I truly hope that the millions of people forced into helping their children learn at home right now don’t think this is normal homeschooling. It’s so far from it! Homeschoolers are generally out in the community for learning and to be with each other. Some homeschoolers do choose to learn on line, but most of us create lesson plans or follow something so that we are homeschooling for up to 4 hours a day and on to the rest of our lives after that. Some of us do work around homeschooling, but this is something that is planned, and we aren’t thrown into it. So needless to say, pandemic homeschooling can be so stressful!
However, I do think there are five things you can learn from your veteran homeschooling friends (besides how to hide in the closet with the secret chocolate stash). Hopefully these will help you as now most states are finishing out the school year at home, many with shelter in place orders:
- Get dressed. Yes, you can homeschool in your pajamas and we frequently do in the winter, but trying to set a new rhythm for learning at home sometimes can seem more serious and worthy if everyone is up and dressed.
- Figure out how to get movement into your school day. Many of the schools are on-line at this point, including some with live classes running all day. That’s a lot of sitting and can be a lot of eye strain! So starting the day with a walk, taking breaks between classes, moving a laptop or tablet from room to room for different classes or even outside can all be helpful. You can also plan movement breaks after school. Some people have large yards or land, which is great, but some of us are sheltered in apartments or have a small yard. You can try Cosmic Kids Yoga online, lead a game of tag or sardines or a dance party or a pillow fight.
- Plan your work day around when your children need you most. If you have small children, they are going to need more help than a high schooler. You can adjust your work day by working earlier or later, switching with your partner if you have a partner in the home, or just planning work and school increments. Veteran homeschoolers are often working with multiple children coming at them with varying questions and projects along with all the household chores. Folding laundry and doing math problems together, for example, is common. Veteran homeschoolers are used to interruptions and rolling with it, and you can do that with all household things but not so easy with online meetings and online work – so try to plan the best you can in increments to alternate meetings/work and schoolwork and helping your children. Increments are okay, things will get done!
- Put your children in charge of doing things around the house. Everything cannot be on one adult trying to work and direct learning from home. Everyone needs to pitch in for laundry, meals, and nourishing care of the home. Try a crockpot or instapot to cut down on some of the meal preparation time.
- Pull out toys and things to do so your children find something to do when they are waiting for you to check their schoolwork or to help them. Learning how to wait is something that traditionally homeschooled children have to learn as well. You can rotate small boxes of toys and pull thing out so something new and fresh is out every few days. Invest in some art supplies, crafts, puzzles, yard toys, or things for inside your apartment for movement as it will help save your sanity in the long run.
Last of all, have as much fun as you can. These times are hard and uncertain, but it’s a gift to be with our children and safe if we are able (I know not everyone is able, and some parents come home to being on quarantine due to their high risk jobs). Give yourself some slack, and know you are doing the very best you can do right now in this moment.