5 Tips on Homeschooling
Updated: Mar 26, 2020
I keep reading all these articles about how, as parents we have what it takes to make homeschooling our temporary new reality because we were our children's first teachers. What these articles fail to point out is that for us working parents we had to hand them over to a child care provider at 12 weeks old (if we were lucky enough to have that much time off). Any teaching we did was rushed weeknight dinners, weekends of errands and chores, some potty training and story time. There is also the fact that for a lot of us teaching is a very unnatural feeling and we haven't spent this much face to face time with anyone in our families......maybe ever!
So that is the total panic talking. Like everyone who has had their entire life turned upside down this past week, ours is no different. As someone who is self employed and a children's book author any income I had came to a screeching halt, but this article is not about that. This is about my new sole focus on nailing this homeschool thing. I mean if I can't focus all my energy and research powers on my clients and my books I'm gonna rock at being a homeschool teacher. That was my thinking on night one!
Here's 5 tips on how we have survived the first week:
1. Create a homeschool space!
I spent a couple hours that first Sunday night clicking between lessons, free printables and pictures of home classrooms. Our youngest attends a Montessori school. Since that is the method he knows, I frantically started scouring Pinterest for help. I knew I couldn't duplicate the Instagram perfect photos I had seen, but I had a plan for the first day! I would work with both boys to create the space together! Supermom right off the bat!
Monday morning everyone had jobs! The oldest used scrap wood in the garage to build a dual purpose shelving unit/workbench while the youngest scrubbed the wood and swept up the sawdust.
His playroom conversion came together quick. I gathered baskets, bowls, books, old crafting materials, football guys, dinosaurs, play dough, and was able to create projects that had to do with math, science, counting, sorting, reading, writing and practical life skills. We walked to a local little library and grabbed all sorts of books on animals, reptiles, geography and space.
2. Schedule your days
Create a visual realistic schedule so everyone knows what is coming next. Since our normal routine is over for the foreseeable future prepping each days schedule allows for conversation and known expectations. I used Hustle and Homeschool's visual schedule cards. Sign up for her emails and receive them free! When I say prepping it is literally swapping these cards around to mix things up.
The project of cutting, gluing, discussing their meaning and actually hanging them up was a great shared project. Flexibility is key but having this resource has been very cool and a great way to engage.
3. Go outside!
The schedule cards include nature study, sports, playground, mountains, bike ride so swap them around and get outside! I have become a Weather Chanel app stalker to see exactly when rain is headed our way to make sure we are getting ample outside time. The list below is just another fun resource when you get stuck!
4. Take you time!
Seriously. There is no playbook for what we are all going through. If you can get away go for a walk, take 30 minutes to read, meditate, yoga, watch HGTV or whatever it is you need to do. Of course walking or exercise will help reset your mind the best! For me I disappear with the dog every day for 45 minutes! Could be 6am or 12pm but I make it a point to abandon ship and arrive back home more at peace.
5. Cook, Bake and Eat Together
This comes from the Montessori teaching that the little people should participate in everything the adults do as part of their practical life learning. We have been living this for all 3 meals this week and it has been a joy! I have been taught the lunch song and learned about how things work at their schools. They help with the dishes and we actually talk. Dinners don't feel rushed and we have even baked cookies this week. (As a family we love kids cooking shows on Food Network. Don't judge that those are Play Dough cutters because I don't normally bake)!
There are going to be good days and bad days. Don't be hard on yourself. Role with the punches! If we are healthy and with the ones we love the most in the world this too shall pass and hopefully we come out of it with a new appreciation of life and how special this time with our children truly is.