Monday night I found myself feeling pretty down and unsure how to move forward in this new normal. We have three children, ages 6, 4 and 2 and all of a sudden I have become a homeschool parent. My story is not unique. Everyone has now found themselves in completely uncharted waters, working from home while trying to manage a household, or still going to work while kids are at home on their own. I want to speak into this unusual place we find ourselves.
First off, it’s not forever! But it is for now, so we need to make a plan and embrace this reality.
Secondly, let me share what I have gathered over the last couple of days that can hopefully help you in your adventures in homeschooling!
Make a Schedule. There are several ways to do this, depending on the age and temperament of your kids as well as your own capabilities. I know I am most fresh in the morning and my children are most enthusiastic in the mornings, so that’s when we do our school work. I’ll give a simplified version of the schedule we are following so you can use and manipulate it as needed.
- 7:00 Breakfast and quiet time
- 9:00 Get dressed, circle time (day of the week, weather, ABCs, Read Bible story, Read Aloud book)
- 9:30 Language Arts/ Reading/ Writing (practice letters, read otter books, Lang. Arts homework, write in journals)
- 10:30 Math (do math worksheets, counting with younger kids, writing numbers)
- 11:00 Lunch
- 1:00 Special Activity (Art, Library, Gym, Music, Theater, Science)
- 2:00 Play outside (hike, sidewalk chalk, ride bikes, etc.)
- 3:00 Games (board games, cards, ipad, leap pad)
- 4:00 Free Time
- 5:30 Dinner
- 6:30 PJs , brush teeth, show, books, bed
I have a more simplified version of this for the kids, but I have noticed they like having a schedule and knowing what comes next. Make a schedule that works for your crew and put it where they can see it!
- Have a Designated Work Area. Our dining room table is our classroom. Each kid has a bin with his or her name on it with schoolwork inside. I have school supplies out and ready to be used. This way I don’t have to drag out a million things or search for their pages every morning.
- Be Consistent. This is not my strong point, but I do think there is a lot to be said for being consistent with kids (and myself). Also, if you try a certain schedule for a few days and it is not working then reevaluate and try something new! This morning after our normal schoolwork time I tried the Real-World Workshop and it was so fun! I had some things I needed to get done so giving the kids all of their work up front and letting them do it at their own pace made my life a lot easier. This schedule is ideal for older kids. My 6-year-old finished all his work and chores in about an hour when I showed him the chart.
- Be Patient. This is new and different for most of us, so being patient with yourself, your spouse and your kids is imperative.
- Make it Fun. Turn off the news and turn on some music! This is the time to have fun with your kids! You don’t have to just do worksheets when doing school either. Make it an enjoyable experience. Go for a hike for science. Count jelly beans for math. If you don’t feel you can get creative with lessons, check out other resources. There are so many fun activities you can do for school with kids. I listed some awesome resources below. We also created a family bucket list to give us some fun things to look forward to.
- Make it Memorable. Think of this as bonus time with your kids and embrace it for the gift that it is. We’re going to get impatient and feel stressed at times, but I find if I set my expectations to memory making rather than vacation mode or production mode, I feel better at the end of the day. I want to look at their faces and see them, so I’m trying to be present instead of numbing out on Twitter or news. Try to keep a journal of this time, writing about the things you experience together as a family. Have your kids keep journals of their own incorporating pictures and other memorabilia from your home-bound experience.
- Take Care of Yourself. I make it a priority to not only teach the kids but also take care of myself. Running outside helps me stay sane and gives me a little time away. Do what you can to stay above water emotionally and physically. Go to bed early, drink more water, eat decent meals, and take some time to exercise each day. There are many free ways to work out within your home (Youtube videos, stairs, and traditional workout moves).
- When All Else Fails. I consulted my sweet friend who homeschools her kids. Her advice to me: Stick to your schedule, but if everything falls apart just sit down and read a book together.
We’re praying for you as you take the time to embrace the very important and somewhat daunting task of homeschooling your children. These resources are not all encompassing but have been a blessing to our family and we would like to pass them on to you. Also, we would love your feedback– what has or hasn’t worked for you in the last couple of days? Let us know!
- Real-World Workshop Youtube- Kid Whisperer
- “Learning Resource Hub” Facebook Group
- Khan Academy
- Homeschool Friends
- Workbooks from Walmart
- Printable Worksheets
- Scholastics Website
Mom of three and wife of Pastor Josh