WATCH — What’s your homeschooling style? Planner or free spirit?

Published 2020-04-09 13:30

Expert advice for how to plan your day

When it comes to figuring out how to do school from home during the coronavirus outbreak, it’s a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure story.

Every province and territory seems to have a different plan in place for helping students.

And advice from the experts is conflicting.

Should you stick to a schedule and the curriculum?

Or go freestyle and only learn what you want, when you want?

Take a look at these approaches and decide: Which type of homeschooler are you?

The planner

Do you leap out of bed at the same time every morning, have all your textbooks bookmarked online and a colour-coded system for keeping track of virtual assignments?

Let’s just call you a planner.

Boy sits at a desk with notebook, computer and other supplies.

Planners stick to a routine. They’re setting aside a bit of time each day during the coronavirus outbreak to do their homework. (Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)

That’s not a bad thing, according to Marina Milner-Bolotin, an associate professor of science education at the University of British Columbia.

If you want to keep up with subjects like science and math, “you have to do it continuously,” she said, so that you don’t fall behind.

As long as you do a little bit every day, Milner-Bolotin said, you should have no problem catching up when school starts again.

She recommends setting aside a certain time each day for school work.

“When we have a routine, it's much easier,” Milner-Bolotin said.

The free spirit

Do you start your day with a sleep in, then spend long hours exploring the backyard or getting experimental in the kitchen instead of hitting the books?

Let’s call you a free spirit.

Girls practises ballet.

Free spirits are taking advantage of this time of physical distancing to pursue their passions without worrying about following a strict schedule. (Paul Childs/Reuters)

There’s nothing wrong with pursuing your passions and building in lots of time during the day to play, said Judy Arnall, president of the Alberta Homeschooling Association.

And don’t worry about setting an alarm and sticking to a strict schedule, Arnall said.

“Sleep in as much as you can,” she said, and “enjoy being in your jammies.”

Most people find they can meet curriculum goals much faster when learning from home, Arnall said, and that leaves lots of free time for hands-on learning.

“You do not have to learn things through a textbook,” she said.

In fact, Arnall said, if you try to set up a school at home, with desks and a whiteboard and a schedule, most kids “get bored and stop listening.”

The combo kid

Do you love your colour-coded system for tracking school projects, but also refuse to change out of your jammies until at least lunchtime?

Well then, let’s just call you a combo kid.

Girl wearing a fake unicorn horn writes in a notebook.

Sure, you like to get your work done, but you do it in your own way and in your own style. Sounds like you take the combo kid approach to homeschooling. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Both Milner-Bolotin and Arnall agree that this is a good time to learn more about the subjects that interest you and you don’t usually have time for.

Maybe you’re interested in dinosaurs or you want to learn more about the planets or learn a new language, Milner-Bolotin said. “Use this time to learn more about topics that you love.”

“Explore websites that you’ve always wanted to and never had time for,” Arnall said.

Whether you’re a planner, a free spirit or something in between, consider this a vacation from the ordinary and “enjoy it” as best you can, Arnall said.

Watch the video to see CBC Kids News contributor Alexia Sabau act out various homeschooling personalities: 

About the Contributor

Alexia Sabau
Alexia Sabau
CBC Kids News Contributor
Alexia Sabau is an inquisitive teen who likes to keep up with the trends. The Grade 12 student is a youth ambassador with a passion for community building and motivation to make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels. She worked as a junior reporter for the Calgary International Children’s Festival and Shaw TV Calgary. Alexia is also a devoted Harry Potter fan who is excited to work her magic on CBC Kids News.