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Homeschool Heroes: Finding balance, compassion in the time of COVID-19

Kaeden and Skylar sit in front of the water with their parents Eli and Erin Campbell.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Every weekday morning, Kaeden and Skylar Campbell, ages 6 and 4, show up for school at “Mrs. Mommy’s Classroom,” their homeschool set up by their mother and current teacher, Erin Campbell.

“I write our daily schedule on an easel every night so that the kids can wake up and see what we’re doing each day,” she said.

Their curriculum is a mix of Campbell’s own ideas for learning and Kaeden’s first-grade assignments and classroom meetings plus Skylar’s preschool Zoom class meetings a few times a week. They often start class with a hello song, as Skylar would do in his preschool class at Discovery Learning Center. That’s followed by work on age-appropriate material for both boys, movement and snack time, book,s and of course, playing outside or sometimes taking the whole classroom outside by doing things like chalk math and nature adventures.

“Every classroom day we study a new animal, and after books and educational videos, we often utilize writing, art and adventures to deepen our knowledge and appreciation,” Campbell explained. “The time we’ve spent studying animals has deepened my kids’ love, appreciation and respect for animals, which is a huge passion of mine.”

While Campbell handles the teaching and schoolwork for the majority of the day, her husband, Eli, works as the CEO of Sentio Cycling and as an advertising sales specialist for KFMU radio. The duo switches off in the late afternoon so that Campbell has time to workout, walk their two dogs or just read a book and relax for a bit. 

“We’re pretty good at sharing chores, and he tries to step in and help out whenever I might need a little break from the kids,” Campbell said.

When homeschooling is done for the day, dad often takes the boys outside to go adventure tracking in the woods, play baseball or basketball, ride bikes or just play and be silly.       

After finding this balance, Campbell said adopting a simpler life with a slower pace has been nice.

“Life was feeling too busy and often incredibly rushed — spending more time with my kids has been great,” Campbell said. “I’ve discovered that I love teaching my kids and enjoy the creativity that brings.”

The family’s motto is to live, laugh and love every day.

“Take time to listen to the birds sing, watch the flowers grow and appreciate the most simple things in life — find something meaningful to do as a family,” Campbell advised.

For the Campbells, that was building a mountain bike trail on their property where they can all ride together. And since the adventurous family couldn’t travel anywhere over spring break as they normally would, they created their own version of spring break at home. They voted on their favorite family vacation destinations and re-created them at home during the week of spring break.

One day was a home zoo on Denver day, another day they camped in the bedroom after s’mores at the fire pit on Steamboat Lake day. They dug out dinosaur eggs on Dinosaur National Monument day and went on virtual amusement park rides on Legoland day.

“We created memories together that might even be more memorable than some of those vacations,” Erin said. 

Overall, the most important thing to remember, Campbell said, is to not be too hard on yourself.

“Know that some days are just going to be better than others,” Campbell said. “Find humor in silly mistakes when you can. Take some time for yourself to recharge. And just as you find compassion for others, make sure to find compassion for yourself during these unusual and tough times.”

Are you or do you know somebody who is having success at “homeschooling” children during the COVID-19 pandemic? We want to know the best way you’ve discovered to help your students while at home. Send your contact information to sophiedingle11@gmail.com and you could be featured as one of Steamboat Pilot & Today’s Homeschool Heroes.


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