First and foremost, I just want to start by saying, you’re doing a great job. Now, take a deep breath and tell yourself that. This is a weird, and scary time for all of us, but we can get through this. You got this. OK, ready to homeschool your kid(s)?
This isn’t the first time schools have shut down amid an emergency, but it certainly has been a while. I’ve seen so many parents stressed, trying to figure out what to do, many not prepared to homeschool their child for obvious reasons. Most schools just closed with 24 hours, some schools aren’t even offering any schooling curriculum. This all escalated and happened so fast for all of us. I can’t even imagine being a school administrator or a teacher right now, trying to navigate through all this. So many even unable to send home anything for the kids to do (due to the urgency of how quickly things have happened).
Many of you, I know, are also trying to figure out working your own jobs around schooling your child. We’re all full of fear, frustration, exhaustion and trying to move around these new boundaries.
Homeschooling is not easy
I’m not going to sugar coat it, and for you out there that are trying to work while you homeschool, I feel you. I started this blog while homeschooling my 2 oldest, then came 3 more, a new Etsy Shop, and well, needless to say my “exceptional” organization skills pretty much went out the window. I eventually had to send the 2 oldest back to school (mainly, because I worried about what I could offer once high school came). But I do still homeschool 2 of my 3 (one is currently under 1), and intend to until 3rd grade.
If you’re able to work from home with your kids, first let’s stop and think of the amazing gift you have. Some are home with their kids, but have no work right now, which means no income. I know that working with kids in tow is difficult, but on the silver lining, you’re still working.
Eventually, you will find a groove and everything comes together… well mostly (kind of like a homemade pizza your toddler helped you make. It looks a little sloppy, but still tastes AMAZING).
I wanted to share a few things that have helped me
Even now, as of my 2 youngest are hitting toddler stage. I have started homeschooling my 2 oldest about 6 years ago (yes, I have 5 kids). About 3 years ago, my husband and I decided to send them to the local Catholic School. We wanted them to begin expierencing working others in a different setting a learning that each place has different rules. I do have 2 more I currently homeschool, so even now, I still use these tips.
Trust me when I say that this is not out of my realm. Having 3 kids to take care of all day at home and run around for 2 others while running a handmade business and this blog can be crazy. I also know many of you are tired, and are stressed about it (which is completely understandable).
Any who, here are a few things I do to help you through the homeschool & work week.
These are some basic tips that will hopefully help you. If you just want some go to links for worksheets and activities I share that here. There’s only 4, but I’m a firm believer in simplicity. I never want to overwhelm myself or you.
Scheduling is key. When you have older kids, it’s easier. Teenagers for the most part should have a handle on what they need to do. But I still encourage a schedule. It’ll help you too, with getting work done. Maybe have a google calendar that shows everyone what’s going on for the day. If you have younger kids I really encourage you to print your google calendar. It helps them, if they can see what the schedule is. You can also print this Class Schedule OR Daily Schedule OR a Daily Checklist for each person in the house (if you don’t have a printer writing it on paper or a basic calendar also works. I am not, however, encouraging you to go out and buy any of this at this time. We are currently suppose to be social distancing so don’t go out unless you really need to). Daily is best, but I would recommend no more than show a weeks worth. At this point we don’t really know how long this will go and to be honest, most kids don’t look past a week. If you notice, in school they really try not to show more then a weeks worth of schedules to students (unless there is a big project they work on for a month and need to know the due date.
Consistency. This goes with scheduling. When you have a schedule, but don’t following it, what was the point? I’m not saying that there might be changes here and there. Maybe you realized that play time is right during a video meeting you have and you need to change it to reading time or nap time. What I am saying is work with your family and find a good schedule you can keep (for the most part) during the work day. It also helps so everyone knows, “Mom has a Phone Conference at 2PM you CAN NOT yell or be loud at that time”.
Work Stations/Offices. This is key. In order for this to work , everyone needs to understand where work is done, where play is OK and what the rules are. My husband has been able to work from home for the past 5 years and is almost always on the phone for his job. Currently, his office is in an area in our bedroom that is his dedicated “office”. When it’s 6AM everyone knows this means he is on the phone and NO ONE can come in and there is no loud play or yelling until lunch time and after work at 4PM (or later). During the day, our dining room becomes the classroom. My younger kids know that when homework (or during these days, school work) is going on, that means it’s it’s not time for tv or asking their older siblings a bunch of questions. I try to find them school work to do so they don’t feel so bored (Teachers Pay Teachers is a good resource). PBS Kids is a good one during your screen time (although to be honest, with this chaos going on, screen time has gone out the window). Khan Academy is another good one to keep them busy. It’s an app that goes on their tablets (or phones). It’s completely free and does fun age appropriate activities that are completely learning based. I also try to take advantage of the this time and do some of my work as well. Something that I can break away from when they need me to stop and help.
Breathe. I know this seems over whelming, but you will get through this. It’s not perfect, but it will be ok. Nothing is static. And if they don’t get it all done in a day, then maybe cut back on the amount. It might be too much for them. If it is already assigned work from their teacher, contact the teacher right away to let them know and see what they suggest to help the student move along. If they get done quickly, that’s ok (as long as you see there is some challenge there). My homeschool curriculum actually doesn’t take the whole day, in fact it only takes a few hours, but they are still getting everything they need. My oldest kids said other than getting used to moving around from class to class and the allotted time per class (because they basically took as long as they need in each class with me). They felt very prepared for school when going from homeschool a to brick and mortar.
Review. At the end of the week, I go over with the family what went well, what didn’t and what the schedule is for next week. If you wait until Monday, you will feel overwhelmed, rushed, stressed out and really won’t get much done. Take it slow and week by week. The whole goal here is to help educate your kids and still be able to work during these times. Those of us able to stay home have a blessing in disguise as well. An opportunity to be with our family more. Let’s use this time to get closer to our families and be there for each other in a positive way.
Here are those free Printables Again Just in case.
You don’t need to sign up for anything to get these either. I want you to be able to get yourselves going as quickly as possible. Homeschool can be difficult, but it can also be so rewarding.
with a grateful heart,