Is crisis too strong a word? Maybe. But I can tell you I’ve never seen the world this upside down. And I’ve certainly never parented through anything like this.
We are homeschoolers, and my husband always works from home. So in many ways, my day-to-day life hasn’t really changed as a result of Covid-19. We’re all still home all day every day, living and learning and working together. But I realize that for many people out there, this lifestyle is a little overwhelming. Especially when it’s being thrust upon you.
I want to offer some words of encouragement and support, and a little advice for those who are suddenly homeschooling during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
My advice is different than it would be if you were entering into this after many months of contemplation and planning and if you were planning to do it longterm. That’s not what’s happening. This is a crisis, and it is temporary, and the rules are different.
Get some sleep. And let your kids sleep.
Seriously. Most of us are still lagging a little from the time change. Let everyone sleep in. Sleep boosts your immune system. Sleep reduces the effects of stress. And the more hours you and your kids sleep, the fewer hours you have to fill with entertainment and fighting sibling squabbles.
Take a few days to recalibrate, and then create a new routine.
Not a schedule. A routine. Have breakfast together, do some learning together (more on that in a minute), take a walk together, have lunch. In the afternoon, take naps, play games, do crafts, watch a movie, bake, have a tea party, read books, listen to audiobooks, have quiet time.
Create strict rules around technology. Seek connection, not isolation
Figure out what works for your family and stick to it. Around here, there are no screens from 10 am to 4 pm unless it’s for a learning activity or family entertainment. The kids will test this. “Mom, can I use the computer to write a story?” And then they’re watching meme videos on Youtube. You have to stay on top of it. We’re all looking for distraction right now. You will have to be a leader in your family. Put down your phone and break out a board game. You finally have the time.
Don’t fight about school. This is a time to love on your kids.
One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the ability to flex with what life throws at us. Life is throwing something really crazy at us right now. If your kid’s school is doing distance learning of some sort, help your kid through it as you would through homework. Set a time and a place to work on it. But if it leads to tears, set it aside. Everyone is going through this craziness right now, and love is more important than long division.
Let your kids play and explore.
If your kids are happily engaged in playing with each other or working on a personal project of some sort or even just laying outside staring at the sky – leave them alone! Do not try to redirect them to some “more productive” pursuit. Save that for when they’re bored. If you keep them off of screens, they will eventually find something to busy themselves with.
This is the great secret of homeschooling. When you stop programming every minute of a child’s day and you take away the easy stimulation of screens, they start doing amazing things on their own. It might take a while, but probably not as long as you think.
This is already long, so I’m going to stop here. This will get you through this week. But I’m going to write another post filled with a million wonderful learning ideas for this time. In the meantime, peace to you and yours.