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Mama, I see you; stuck inside with your school-aged children, due to the quarantine, and expected to teach them. Not only are they resistant to the idea of social-distancing and are also begging you to go back to school. You are struggling to find a rhythm and productivity seems to be at an all-time low. I see you and let me tell you, it’s okay!
With the indefinite shutdown of schools due to COVID-19, many parents are wondering how to get through these upcoming weeks and months. As a homeschooling mama, I know this situation is overwhelming but thankfully I have 10 steps for you to take to make this transition as seamless as possible.
Speak positivity and encouragement
As frustrating as this time may be, remember we are talking to and talking about children. They are just as confused and anxious and nervous as you are. They may be scared based on things they have heard at school or things their friends have said. It’s possible they are overwhelmed with the thought of doing school work at home or nervous about not having their favorite teacher with them throughout the day.
Words are so powerful. SO POWERFUL! Although this time isn’t ideal, our children don’t need to know that. Use this opportunity to build up their confidence. Speak light and wisdom into them. Tell them how proud you are of their hard work and diligence. Make sure they know that doing the hard thing pays off in the end. Be their #1 fan during this difficult time. They need you more than you know.
It’s stressful and hectic and inconvenient but, mama, I’m begging you; be patient and show grace. Breathe. It will be okay. You will get through this.
Routine is key
We all know the importance of routine throughout infancy and toddler years. Everything from breakfast to bedtime; life is easier and less stressful with a solid routine. Homeschooling is no different! Children thrive off predictability and while it may take a little time to find a schedule that works for your family, once you do, I promise teaching your kids at home will be so much easier.
A few things to consider are: What time of day would you like to designate to school work? Are there any doctor appointments or activities during the upcoming week that will interfere with schooling? Is there a way to bring work with you to these appointments? Don’t forget to schedule time for lunch and stretch breaks.
In my house, our routine is crucial to our success, and I have found this planner to be extremely helpful and crutial to our success. I’ve tried to steer away from it and go with “cuter” options, but I always end up coming back to this one because of its helpful layout and ease of use. The outer binders are a bit pricey, but I promise, it’s completely worth the investment.
Set up a designated work space
I have a secret for you, mama. Come in close. Children thrive off routine.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it over and over, again. To be successful, I strongly recommend designating a school space in your home. It can be a space as simple as the dining room table but if you have considered creating a homeschool space, I recommend this table and these chairs*. *Remember, my kids are five-years-old and three-years-old so pay attention to the size of the chairs when purchasing. These are great for younger children.
In our house, we don’t turn on electronics, such as televisions or iPads, until after school work is finished (with the exception of the device and videos my kids use for school). This limits distractions, as well as — if I’m being honest — gives me an opportunity to use one of these devices as an incentive for good behavior. They key here is, yet again, routine. If you plan to keep the tv off, then keep it off consistently. I tell my son quite often that if he is diligent with his work, he can earn an hour of educational television time. Since we are consistent with this routine and we hardly watch tv in our house, this special treat works quite well to motivate him.
A common situation is having kids of a few children of varying ages and education levels. For example; if you have a ten-year-old who requires a six-hour work day and a five-year-old who requires a two-hour school day, the younger sibling could become a distraction. I always like to have a few worksheets or coloring pages for my younger learner to complete while my older is finishing up his work. This curriculum is what I am using with my three-year-old to keep her busy while my 1st Grader completes his work.
Another way to keep the house quieter and more peaceful is to softly play music in the background. Our favorites are worship music, acoustic coffeehouse music, and Vivaldi.
Utilize online learning resources
Most students may be learning online via their school’s online program, but let us not forget there are still some amazing online resources available to help expand a child’s learning and to introduce them to new topic and subjects. Khan Academy and Easy Peasy are two of our favorites!
See my blog post: 25 Free Educational Resources for Children.
Remember you’re schooling at home
Are your kids getting restless?
Let them run around outside for 10 minutes to let out some energy.
Are your kids whining?
Offer a lesson filled with creative play. Play-Doh, finger paints, or puzzles.
Are your kids refusing to do their work?
Offer a hug and a snack. It’s amazing what the two can do!
Are your kids struggling without their teacher?
Speak encouragement and positivity to them.
Think outside the box, mama. I promise it will pay off!
Recognize no two children learn the same
Our kids are so special and so unique and so are their learning styles. For example, my son learns so well visually. He can watch an instructional video once and replicate the instructions, exactly, days later. My daughter, on the other hand, is a hands-on learner. She learns best with textiles and activities. No two kids learn the same and we need to make sure we acknowledge that.
During these challenging and crazy homeschooling days, I challenge you to study your kids. Try out different learning styles and techniques with them and see how they learn the best. Do they thrive on memorization? Do they need to write the problem out to remember it? Challenge yourself to get to know them better, and challenge them with experimenting with different learning styles. What we can learn from our kids is amazing!
Incorporate physical activity
Although we may not be able to send our children to the playground or park at this time, there are still several ways in which we can have our kids release some energy. Let’s be real; no kid wants to sit at a desk or table all day and no kid should be expected to.
If you have a backyard, grab a ball and throw it around with them. Do an in-home workout. Get your kid on his/her bike and let them ride around. Practice yoga with your child. There are several ways you can incorporate physical activity into your day without leaving the comfort of your home.
Get into the great outdoors
Something as simple as going outside with your child can open up doors to unlimited possibilities. You can discuss art (think colors of flowers, plants, grass, etc.), you can discuss science (geology, astronomy, etc.), you can discuss seasons and types of foliage. The point is, mama, there are so many lessons to be learned just by stepping out into your backyard.
Embrace family time
During this time of social-distancing, the absolute most important thing we can do is to embrace our time together. Let our children know we are here for them, we love them, and we are in this together. Play games or piece together puzzles; read books and draw, color, or paint together. Go on walks and explore the outdoors with them. Reassure them that though things may be different right now, everything will be okay and that we are happy to be spending this extra time with them.
I know you are stressed but with these few steps, the entire homeschooling process will be much smoother, I promise. And remember, mama; breathe. It will be okay. You will get through this!