Wendy Priesnitz - writer, editor, changemaker
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Just Let Your Kids Play!

Just Let Your Kids Play!

Worried about the COVID-19 school shutdowns? Wondering if the kids will lose ground when they're not in school? Worried about parents' ability to teach? Concerned that your kids will overdose on technology?

I want to suggest that you put those worries down; there are enough other things to keep our minds and emotions occupied at the moment.

The tens of thousands of kids who regularly learn without school – known as homeschoolers, unschoolers, life learners, worldschoolers, etc. – demonstrate that school is not a necessary part of an education. These kids are propelled by their interests and needs to actively learn about the world and how it works. In the process, they develop the problem-solving and research skills that will be so important to them in the future. For them, learning is not a chore to be enforced by someone in authority, but a joyful part of everyday living.

However, that sort of learning doesn't necessarily come easily to kids who have been in school. When a child or young person moves from schooling to school-free learning, they normally experience a period of adjustment. And that can be many months long. So don't have expectations about what is possible in your home right now. Please don't feel the need to be a teacher. Please don't pressure your children to do school-type work. And that means even if a teacher has sent worksheets or other assignments home to be done under your supervision – unless your child wants to do them. If you are able to create an enriching environment for them, so much the better, but children – especially young ones – may surprise you with their ability to enjoy self-directed play. And there is a great deal of learning that results from that. 

These are extraordinary times. Many of us adults are feeling isolated, afraid, uncertain about the future, worried about our families' health, income, and the economy in general. We don't know how long the current crisis will last. So I believe that the best we can do for our children is to keep them close, model coping strategies, and, most of all, let them play. They will "catch up" at school and they will have learned new things during this time at home.

If you are curious about how people learn without schooling, there are hundreds of free articles on that topic on the Life Learning Magazine website, which I edit. Also among those articles, you may find some inspiration for ways to be together as a family during this period of social distancing.

I hope that years from now, anyone reading this will be able to look back at this period in their family's history as a time when they became closer to one another, rather than as a time of stress.

Wendy Priesnitz

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copyright (c) 2023

Beyond School by Wendy Priesnitz    Natural Life's Green and Healthy Homes by Wendy Priesnitz    It Hasn't Shut Me Up by Wendy Priesnitz    Challenging Assumptions in Education by Wendy Priesnitz    Life Learning by Wendy Priesnitz