Many of us have suddenly been thrust in the unenviable position of homeschooling our school-going kids while we self-isolate due to Covid-19. With schools and all after-school programs closed, and no playdates or social outings possible- we are all struggling with how to provide a routine for the kids that keeps them mentally stimulated and away from 8 hours of screens.
Our Initial Plan Didn't Work
On the first day of no-school, my husband and I thought we'd be super chill and let the kids self-regulate. And it was a DISASTER. The kids were cranky. My husband and I were overwhelmed and exhausted. And no one had a good day.
Keep the Goal in Mind
So we recalibrated. Our kids thrive within a structured environment so we created a schedule for them. They love learning so we reorganized their playroom to create a space where they could spend part of the day learning. We consulted with their teachers on what activities would be the most appropriate and created a schedule based on those.
Not only are the learning activities familiar and comforting, but it will also help keep them moving forward with their education as we hunker down and get through the disruptions caused by this pandemic.
We tried to keep the structure of the day pretty simple. We broke down their learning activities into 4 categories and adjusted the activities based on their grade level:
We also made sure to incorporate breaks into the schedule so they get a chance to move and be physically active. If you'd like to grab the schedule we created, you can download it by filling out the form below.
Advice on Managing the Schedule
And finally, I just want to share some thoughts behind how we're approaching this schedule:
1- The space matters. Set the kids up for success by converting a specific space in your home that can be designated as their learning corner. It doesn't have to be a massive space but it should have comfortable seating, some school supplies and a way to organize the kids' activities that is easily accessible for them.
2- We're trying to stay flexible. This schedule is not something we live by but a general outline of how we're going to spend the day. Everyone's feelings exhausted= later start in the day; kids not getting along = maybe different activities that require them to be in different parts of the house; you get the gist.
3- Make sure you're incorporating outside time. Whether it's going for a walk, or playing basketball on the driveway or racing each other in the backyard, give your kids some fresh air and burn off that physical energy.
4- Let them have social interaction. We're setting up Facetime playdates and zoom group chats with their friends so they continue building their relationships with their peers. Social isolation can be scary for kids. Having access to their friends is going to help them feel closer to normal.
5- We are incorporating everyday home life into their learning. Baking bread can be part of a discovery project for A where he can go back and learn about what yeast it and how it works. Folding laundry can be part of creative work for Z where he picks out all the shapes that are present in his clothes.
6- Give yourself some grace- for most of us moms who have been thrust into the homeschooling experience, these next few weeks are going to be challenging. Be kind to yourself. Make sure you're giving yourself lots of rest and space. Encourage your kids to be independent so you are getting pockets of time to yourself. Need a guide for Pandemic life? You can grab it right here!
I hope you found this helpful. I'll be working to create more content around how I'm managing my kids while also keeping up with my business.
Let me know how you and your family are creating structure in your days!