Raise your hand if this new need for homeschooling has been as much of a lesson for you as it has been your kids! I can’t see you but, if your hand isn’t raised and you’ve been homeschooling this week, you’re probably lying (unless you were already doing it and then you may be laughing at the rest of us).
I started out last week with what I knew was going to be my first shot at a homeschool schedule. Feel free to check out our original COVID-19 Home School Schedule. It worked pretty well, but we’ve made revisions along the way to make it work more for our family’s needs. Here’s what we’ve got now. Feel free to download the excel version of our Weekday Schedule during COVID-19 Pandemic 2020_Revision 1.
A few of the main changes that we made after a week of working from home and having four kids to educate, entertain, and keep from killing each other included:
- Not everyone is always going to be able to do the same thing at the same time.
- I can’t read to littles and help Anna with a math word problem at the same time.
- Flexibility and plenty of options for what to do when is key for us.
- The littles still thrive on a more formal schedule. Clara especially. She’s the kid that wants to know what is next and Kate helps keep me in line.
- The schedule must be flexible. The things planned must be flexible. Who knows when one of them is going to decide to have a meltdown that takes away 15 minutes in the middle of the art project???
- Nap time is necessary- not just for the littles but also for us adults to have some time that we aren’t constantly bombarded with “I need to go potty,” “Mommmmmmmmy,” or “She took my barbie!” While they nap, I basically give the bigs free time, as long as it won’t disturb the littles.
- We altered the way we work.
- Initially, we were going to do an hour and a half each for work and then switch with kid duty. We quickly realized that wouldn’t work.
- We changed to half day shifts. We still have to check emails, answer phone calls, and get on conference calls during our time with the kids but at least we have a good 3-4 hours where we can focus just on projects that we need to.
- Almost every early morning or evening we still have some work that doesn’t fit into those 3-4 hours and we get that done after the craziness subsides.
- The good thing is that most people are going through the same thing and understand when there’s a preschool screaming that someone took the pink marker.
- Embrace technology.
- I fought doing too much of this because I hate the idea of the kids having to be on the computer or iPad all day. But guess what? They like it and it gives me a much needed breather throughout the day. That still isn’t our primary means of learning but it sure is a nice resource.
- Here’s some of the best things we’ve done on electronics for education so far:
- Scholastic Learn at Home
- Zoom with our classes
- Use You Tube for reading books that are on your kids’ reading list but you might not have
- The internet is full of tutorials for art projects and science experiments. The challenge there is whether you have everything it asks for.
- Videos from our Mammy and their teachers of reading books
- Imagine Math
- Prodigy- the bigs LOVE this one
- FaceTime with their friends to keep in touch
- Use Google Classroom for assignments and to write letters/emails to friend and also make presentations.
- One of our biggest challenges is sharing the electronics- our kids don’t all have their own laptops and/or tablets or phones so we’ve been sharing. It hasn’t been too hard but we may end up pulling out old laptops that we’ve been too lazy to ever recycle.
- I’d love to hear what your favorite things you’ve done with technology are!
- We have started saving cardboard boxes- they make great art project starters and kids can find a million ways to be creative with them. If nothing else, read one of my favorite children’s books, Not a Box. Cereal boxes are super great to use too and easier to cut.
- Cooking and eating every meal at home is taking a lot of food
- I’m feeling pretty good about the fact that the kids are about to run out of junk food snacks.
- The good thing about all this home cooking is that I’m able to include them in the meals as part of their learning.
- It also provides some element of entertainment.
- We always keep staples at our house- that’s just the way I operate with a family of six to feed. However, getting things like milk and eggs that we go through a LOT of has been a challenge. I’m really hoping eventually things will level out.
- The kids are spending a LOT of time outside and we are so very glad that we have the big back yard now. It’s rained a lot but, even on rain days, we’ve just put their rain boots on and gone out in it. This has been one of the best things about having to stay home. Now if we can keep one of them from breaking a bone on a bike or trampoline, we will be good to go!
It hasn’t been ALL sunshine and rainbows…. There’s definitely been lots of that but it’s also been combined with a few good ol’ preschool meltdowns and even a moment I had to lock myself in my bathroom for a few minutes to get away from everyone. Overall, it’s been a good week though.
Today has been a good time for us all to take a deep breath and enjoy some downtime. I hope its been the same for you! Tomorrow I’ll be working on planning out the following week so stay tuned.