Social media is a huge topic – especially for parents.
- It’s a distraction: Put your phone down and pay attention to the kids in front of you.
- It isn’t real life: It’s FAKEbook. People exaggerate.
- Social media invites comparisons: Pinterest isn’t real life; never compare your life to a perfect picture on a screen.
- It’s replacing real life interactions with virtual ones: Find a community that you can actually meet with in person!
The truth is, I do agree with these statements. I am not going to dispute any of the potential pitfalls of social media, NOR am I going to deny that yes, I spend too much time on my phone.
What is also true is that I am totally envious that social media today is so much different now than it was when I homeschooled my daughter. Personally, I truly believe that social media can be one of the most successful and helpful tools in homeschooling.
It is easy to quickly lose your enthusiasm for homeschooling. You are “alone” with your kids. Well – not totally alone because you go to Park Day, co-ops, etc., etc. However, you see all too often how other parents “brag” about their experiences, and it is normal to question yourself or feel inadequate. It is too easy to feel as if you are failing. You might feel like you are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, but with one little search on Facebook, you can find all sort of support for homeschooling at the touch of your fingertips. There is something wonderful about being anonymous. It is really amazing to read through posts and get ideas, which will lead you to bigger and better ideas.
Although social media today isn’t what it was when I was homeschooling my daughter; it was instrumental, inspirational and provided encouragement as a homeschooling mother. I will be honest – this remains true today. I still turn to social media as a homeschooling teacher and director.
Here are some ways that social media can help your homeschooling experience.
You can read about various options. Learn from bloggers and other moms. Check out the company itself and see what they offer. Social media does this all and provides real life examples of the curriculum in action.
As a homeschooling parent, you have access to so many printables online either free via Pinterest and Instagram, OR at a low cost from Teachers Pay Teachers. Yes, you might have to do some searching – but they are there. Trust me on this one.
Ideas and Inspiration
By far one the greatest benefits of engaging in social media is to “see” what other mom’s ideas and creativity is out there. This can provide you with ideas as well as inspire you to find your own, new, creative ideas. You can find recipes, art projects, science experiments, etc. to integrate into the topics that are being studied within your home.
A Mental Break
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that we all use social media for that little break. Think of it as the old fashion water cooler! We can gather around and see what others are up to. It is a nice little break in the middle of the morning.
Being a homeschooler, we are part of a special community. We can relate to others. We can post a frustration, an accomplishment or simple your family having fun and you have your “tribe” there to cheer you on. The encouragement is only a click away.
Feel frustrated that you just can’t give a certain subject the time it deserves. Maybe the thought of teaching Biology sends you into a tizzy. Good news! Online classes are there. Many of these online consortiums also has a community on Facebook that provides you with laughter, ideas, reassurance, daily poll questions and interaction with people you can relate to. Please join us at: https://www.facebook.com/opententacademy/
If you are struggling to find the support you need for homeschooling, let me encourage you to consider social media as an option. Although there are always the “mean girls” out there that will judge you, my personal experience has been positive!
Eva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.