What terribly scary times we have found ourselves in suddenly. With Covid-19 racing around the planet and taking too many lives in its trail, the government decision had to be made to close our schools. With our busy lives disrupted and our beloved off-spring at home, we have found ourselves in new territories, or should I say terror-ies: Home-Schooling. I am a firm believer of the “You should do what you are good at and definitely leave the rest to somebody that is better or quicker at it than you, unless you REALLY like doing it” movement. And Home-Schooling never really came close to the genuine respect I hold for the teachers that guide my boys through their school career so extremely well.
I can’t take credit for what I am going to share now and I don’t know who the source was (I will update this when I find out). This was posted by a fellow-mum and I found it incredibly helpful in this time where we are suddenly thrown into the home-schooling thing, while also trying to do some work and all the chores that need doing at the same time.
This is long but a great read for everyone who’s never homeschooled before...
So many homeschooling myths are about to be busted. See, we don't re-create school at home and you don't have to either. You don't need a schedule, you don't need to track their day and make sure they got their learning in. You don't need to hover over them and act as their teacher, especially now.
What they need right now is their mom and their dad. No matter their age, our kids are nervous and looking to us for leadership and calm. You might be tempted to think it's important to keep some semblance of routine by re-creating school at home. I'm going to challenge that by saying that they (we all!) just need some space to de-compress a little bit. Nothing is normal right now and pretending that it is won't build their trust and confidence. Give them some space. The learning will continue to happen and in ways that you are unlikely to expect. If you want an idea of what your day with your kids at home can look like, here's ours:
Wake up when you're rested
Eat when you're hungry
Play as much and as often as you can
Sleep when you're tired
Wash your hands often
If you want to work on the assignments your school has provided, lightly suggest it. "Hey, how about when you're finished with your sandwich, we take a look at your history project?" And then let them at it or work on it together.
Don't expect the school bits to take hours and hours. A lot of time spent in school is classroom management. Individual learning is very efficient so let it be quick and easy.
This is a worrisome time and we can provide some necessary lightness. If you want to support your child's continued learning and health, the best thing you can do for them is to remove stress.
Kids learn best when they are relaxed and having fun and when the topic is meaningful to them. Create that environment. Be the mom who is light-hearted and helpful. Schedules and nagging are going to get old really fast, for you included. Treat this like a summer vacation, minus all the camps and outings. Take off the pressure and the expectations and just let them be for a little while. Look for the best and go with the flow. It's going to be challenging without the ability to rush around to activities and attractions like we typically do. But use this as an opportunity to slow down and connect with your kids. We're always saying we wish we had more time- well, here we go.
Dump out the Legos and build with them. Let them connect with their friends via texting, social media, FaceTime and online gaming. Go on nature walks and photo walks and beach walks. Play chess and Uno and monopoly. Bake together and drop it off at a neighbor's doorstep. Pull out a puzzle and leave it on the kitchen table until its complete. Use YouTube to learn something new and fun. There are tons of science experiments and music tutorials and language lessons. Literally, anything you want to learn can be found with a quick YouTube or google search so let them have at it. It's a really fun way to spend time and so many rabbit holes will appear to keep them busy for hours. You will be surprised by how a simple video about art can lead to math to science to literature to history. Let it be easy. Let it be fun. Be open to exploring new ways in this new time we are living in. Embrace the technology- it's our kids' future whether we want it to be or not.
Watch movies and TV, play video games and card games and board games, read books aloud, play MadLibs and laugh a lot, write a letter, pull out some craft supplies, take warm baths, have a dance party, play dress- up, clean the closet together, play or make music- you know, all the things you wish you had time to do with your kids while they're still kids. There is a lot of learning lurking in all of those things.
Not every day is going to be sunshine and roses but don't expect it to be. Just be present and understanding; have patience and be positive. Let go of the things that don't really matter. This is temporary. If you approach it with the right mindset, you just might look back on it as a time that you and your kids got to know each other better. You may come out of this feeling a lot more relaxed about how much they can learn without pressure and timelines.
I know this isn't what you wanted and that it's making life extra right now. But it's where we are so let's try to create homes that are relaxed fun places to be amidst the chaos outside. That will serve our kids well.
I can only add Stay Sane and Stay Safe… Enjoy this given time with your (not so) little one and have a fantastic Mother’s Day.