With COVID-19 spreading across the world, many parents are moving towards homeschool by choice or due to school closures. Today I wanted to share my TOP 10 TIPS for families who find themselves in this situation.
You are NOT ALONE!
I did a poll on my Instagram, and 99% of people said they were experiencing school closures, store closures, over-run grocery stores. I think just knowing that we aren’t alone in this is helpful in making it through to the other side.
1. Stay in Contact!
As we all navigate this time together, staying in contact with neighbors, friends, and family is critical! We might be “physically” distancing our selves from one another, but we do have the capability to connect with friends and family online!
2. Connect with your School District
Most school districts are working hard to make this situation manageable for its families.
Some schools are closing for an extended spring break period with no extra instruction required. Other schools may be closed longer as conditions change. Many schools are also setting up online learning options during the break as well. If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to reach out to your district to see what solutions they are offering for families and what they recommend.
Make sure you check your district websites regularly for any updates to requirements, schedule changes, or closures.
3. Create a Basic Daily Routine
I think the best thing parents can do right now is to try and keep a sense of normalcy for their family. If possible follow a similar routine that your kids were already on. For example, get up, get ready, eat breakfast. We like to do our harder subjects int he morning, take a lunch break, and then finish with more fun activities like science experiments, art projects, and group activities.
If you’re enjoying an extended spring break, try to use this period as a way to spend quality time together as a family. Have game night, movie night, bake cookies, play cards, prepare meals, and just enjoy this time together!
All of that said, do your best to stay flexible right now. That might mean doing school in the afternoon after you’ve gotten some work done. You do NOT have to bring the classroom schedule into your home. You can work out your time in a way that best fits your family’s needs. Sit down and figure out what everyone needs to get done each day, and then outline a routine that will work best for you.
Once you decide on a routine, do your best to stick with it. Keeping things consistent and familiar is probably the best way to help students feel comfortable and motivated. Hopefully this will be a short lived and temporary situation, so anything you can do to keep that sense of normal every day life is great.
4. Create a “School” Area
If you will be doing school at home, creating a special spot for everyone to work on school assignments can be really helpful in motivating students to get their work done! When we first started homeschooling we did school in the kitchen. But we quickly learned that we had to clean everything up so we could eat meals. We eventually decided to set up a school area in our dining room where we had desk space for everyone and we didn’t have to worry about cleaning it all up three times a day! We’ve since created an official school room that we work in daily. I have found that having a dedicated space helps get us in the right mood mentally to do our work.
5. Daily Wrap-Up Meeting
We recently started having “daily wrap-up” meetings with our kids at the end of each school day. The kids each pick a 10-15 minute time slot and I sit down with them one-on-one. We discuss any questions they had, check to make sure everything was completed, and grade anything that needs grading together.
Daily meetings have helped me stay on top of their workload, so that I am not overwhelmed. It has also helped give my children a sense of accomplishment for each day, and to know what will be required of them tomorrow.
6. Work as a Team
As far as household duties go, we find it helpful to work as a team. I certainly can’t do everything on my own, so we all help out. Once school is over everyone cleans up their area. We then all help with whatever chores are needed to keep our home functioning.
That might mean doing laundry, emptying the dishwasher, helping with dinner, etc. Operating as a team really helps give kids a sense of ownership in their home and makes for quality bonding time for the entire family.
7. Give a Little Grace
The spread of COVID-19 is an uncertain time for everyone. Showing some grace towards each other will go a long way towards making your kids feel comfortable and secure. Switching to online or homeschool because of school closures can also be a weird transition, so sticking to a routine and allowing kids a little wiggle room will help in keeping the peace.
While I certainly hope this is a short lived season, I think families can also use this hiatus for the positive. Spending time together is a great way to foster relationships within the home and create a comfortable and secure environment for our children during a tumultuous time.
8. Be Community Minded
This is a great time to teach your children to be community minded and to think about others. Come together as a family and discuss ways you can help your neighbors, friends, and families. That may mean “Social Distancing” to help do your part to keep at risk groups safe and slow the spread of the virus. Talk about hospital workers, grocery store employees, and others who are working hard to support our communities.
Check your neighborhood Facebook page or Next Door to see if anyone in your area has asked for help. You might be able to pick up groceries or medication for them and deliver it to their home. Working together as a family and including your children in these discussions helps build moral and also makes it easier for them to understand why they can’t have a play-date, or go to an event they’ve been looking forward to. It also helps give them a more global outlook.
9. Spend Time Together
With the normal hustle and bustle of families all going different directions this is a rare opportunity! As we’re all hunkered down in our homes, make it fun! Set aside some time each day to spend together, here are a few fun ideas that we’ve been doing in our home:
- Movie Night
- Board Games
- Video Games as a group
- Reading books
- Taking family walks
- Throwing frisbee/ball at the park
- Taking bike rides
- Workout DVDs (If weather is bad, and it’s more fun doing it all together!)
- Art projects (Play-doh, painting, drawing, coloring, etc.)
- Crafting together (We sew, crochet, knit, etc. If you don’t it’s a great time to learn!)
- Free time! (While I do my best to schedule activities so we’re not all staring at screens 24/7 my kids probably look forward to free time the most. This is the time they can get online, play games with friends, stay and connected!)
The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely caused disruption to our daily lives and along with that can come anxiety and fear. But the good news is that God is sovereign and His Word is full of encouragement for us as we live our lives. Here are a few of my favorite verses that I hope will encourage you!
John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
Philippians 4:6–7 (NKJV) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
If you are new to my website, I offer a ton of free resources, help by grade level, and tips on how to get started homeschooling. I also have a very helpful Homeschooling 101 book and several eCourses on homeschooling. I also have a store where my book and many other useful resources can be found.