Homeschooling parents want to know that someone is listening.
Helping homeschooling parents on social media, shouldn’t be difficult.
Here are some do’s and dont’s when posting responses to social media.
1| Just Relax!
Parents have real heart concerns about their children being developmentally behind, struggling with social issues, exhibiting behavior that worries them, or a million other questions. Telling them to RELAX, is not going to calm their fears, or concerns about their child; nor does it do anything to address the situation, or struggle at hand. It pushes their fears to the side, invalidates the fears, and in essence, says; “You shouldn’t be concerned.” Have you ever taken care of a sick child, and were worried to death? Did anyone telling you to relax, actually get you to relax, or make the situation better? The only time telling a parent to relax is appropriate, is if they are on a beach with a pina colada watching the sunset. Or having a massage.
2| Don’t Give Medical Advice.
3| Rarely is there an instance on social media, where enough information is provided, to be able to give anything other than emotional support to the situation.
Parents who post to social media want to know that all is well with their child. But rarely, is there enough information given so that anyone can help. Family dynamics, socio-economic status, parenting style, family support systems, health, and a ton of other information all play an important role in helping parents. Parents may not want to share such guarded information about their child on public forums either. They may just want to know that there is someone out there listening to them. Responding with, “It sounds like a difficult time,” or ” I’m sorry you are struggling,” are perfectly appropriate.
4| Unschooling May Not Be the Answer.
Unschooling is a fabulous way to learn. But. A big BUT. It is not the solution for every struggle a parent posts. When parents post that their child is struggling with (insert any issue), the automatic response seems to be, “Just Unschool.” Again, this invalidates the parent’s deep concerns about their child, and does nothing to address those concerns. Unschooling, like everything else, should be entered into only if it is the right fit for the child and family.
5| Changing the Curriculum May Not Be the Answer.
When parents are struggling or asking for help on social media, the default answer seems to be to change the curriculum. In some instances, that may absolutely work. But, sometimes it’s not the root of the problem at all. Beginning homeschoolers especially, may go through curriculum like drinking water, assuming that a change will solve homeschooling issues. And the reality is, that during the first year of homeschooling, curriculum hopping is normal until the right match is found. But too often, curriculum needs to be given ample time to settle in. The child needs to be able to settle into homeschooling.
6| Deschooling May Not Be the Answer.
Deschooling or the time period it takes for children removed from school to create a new learning paradigm, is another recommendation that is used too frequently. Deschooling doesn’t mean, not learning. In fact, it’s the opposite of not learning. It’s taking the time to really get to know your child, what interests them, and what learning looks like outside the public school education model. While absolutely worthwhile, not all kids need time to deschool. Some kids happily make the change to unschooling, or even begin homeschooling with relative little time between educational placements. There are many kids who thrive on change, and who know what satifies their own learning needs.
Helping homeschooling parents on social media should be uplifting and supportive. Putting our own experiences aside is necessary to address the parent and child concerns. Letting parents know that you hear their concerns, and are there to listen is always a welcome response.