We've been unschooling for awhile, so this season of quarantine we find ourselves in isn't a big shift from our normal day to day life - except that we aren't frequenting normal field trip locations. However, I know a lot of you aren't just not used to it - but you're also trying to work part or full-time from home while your kiddos run feral through your house. So, I've been trying to share Homeschooling help every 48 hours or so for all my reluctant homeschooling buddies. You can find all the original posts on my Facebook, but I thought I would also share things here.
Let It Go - like Elsa.
The first thing that started appearing when states announced school closures? Color coded, time stamped, school day imitating schedules for people to utilize during this season. While that may work for some, for the majority of us? It doesn't. Not even for us who are normally home schooling. Instead? Let your kids play. Don't control it or try to set up a schedule. Take a couple of days to just let it be. Everyone is stressed and you don't need to take on the extra effort of making your kids follow a schedule. Especially if you're still working or trying to work from home.
Try a Rhythm Instead.
Go with what feels natural to you. Spoilers? For awhile? Nothing will feel natural. But I promise, you'll get the hang of it. Maybe it's easiest to have your kids work on packets from school or workbooks in the mornings because that's when you have the most patience. Maybe you need to wait until the afternoon after you've finished all your work during your most productive hours. Maybe you need to just release the idea of imitating a school day and unschool along with me! :)
Learn this word right now! Once you've done your normal bedtime routine and cleared your kitchen table or counter or play table? Pull out a couple of things that might engage your kids. Maybe a book they haven't read in awhile, maybe hotwheels, maybe the workbook sent home from school, maybe colored pencils and paper, maybe kinetic sand, maybe blocks... you get the idea. Pick a couple of things out and leave them for your kids to discover in the morning. This puts ideas in front of them and limits the overwhelming choice of ALL their toys/books/resources in the midst of chaos. It also means you didn't verbally suggest anything - which, let's be honest, is typically an idea killer for kids.
Go for a walk, throw a football, go on a hike if you have that kind of time. This is the perfect thing to reset or break up your day. Any moment you're feeling crazy? Outside. Kids throwing a meltdown? Outside. You're tired of hearing your kids fight? Outside. Social distancing doesn't mean you can't get fresh air!
All The Snacks.
Have more snacks than you think you need. I know everyone is stocking up for the apocalypse, but trust me? Toilet paper and bottled water are not what you need. Goldfish, carrots, grapes, grape tomatoes, green smoothie ingredients, etc. Your kids eat more than you can imagine and they will eat WAY more when at home.
I'm serious. Do not feel guilty. A lot of you are working full time from home with a little one. Find the educational stuff (pbskids, Khan Academy, Typing Club, etc.), get them headphones, keep them where you can see them, keep track of time and make them take breaks after a movies worth of screen time. A screen free childhood was amazing for so many of us... but we were also latchkey kids and are now all in therapy. So pick your battles and save for therapy either way. A screen is not a parent or a reward, but it IS a tool.
Remember You've Got this.
You can do this. You can make it through this season. It will look different than Julie's season, it will look different than Karen's season, it will look different than my season. But if Karen decides to shame you? Kick her to the curb. Nobody has time for that shxt right now. We've got babies to raise and we are all doing the best that we can.