Camp NaNoWriMo Day 26: How to Homeschool – a Poem in Lockdown

The month is almost over, and I’ve managed to write about 4,000 words of poetry! Today’s poem came from my frustration about people too offhandedly saying they are homeschooling.

I was homeschooled for eight years of my education, and it has really shaped me. Now, in an unprecedented time where most students are participating in remote learning, I’ve seen so many frustrated parents online. It’s understandable, and I have a great respect for the teachers and parents working to put together something new.

When parents and news headlines mention “homeschooling” though, I just hope you’ll remember that people have been homeschooling for a long time, and it and remote learning are not the same.

How to Homeschool

a COVID-19 poem by Lauren Hallstrom


  1. set up a spot, maybe in your kitchen or basement,

where you can tell yourself it’s time to work. build a classroom,

if you want to. there is a fuzzy blanket here,

there is a bowl of M&Ms and Goldfish. a fireplace that you have to keep

scooting a little farther from as your math lesson progresses.


  1. go to one of those educational stores for teachers

and play with the kinetic sand

and piece together several different curricula for each subject

because you like different things about each one.


  1. go home and buy everything online for cheaper.


  1. they have a routine now. they have their math lessons and essays

and the younger ones are meeting to learn the difference between

affect and effect

and now everyone is coming together to read about the Nazca Lines.


  1. ask them what they want to learn too, and

let that surprise you. make a model greenhouse, write a musical,

create a circuit board, learn tennis, learn how to build a bridge

that will hold and not break.


  1. they are not alone. they are joining advisory boards and fencing schools

and learning how to meet people

in more places than one.


  1. whisper to yourself what you are doing, because

who is the world to judge, and sometimes you don’t let it sink in.

you are working two full-time jobs—

you have no need for parent-teacher

conferences because you are both. you are inspiring them

to love learning that happens anywhere.

you are grading fairly, and since the world needs proof,

here are the biannual standardized test results.


  1. remote learning is not the same as homeschooling.

there are parents setting their kids down in front of computers

with pre-planned lessons

because they had to,

and no one was prepared for this.

they are saying this is hard,

and that’s because it is,

but they don’t know the half of it.

their jokes about playing on the trampoline

and calling it P.E. are only hurting everybody.


  1. you have to realize that you don’t need

to know everything. they will always be changing math.

the English language delights in not following rules.

you are imperfect, and you are learning

that teachers are still students

of the world.

you don’t know the answer,

but you know how to find it.


  1. love the public school teachers

and the online tutors

and the tired parents,

because we all have the same goal

here, and not all classrooms contain

the usual four corners.




Published by laurenhallstrom

Lauren is the author of two CIPA EVVY award-winning novels, both written when she was a teen. She writes contemporary fantasy for tweens and young adults. She holds an undergraduate degree in English at Colorado State University and currently works in a public library. More often than not you can find her there - promoting lifelong learning, staring off into space, and dreaming up new stories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: