by- Yolanda Newton
updated March 17, 2020
First I start with the preface that in no way am I saying that if you are facing and an emergency event you should continue to homeschool “as normal”. The time before, during, and after an emergency event not normal. Always follow the advice of your local government and emergency personnel. If they tell you to prepare, prepare. If they tell you to evacuate, do it. However, when you’re dealing with children there are other things you should consider beyond physical well-being. Young children may not understand possible dangers. Older children may become very frightened by imaging negative possibilities. Can you homeschool during an emergency?
This is the time where you should embrace the fact that you homeschool. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar schools where the learning stops if the doors close, homeschool students can be educated at any time, in any place, and through any event or circumstance. If learning is occurring you should be counting these days toward your schooling. In fact, using an emergency event as a teaching opportunity cannot not only extend to make what the student’s learning concrete in real life, it can also help the student maintain calm by continuing with part of their normal routine.
Here are just three ways that you can homeschool during an emergency.
Math it up
So you have to go out to buy plywood to cover the windows. Exactly how much plywood will you need? How much will all of the plywood cost? Is your vehicle large enough to carry the plywood home? Perhaps you've been quarantined due to a local illness outbreak. Read articles to help your students understand how businesses come to the monetary losses that they might announce. For example, does the local tourist location say the event will cost them $250,000? Discuss how they came to that amount. These are realistic life-based math problems that students can solve during emergency preparations. Let multiplication, algebra, and geometry leap off of the math page and into your student’s life by helping them find an immediate use for their knowledge.
Get your science on
Have you ever heard the term that knowledge is power? Most emergency events that might occur where you live are no mystery. There are entire sciences dedicated to the movement of storms, predicting weather patterns, understanding the behavior of fire, the transmission of disease, and even creating structures to withstand earthquakes. Some of your student’s fears can be alleviated if they understand the science behind the emergency event that faces you. So head to official government websites, as well as science sites, and other reputable sources of information about the emergency event that faces you and use it as an opportunity to understand the science behind it. Don’t use local news, as it’s intention is to inform, sometimes inflame, and not educate. Also, the constant repetition of results felt by others might have a agitating effect on some students. Remember you focus is the science behind the event. Empower your students to know exactly what is going on in the world around them.
Be a survivor
Unfortunately, common sense isn’t so common today. Have you talked to your student about avoiding downed power lines, and why it’s important? Do they know the safest place in your home to be if there happens to be an earthquake? What should they do in case there is a fire? Are they aware of why they should wash their hands? Do they understand what every human needs in order to survive? Use the opportunity of creating an emergency kit, “go bags”, and family emergency planning to help teach your students the important things they need to know in order to survive.
These are just a few ideas that might help your family make use out of emergency days. Finding solace in your homeschool routine can help your student grow, stay calm, and be prepared. Do you have any other ideas for how to make use of a rough situation to teach your students?
The director of Education Revolution was classroom teacher, who has a passion for the creative flexibility that homeschool allows her own family, and the families that she works with. Learn more about Yolanda Newton.