East Cobb mom, Mandy Davis, never saw herself asa homeschooler, but when the school year started back in August, many families in East Cobb found themselves in a new situation as homeschoolers or virtual distance learners. With three children in grades 6, 3, and Pre-K, it was a big decision for Mandy and her husband to choose between Cobb County School’s virtual option or homeschooling, “In a time of so much uncertainty, we chose consistency which led us to homeschooling our children.”

While there are many new homeschoolers and virtual distance learners in our community right now, there are also a large group of seasoned homeschool and virtual school families in this area. We caught up with a few of them and asked what their best tip or piece of advice they would share with families like Mandy’s.

Rena Pearson, a homeschool parent for fourteen years with two daughters who are now in college shared the following advice: “As a parent (with your children at home learning), you have to be in charge. Be honest with yourself what your child can accomplish and can endure. If the current situation is not working, do something different. Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from doing the best for your child. Get your child’s input on what is or is not working for them. You might be surprised by their insight. It could be as simple as moving their workspace to a more active or less active place. Maybe an exercise ball as a chair would be a better option for the young or fidgety. Music in the background can be helpful or distracting depending on learning styles. Take frequent breaks from sitting to go outside and get some fresh air or exercise.”

A big concern for parents right now who are choosing to homeschool are learning gaps. What if we homeschool and my child misses something they should have learned in 3rd grade? For the answer to this question we turned to Marla Szwast, a seasoned homeschooler who blogs about her experience at JumpInToGenius.com: “the myth of learning gaps is that we can avoid them. The truth about learning gaps is that every child and adult has them. In this age of information, there is too much knowledge for any one person to know it all. Instead of focusing on learning gaps, focus on the skill of learning. What does your child need to learn more effectively? If you focus on raising great learners, you won’t need to worry about learning gaps, because your child will have the skills to fill any gaps they encounter.”

Alicia Kramer, homeschool mom of three children for the last fourteen years shared this advice: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I could never have survived the past fourteen years without the help of fellow homeschool moms. In the East Cobb area there are so many resources from homeschool support groups like the JFBC Homeschool Support Group to Facebook Groups such as East Cobb Homeschoolers. Even if you are currently utilizing Cobb County School’s virtual learning program, then reaching out to a homeschool support resource can help you when you are struggling with finding a tutor, setting up an environment that your student will find conducive to learning or just needing some encouragement to fight the schooling at home burn-out.”

This article originally appeared in the September/October issue. You can access the digital edition HERE.