Has your child’s school closed due to coronavirus? Are you worried about how you survive at home with your kids? Don’t worry. This homeschool mom has your back!
I started homeschooling in 2013 and in these seven and half years I think I have perfected how to survive being around kids 25/8.
I hear it all the time “I don’t have the patience to homeschool because I would go crazy having my kids around all the time.” I am immune to this statement by now. So I politely nod my head and say “It isn’t for everyone.”
No one usually asks for my advice but when it comes to extended and unexpected school closings, mamas need some help! Don’t worry, being at home with your kids is much easier than you think it will be.
First of all, don’t panic. You can handle this. I am a very relaxed homeschooler so my simple advice for parents stuck home with their kids is to let them sleep and let them play. Don’t try to recreate school at home, it won’t end well. Just take a deep breath and make a plan.
Make a schedule
I know, I know. I said not to recreate school at home. However, school is highly structured and very scheduled. And for kids, going from structure to no structure really throws them off.
The schedule you create really depends on your child. Some kids need an hour by hour schedule, whereas others just need to know what is going on that day.
The easiest thing to do is set up blocks of time for the day. Something like: morning chores, lunch/screen time, afternoon errands, evening routine.
Setting up a schedule can seem overwhelming but it’s really about following the lead of your child and what type of routine best suits their needs. Here are some tips from Supernanny to help you get started.
Set house rules
Think about it. On the first day of school, teachers usually go over classroom rules and classroom management is not all that different from household management. Come together as a family and write out a list of household rules. A good rule of thumb is one rule for each year of age. Post the list of rules where everyone can see them. And make sure to follow through on the consequences if any rules are broken.
Have reasonable expectations
Don’t slack on expectations simply because they aren’t in school. Just because they aren’t in school doesn’t mean they can be lazy, have an attitude, or do exactly what they want all day. On the flip side, don’t be so strict that even the kids can’t wait to go back to school.
My kids have always had unstructured play time. I am not a cruise director. I don’t sit down and entertain my kids. But most moms don’t have the luxury of their kids having years of time playing so give yourself some grace. Give ideas on what they can play: Legos, jigsaw puzzles, art supplies, etc and then get out of their way!
Read, read, read
Whether it is going to the local library or ordering them from Amazon, now is the perfect time to get your kids hooked on reading. It’s also a great time to start a family read aloud.
Kids have to be on screens sometimes. It’s the only way to keep your sanity. I’m not advocating for all day obviously, but set up a system for your family. What they are allowed to watch or play and for how long each day they are allowed on screens. You can also have kids earn their screen time with reading time, chores, or exercise.
Have a way to cope with irritating behavior
Through no fault of their own, kids can get annoying. It could be an irritating fake laugh, they have to sing to themselves constantly, a nervous tic like pen clicking or toe tapping. When you are in one house for extended period of time you have to have a coping mechanism. Mine is, I go to my room and close the door. My office is in my room so the kids think I am “working.” But you can schedule alone time during the day, schedule outside time during the witching hour, or just double up on the wine 😉
If you aren’t used to kids in your home all day, they can be quite ravenous. Plan extra money in the grocery budget, but don’t let the kids take advantage i.e. lots of junk food that leaves them hungry in an hour. Develop a system for snacks and meal times. I write breakfast and dinner on our calendar each day and the kids are responsible for making their lunches.
I’m not sure how schools are addressing the missed classroom time, but make sure you schedule in time for kids to complete their homework. For example, our day looks something like this
Block one: Morning routine
Block two: Work time for me/free play for the kids
Block three: lunch and then school work
Block four: Work time for me/screen time for the kids.
That’s why setting a schedule is so important. You can fit in everything you need to get done in the day if you have it all spelled out.
And this is so, so, so, so important! Do not overthink or worry about the schoolwork too much. The schoolwork that usually takes them all day will probably take you an hour. Things get done so much faster when it is one-on-one.
If you feel you aren’t getting enough support from the school, make sure you reach out to someone.
Let them sleep!
One of our reasons for homeschooling was sleep. The time change just happened and I think a lot of kids are recovering. I never woke a sleeping baby and I still don’t wake up my kids. They get up when they get up.
My kids need a solid 11 hours of sleep. We have a delicate balance of activities, downtime, and sleep to keep them firing on all cylinders. Nothing is more exhausting than fighting a overtired, stressed, and over stimulated child.
This is going to depend on your situation and climate but do your best to get outside everyday. Even if it’s just for a walk. Time outside does wonders for the soul and really helps with cranky kids too.
Being at home with your kids day in and day out isn’t easy but with the help of a schedule and a lot of practice it really is second nature. I hope this post helps out some moms who are nervous about spending extended time at home with their kids. Good luck! You got this!