Gosh, what a week. Not just for some of us, but for all of us.

Whatever happens from here, however this thing plays out, the coronavirus has already impacted the global community in a big way. Most of us now have a very different few weeks ahead of us than we thought we did. Maybe even months.

With child care centers and schools across the globe closing or extending holiday periods, many parents are being faced with a sudden and unique challenge—taking point on their child’s education from home.

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It feels big. It feels important. It’s a responsibility you might never have imagined taking on.

I’ve spent a long time as an unschooling dad exploring the ways my children learn most naturally, so if you’re a parent taking this on for the first time I have a piece of advice that will help:

The worst thing you can do right now is to emulate school at home. To try and teach your child. To try and “educate” your child. To believe that if you don’t then they’ll fall behind.

They won’t, and I can almost guarantee that if you do anything that resembles school work it will turn into a stressy, yelly, fighty mess.

Instead, use this time to take all that schedule, test and grade pressure off your child’s shoulders. Slow life down, for you (if you’re fortunate enough to have the flexibility in your work) and for them.

Read together, go for walks, explore in nature, talk about stuff they like, play board games, draw, paint, listen to podcasts, watch movies and documentaries, play video games, cook and bake, spend time in the garden . . .

It might not feel like it, but the learning your child takes from a period of time spent like this will be rich and varied, real and connected.

And you will find the same.

One of the silver linings of this pandemic is that while you’ve likely had contact with the world around you restricted to some extent, you’ve probably also been handed more time with your immediate family.

Don’t waste it stressing over how and what to teach.

Spend it connecting instead.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog.

Stark Raving Dad

Stark Raving Dad is an unschooling dad of four who spends his nights putting words to the 'why' of home education. He also relies solely on coffee to parent effectively. No, really.