So, we are in the midst of an international crisis. A pandemic. We have all been asked to stay home, as much as possible. Schools, even universities, have moved to online classes. Things are changing quickly. Emotions are high, toilet paper is scarce, and we can’t even gather to support each other.
Curve ball! You will be home with all your kids, wearing all the hats. You can do this, Momma!! But the day is long. Even online school just doesn’t fill an entire day!
I’m here to help! As a former public and private school educator, and Momma to 1,000 kids whom I homeschooled for 100 years, I thought I would share some tips and homeschool resources for what worked in our home. It’s hard, y’all, but worth it!
First, BREATHE! We are likely in this for several weeks. But, it’s precious, precious time. These weeks together can be such a gift to your family! I pray each of us will be able to strengthen the fabrics of our families and tie our hearts together. To learn to know each other, see and hear each other, and treasure each other more. Lord, grant us patience and grace!
In my experience, it will be best to implement a schedule right away, starting tomorrow. This is not true homeschooling, it’s crisis schooling! Without a firm structure in place, your home may fall sway to chaos. I have some initial thoughts below, and will provide links and resources, as well as past schedules we used when my kids were young, in separate posts.
In your daily routine for ages 3+, include designated time for:
Reading Comprehension Activities
Your kids need to be reading. Obviously. You know this. But, in order to build reading comprehension (and relieve a lot of family stress!), be sure to include both independent reading and family read-alouds. Listening to a story that is above their reading level prepares your child’s brain for more complex plots, characters and vocabulary. This is especially important if your kids do not enjoy reading!
Math & Logic Building Activities
These can include games, building, puzzles, cooking, even whodunit stories! Use anything you have lying around to work on number concepts (what does 5 mean), addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and greater than/less than. Don’t forget to work on money and telling time!
You might include books on bugs, space, leopards, Malaysia, roller coasters, and so much more, which you already have at home, can be used in a deeper way! Just expand a bit and add a little teaching of the concept to the story. Plus, Google is full of fun/”cool” experiments using common household items. So fun!
History and Social Studies Activities
This is very broad and encompasses everything from the roles of community helpers like firemen and policemen to NASA or psychology or criminal justice). Try geocaching close to home, or find local historical markers and learn about the history of your community (but don’t touch anything!)
Memory Building Activities
With fewer obligations competing for your time, this a great time to build memory, a key cognitive skill which is more and more underutilized as we let our phones remember for us! Bible verses, poetry, great speeches and deep thoughts from past leaders are a great place to start!
Learn to play an instrument, if you have some lying around gathering dust. If not, learn to sing, watch an opera, or listen to a symphony. Learn a fun folk song or a powerful hymn.
Exercise and Physical Activities
If you can get outside and spend some time in nature, do it! If not, exercise indoors! Dust off the treadmill, take an online salsa class, or just run up and down the stairs a few times and do some push-ups! This is so important to keep all of our bodies in shape and to keep moods uplifted.
Listen, there will be a lot of you at home, for 12-15 waking hours, and it will quickly descend into chaos if you let it! It’s not like summer break, where you are in and out with various activities. If you want your home to remain a place of peace and respite in the midst of all the worldwide crazy, you will have to make it happen, Momma! I suggest a 30-minute Daily Deep Clean, plus 2-3 “Zone Zoom” breaks each day, where you all spend just 5 FUN minutes to quickly clean up the area of your home that you have been using. Depending on the ages of your kids, you may all work in one zone, or have separate zones. This is a great time to train them to clean well! 🙂
What skills have you been meaning to teach, but you never had the time? We don’t have that excuse anymore, do we? Hone your kids’ money management skills, like how to create and maintain a budget, balance a checkbook or invest their savings. Teach cooking and baking skills, from grocery list to clean-up. Think outside the box here; do your kids know how to do laundry? Plant a garden? Go on an interview? Clean the ceiling fan?
Spiritual Growth and Self-Care
Each person needs guidance and resources, but this is a great time to learn the history of your faith, grow closer to God, spend time in introspection and prayer, and work to become the best version of yourself. What if each of us came out of this hiatus as a better person? Kinder? Gentler? More loving? What could the world look like?
Self-Care includes REST. Even if your kids have outgrown nap time, they (and you) need time apart, to rest and recharge. I recommend 2 hours per day, in their beds, for rest or silent reading. This is non-negotiable! In addition, keep a strict bedtime routine. Proper sleep is integral to a strong immune system.
Plug-In Time should be scheduled and heavily restricted to avoid a negative impact to your child’s (and your) attention and other cognitive skills. If possible, while still maintaining your sanity, limit to:
Ages 0-3: none if possible
Ages 4-6: 1 hr/day
Ages 7-10: 1.5 hrs/day
Ages 11-15: 2 hrs/day
Ages 16+: 3 hrs/day (this includes you, Mom and Dad!) 🙂
No more complaining we have not time to eat together as a family! Let’s use this time to look at each others’ eyeballs, laugh together, and get to know each others’ hearts. With all that is going on in the world, there is much to discuss, and your kids need a guide to walk through this with them.
This is a new season, a unique adventure into uncharted waters. I pray each of us can embrace this time. These are the moments your kids will talk about when your grandchildren read about 2020 in their history books. I pray we can use this time to lean in, to unite, to equip ourselves and our families. May we each create treasured memories and thank God for this most precious gift: time.
Look for more resources here, and be sure to follow!