My Kids Are Home! Now What?
I know that with the sudden school closures, parents are scrambling to figure out what to do. Some are worried about how to home educate their kids while others are trying to figure out what to do with them while they are at work. You are now an Accidental Homeschooler! Times like this can be confusing, but I want to encourage you with some tips and resources that can help you during these next few weeks.
Let me first introduce myself. My name is Angela Linzay and I am a homeschooling mom of 5 years. I taught in the classroom for 14 years before bringing my 3 kids home (kinder, 3rd grade, 5th grade). I’ve learned a lot while homeschooling and made PLENTY of mistakes along the way. I wanted to share with you some key things that I hope will help you and not overwhelm you.
So take a DEEP BREATH. Exhale.
Let’s get started.
First, I want you to know that YOU.CAN.DO.IT! You CAN!!! You have a community of believers that are here to help and a God who loves you more than you know. We’re going to get through this together. I promise!
But I don’t know how to teach my children. I am NOT a teacher. I don’t know how to do…..
Let me clear the air here. It DOESN’T matter what level of education you have, you CAN homeschool your kiddos! In fact, as parents, isn’t that what we’ve been doing all along? From infancy, we’ve taught our children what things are called, how things work, how to do certain tasks, how to pronounce and say certain words, and so on. When new homeschooling moms come to me, their #1 concern is always that they are NOT teachers and do not have degrees in teaching. Can I tell you something? I was a classroom teacher for many years, I have a graduate degree in education, I create teaching resources, and STILL, I know moms who have NONE of those and RUN CIRCLES AROUND ME in homeschooling their kids. They literally AMAZE and INSPIRE me. When our kids are sick, do we not find ways to help them, find remedies, do research, call our friends and ask for advice? What I’m trying to say is that our love for our kids drives us to just figure it out and get it done. This situation is no different. In fact, you love your kids more than your child’s teacher does (most days 😊 ), so you WILL find ways to educate them, even if that means outsourcing it (hello online learning!).
1. Home educating DOESN’T need to look like “school” at home.
Kids don’t need to sit properly at a desk all day. In fact, we start our day at a table but then my kids know that they have options. They sit on the couch, lay on the rug, they may even do their math outside on a blanket. Did you know that some schools have moved towards flexible seating in their classrooms for years now? They understand that sitting at a desk all day long is just not that comfortable (don’t you agree?). At home, you have the ULTIMATE flexible seating options!
2. Try to stick to a consistent routine
Since the kiddos are used to waking up at a certain time for school, try sticking to a start time that is close to what they are used to. For us, we start a little later because my kiddos love to sleep. We read first (my kids wanted to ease into their school day that way) and then begin our actual schoolwork around 9/9:30am. Whatever your start time is, try to keep it consistent.
3. Be flexible
Wait. You just told me to be consistent??!! Let me explain. One of the goals during this time is that your kids continue learning. Some kids are sent home with packets, books, and resources for them to work on. You can decide if you want them to do it in the morning, or if you are a working parent, you can have them work on it when you get home. I’ve known homeschooling parents who have full-time jobs so they flip flop their day. They work in the daytime and have their kids do school in the afternoons/early evenings when they get home. Remember that everyone’s situation is different. Your school day may look different than another family’s school day and THAT’S OK! You do YOU!
4. Working parents
Enlist a high school/ college student to babysit/tutor. They are also experiencing school closures as well and may want to make the extra money while you get the help you need. Ask around for referrals or for others to keep an ear out for any responsible student who wouldn’t mind making some extra cash during this time. Then spray them down with Lysol before they enter your house. 😊
5. Dive into their interests
Remember when you said/thought, “I wish we had more time for my kids to try ….” Guess what? You now have the opportunity to try these things! You have the ability to tailor some of your child’s learning to their interests, something that traditional schooling doesn’t always have the capacity to do. Download a piano learning app, take some online art classes, online cookie decorating classes, learn a new language, do some STEM projects (Pinterest has TONS!), etc. Let them be kids and go outside and learn about bugs/nature. This is a fabulous time for them to take some online enrichment classes that they normally don’t have time for. They will enjoy learning because they chose it.
6. Take back family time
You know how you hate that you’ve been Ubering the kids to school, sports, lessons, then back home for dinner and homework, just to put them to bed to start this madness all over again? Well, this is your chance to take back your family time. Redeem it. Take advantage of this well-needed break. Don’t feel like these next few weeks have to be all academic. In fact, I personally think that it SHOULDN’T be. Read chapter books to your kids, yes, even the older ones will love it (mine still do!). Have family movie nights, go on hikes, do game nights, puzzles, build Legos together, bake, build forts, have dinners together again. Chances are, your family time together will be just what their (and your) hearts needed in such a busy world. This is what they will remember. Even if they do not do as much work during this time, you will never regret spending family time together. See this as a blessing to SLOW. DOWN.
7. Serve others
As Christians, we have a unique opportunity to serve others during this time. That means a phone call, making cards for those in nursing homes, checking in on your neighbors, especially the elderly ones, offering to buy and deliver groceries to the elderly. If you have friends that still need to go into work, offer to watch their kids one day. Since your kids are normally busy with school and can’t participate, this is a great time to get them involved in serving and caring for others. Trust me, that lesson will be FAR more valuable than any schoolwork that they do. We can be a light in our community and share the love of Jesus during this time.
All these tips are great, but my family is so stressed out about all this. I can’t add another thing on my plate.
Then DON’T! You DON’T have to home educate during this time at all. WHAT??!!! Yes, it’s true. Do only what you can do and if it gets too crazy stressful, then just enjoy each other. It’s only for about 2 weeks (plus Spring Break). Your kids won’t forget all that they’ve learned. Trust me. Enjoy spending time together and do fun things (refer to #6)….Legos, forts, puzzles, movie nights, crafts, painting, baking, etc. Do not create a stressful environment in a time where people are already acting on their emotions. When this is all said and done with, it would be an amazing thing for your kids to look back at the Coronavirus outbreak and have fond memories of when schools were shut down and they were at home creating memories with you, NOT a stressful time where being at home was worse than going to school.
In a world where the political divide is heavy, I have seen so much good through this crisis. Companies have come together to help and serve those who are in need and have been very generous by providing their resources and services for free.
You can click here to take you to a list and some descriptions of my favorite resources that I have compiled for you. I tried to keep it SIMPLE to cover the core subjects.
I hope that this helps you get through the next few weeks.
You got it! I believe in you. Remember, WE love our kids the most and will make decisions for them that we feel is best, so we will get through this together!