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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

Teach Your Children Well

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

bear, surreal, woods, fantasy
Embrace Your Inner Bear

* Note The title of this blogpost has been edited. My homeschool experience is nothing like what is happening now. I chose home education voluntarily. What is happening now is a completely different scenario. Most of the children that I am aware of in this state have computers and access to classrooms. So the general time spent with children is typically after the lessons. For those of you who are homeschooling without a connection to the school network. This may be of interest. I will mention, again, that the Etched in Granite Historical Fiction Series has been used in both public and homeschool settings. It is suitable for middle school through high school. I am reachable and open to the development of curriculum or author discussion. MjP ____________________________________________________________________ Original Blogpost So, here we are. Home. Inside of that cave, or as I say, the proverbial womb. The changes that we are facing now, in our lifetime, are unprecedented. This is the mother— the quintessence—of defining moments. How each of us responds is truly unique and will determine our individual and collective outcomes. 

Firstly, it helps to stop and think. What is the message of the coronavirus? If you reach deep enough, you may find a message of love. 

Love? You ask, and then possibly return to a state of fear and disbelief.

Let’s boil this down a bit and get to the medicine in the bubbling pot. Think of this as a grand merging of the conscious and the unconscious. Beneath the surface, neatly tucked away in our psyche, are layers of worry, fear, greed, enviousness, competitiveness, insecurity, and materialism (to name a few). Courtesy of the unconscious, our experiences, and ancestral lineage, we have a full plate of dilemmas. They pile up—these demons of ours—manifesting in cycles and patterns. With or without our permission or acknowledgment, such thoughts and ideas often drive us. We may find ourselves in a constant “me” role, trying to overcompensate for our perceived downfalls. 

Then, one day, when we are strolling along, typically unaware of what has been fueling our lives, everything comes to a halt. Those systems that we thought would always be there, the status quo, have vanished, taking a new form. Like the song lyrics, “it’s the end of the world as we know it.”

We are on our own. I mean, we have support systems that are wobbling around, trying to take root in our new earth. But where is our place in it? What has happened to what we knew as sure as the law of gravity? 

Perhaps this is our golden opportunity to flip the “M” in ME to a “W” in WE. This is the moment to shift from actions coming from a self-centered place to viewing others with care and compassion. Pause and consider how all actions have consequences. 

When we are ordered to stay at home. For once, this isn’t really about us. It’s about others. It’s about the elders, the physically compromised, the frail, and the weak. We must cooperate, care, and eliminate the need to compete. 

We have a chance to create, but instead of doing this for our own purpose, which has abundant benefits in wellness and transformation, consider creating for the whole, for others. Create with purity and compassion, from love and for love. 

But what about the kids? For many of you, being at home with your children on this level is unlike anything you have faced. The school systems have provided computers and online classes, but then what?

As a veteran homeschool mother, I am going to share my thoughts. In future articles, I will provide sample lessons, activities, and recommendations that may offer insight. 

I will begin by telling you that I homeschooled my children in various stages beginning in the second grade, through high school, and into college or conservatory. 

Here are a few core ideas. First and foremost, trust yourself. When you look out in the wild, do you see a mamma bear with 28 cubs sitting on the edge of the woods learning about eating grubs? Of course not!

Embrace that it is natural for you to raise your young. Just sit with it. This part of being has been blurred. In the dizzying pace of keeping up with our need to have it all—a career and a familywe lost our way. 

What a tall order this is! Yes, you can have it all. Please, remember to treat those who choose to stay home, raising and educating their young, with respect. Now you know, it is not for the faint of heart. 

I did not set out to do this. One of my children presented such a strong, wise, logical argument, that everything I thought to be true in my world shifted significantly. I will cover that at a later time.

We find ourselves here. Facing the other part of this new world. Following the classroom activities online with a remote teacher, your children are at home with you. Depending on the size of your family, they are not in with the large group that they are accustomed to. They are not effectively moved from one pasture to the next. And you are in it together.

With that in mind, try to teach on an individual basis, not relying on books designed to work with large groups. There is a massive difference. I learned this early in my home education process. The programs in school are meant for the classroom, not individual learning. 

This is your child’s chance to unearth her identity, to reclaim that natural curiosity that was inadvertently snuffed out. Because, how on earth can one teacher address all of those interests and individual learning styles? Just as much as it is her opportunity for rediscovering self, it is your opportunity to get to know your child again.

I remember how thrilled I was when embarking on our mythology studies. My children were so excited, they expanded from Greek to Norse and Egyptian mythology as well. They could not get enough. This experience taught me that if they find a particular subject fascinating, they can dive into it more deeply. We are not hurrying to meet a deadline. Don’t get me wrong, I did have plans, we were not free-range, but we were inspired and self-motivated. I believe that learning about and with boundaries is vital in growth and development.

Under so-called normal circumstances, there is an expected transition period. One cannot jump from one learning environment to another in a flash. Also, this event—coronavirus outbreak—didn’t happen with your careful planning and consideration. You did not consciously ask for this. Time is needed to absorb the shock of systems and patterns that we have relied on, that are no longer in place. 


 I recommend having the following on hand if at all possible:

*Books of various, appropriate genres, writing and drawing paper, journals, paint, colored pencils.

I also taught transformative language arts and music and movement classes. Provide a space for your child to listen to and play music, dance, sing, and reflect. Ask them to keep a journal. Talk about what it means to be at home. What are they feeling? Encourage self-exploration and safe expression so that emotions, fears, and any trauma is not manifested. Moving and flowing freely is vital during this time (and always).

If you have baking supplies, make a pizza. Have them divide the pizza into sections, emphasizing fractions with toppings. It is a fun dialogue, and if you're good cooks, is delicious as well.

For the younger children, if you have snacks like peanuts or raisins (M&M’s), break them into groups and do addition (some and some more) and subtraction (some and some went away) stories. Initially, referring to them as word "problems" plants a negative seed, right?

You can cook and bake just about anything, talking about measurements, cooking times, and temperatures in the recipe. 

Provide your grade-school child with a ruler or tape measure and a list (that you have compiled). Ask him/her to measure particular household objects and fill in the page.

Give prompts for story writing.

Have your elementary and middle school-age child keep a record of the weather. Make your own chart with a piece of blank paper. Add the current date, time, temperature, and you can have him/her illustrate the day. Expand: what do you like or not like about this weather. Keep it as a journal and turn it into a weather book.

These are a few random ideas. I will share more as I continue to write about trusting yourself and your children. The connection is there. You simply need to reach out for it, reclaim it. You can do this. We all can.

*BONUS From the Author *The Etched in Granite Historical Fiction Series is appropriate for YA and up. It has been taught with great success in homeschool families and public school settings. There is no inappropriate language or content. The history is factual but crafted in narrative form. The events were graphic enough, so there was no need for embellishment. The books are available on my website, Amazon, Smashwords, libraries, and book stores. They are in e-book and print format. 

I am available via this website for discussion about the books. Soon, and upon request, I will be coming out with some worksheets to aid in the historical and literary aspects of the work.



in American English

(kəˈroʊnə )


Word forms: plural coˈronas or coˈronae (kəˈroʊni )

1.  a crown or something resembling a crown

2.  a circular chandelier hanging from a church ceiling

3.  a long cigar with straight sides and blunt ends

4.  Anatomy

a.  a crownlike part

b.  the crown of a tooth, of a skull, etc.

5.  Architecture

the top projection of a cornice

6.  Astronomy

a.  the layer of ionized gas surrounding the sun, characterized by an extremely low density, an extremely high temperature, and a constantly changing shape extending great distances from the sun: clearly visible during a total solar eclipse

b.  a ring of colored light seen around a luminous body, as the sun or moon, formed by the diffraction of light caused by mistdust, etc.

7.  Botany

an extra whorl of flower parts between the corolla and the stamens, as in the daffodil, forming a crownlike or cuplike part

8.  Electricity

a luminous discharge that may occur around a high-voltage conductor due to ionization of the surrounding air Source <>


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