To say that a LOT has changed over the past few weeks is an understatement! One thing I have been very grateful for lately is the fact that my husband and I both already work from home and that we homeschool. I’ve been thinking a lot about those of you whose routines have been completely turned upside down. So many of you have had to adjust to not ONLY working remotely from home but you’re also now in charge of your children’s education at home as well! I can only imagine that you feel a bit like a fish out of water right now.
Please know that you are STRONG, and you WILL get through this. I have been a work from home/homeschooling mom for the past six years; and, although I still don’t have everything figured out, I have found a few things that have worked well for our family.
Below are 5 tips that will hopefully help and encourage you.
- GRACE: Please hear me on this one. Give yourself (and your children) LOTS of grace, hugs, and love during this time of uncertainty and transition. This is likely ALL new for everyone, and it will take a while for you to settle into a routine that works well for you and your children. Even seasoned homeschooling moms typically need a few weeks at the beginning of the school year to settle into the best routine for their family as the dynamics change each year. You were also, likely, not allowed to choose your child’s curriculum, and you didn’t have the time that many homeschooling moms take (prior to each school year) to prepare lesson plans out.
- Routine: Once you do find a routine that works well for you and your children, do your best to stick to it. Most children (I realize there are exceptions) do best when they are on a routine where they have consistency, and they know what is expected. Likewise, try not to force a routine that clearly isn’t working for you and/or your child.
- Take Breaks: Just as kids at school need recess, make sure that you are allowing time during the day for your kids to take breaks and release energy. Every child is different, some have longer attention spans and can do several subjects in a row followed by a longer break and others need short breaks between each subject to stay focused when they are working. When the weather is nice (one of the MAIN reasons we moved from the midwest to South Carolina), I make sure my girls get outside for at least an hour each day. If the weather doesn’t allow them to get outside, I let them play a game indoors or we will find an exercise video we can do together on YouTube.
- Enjoy It: I know that homeschooling is NOT for everyone (somedays I wonder if it’s for me), BUT there are some AMAZING things about watching your kids learn. Celebrate with them when they finally “get” something that they’ve been struggling with. Think outside of the box and don’t forget the importance of teaching them life skills. Cooking is a GREAT way to work on math, taking a walk through your neighborhood is a great opportunity to talk to them about plants, trees, and wildlife. Is it a beautiful day outside? Let them do their reading out in their favorite tree or on the swing set. Also, don’t forget that this is a time that will one day be recorded in history books. If your child is able to write, have them start a journal documenting their feelings and thoughts about all that is going on in the world right now. How awesome would it be for them to one day let their grandchildren read the journal they wrote (as a child) when they are learning about the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020 in their history class.
- Utilize FREE Resources: There are SO many amazing FREE resources available now to help homeschooling parents. A simple YouTube, Google, or Pinterest search will provide you with information and resources on any subject you or your child may be struggling with. One of our favorite FREE resources is Math Antics. All of their YouTube videos are FREE, and they have math worksheets available for $10/year. My sister Nicci (who homeschools her eight . . . yes, eight kids!) also has a LOT of informative videos on her YouTube Channel AFarmhouseFull if you’d like to check them out as well. One warning when searching for homeschool resources/tips on the web, ALWAYS remember that just because a schedule or system works well for one homeschooling family does NOT mean that it will work well for your family. As I mentioned above…each family dynamic is different, so please don’t find a homeschooling family you like on YouTube and feel like you’re failing at homeschooling because what they make look peaceful and smooth looks like a train-wreck with your kids. Again . . . give yourself GRACE!