’re all homeschoolers now,’ and we realized there was such a need out there that the homeschool community was really uniquely qualified to meet,” he said.
“We started off with a Facebook group called Coronavirus Homeschool Support, where people can connect and get help from others in the homeschool community. Then in about a week, we actually put together this website that’s really designed to help people do this on a day-to-day basis.”
Lambert said the lesson plans are currently for kindergarten through fifth grade, though their staff is working “around the clock” to add junior high and high school-aged material and include thing such as videos, downloadable printout worksheets, educational craft activities, and simple instructions.
“You can go to the website and download lesson plans for the day; you can sign up and get those in your inbox every day for different age groups … and all of that is available at no charge until April 30,” Lambert said. “We’re continuing to build this out and have partnered with different curricula providers. And in two weeks, we’ve had over 3,000 people who’ve signed up for the daily lesson plans—people from all over the country.”
Those across the country who’ve taken notice include numerous national publications and even Hollywood actress Sam Sorbo, a former homeschool-doubter-turned-proponent who’s recently been promoting the website.
And one of the best parts of the program? Lambert said educating your child, especially elementary aged, doesn’t have to be an arduous and confusing all-day task.
“We’ve had some folks tell us their school is sending them work and expecting them to do about eight hours of work with their kids, and we just say, look, if you’ve got elementary aged kids, you can do this in two to three hours a day,” he said. “High school and junior high kids, a lot of them have enough maturity where you can give them directions for what they need to get done today, then once they’re done they can go spend their time on something else.”
Lambert said part of the reason for the reduced time is that teaching two or three kids at home is a lot different than a full classroom of 20 or 30, where often much of the day is necessarily spent on just the logistics of crowd management.
“At home, you get a lot more individualized attention, you can answer questions … you can tailor this to your individual children to suit their best learning style,” he said. “We’re already getting feedback from parents who are saying they’re spending more time as a family and they don’t have as much schedule stress.”
Lambert added THSC is here to help parents in every aspect of homeschooling, not just the lessons, and he hopes the program will empower parents and make learning enjoyable and successful.
“Part of what we’re doing with our Facebook group, and even on the website, is trying to give people not just the academics that you deal with, but also help with some of the dynamics,” he said.
“It’s interesting how all the [virus] stuff has really thrown a wrench into things, but we view it as an opportunity for us as a homeschool community to show grace to a lot of families who have been thrown into this, a lot of whom are just trying to get through this school year, and to give them help.”