If you're suddenly finding yourself homeschooling due to the Covid 19, these homeschool ideas and scheduling tips will help you navigate through something that may seem quite foreign and somewhat overwhelming. I would urge you to make the most of this time, not just to survive it, but to enjoy it ... and here's how.
I can imagine that finding yourself in this unusual situation and added responsibilities is really stressful since 'homeschooling' your kids had not been a part of your plan. However, to enjoy this time, I would like to share a few thoughts.
Remind yourself that since you have no control over these matters, and your life has been forcibly slowed down, you might as well take the opportunity and do some fun things at home with your kids, learning all sorts of things together, playing games, reading great books and living life a little different than the norm.
Here's some tips on how to homeschool during Covid 19 and setting up a schedule that works for you!
I would suggest that at this time, you ask your children for their ideas and what they would like to study and learn about. It's a great opportunity to take some time out of busy life and focus on interests. You can provide a general structure and guidelines for the day and ask how they would like to fill it.
No one knows how long this will last, but I would suggest that for the sake of stability, you approach this with a longer view in mind. Ask your children - if you had all the free time you wanted for the next month - what would you like to do? to learn about? to be able to achieve? to create? Ask what their goal might be. Ask them to create their own vision board - of their dreams - of what their 'ideal day' would look like. This will give you an idea on things that are important to add to your daily life.
I would think it is a wonderful time to journal what you're going through. Make videos of your day; Create a paper journal, Take photos. We're living history right now and it's great to really take the time to note what is happening around you and within your own family.
Please - don't try to re-create school at home!
Many veteran home educators will tell you that's how they started and within a few days - they realized that it just does not work. Homeschooling does not require the same amount of time per subject and it is far easier to teach in an integrated way that you don't need to duplicate subjects. As you're reading a story together, you may be learning of a different culture (history), finding the place on a map (geography), writing your thoughts about it (writing), drawing a picture or re-creating the story in a creative way (art).
So, as you approach homeschooling during Covid 19 - don't think that you need to schedule in every subject that your children have been doing at school.
Also - as you listen to their interests, it would be great to see how you can combine learning so that you're doing it as a family.
It is important to set up some type of daily schedule while homeschooling during Covid 19. It doesn't have to look fancy or be detailed. Don't think of this as a school timetable - but more of a loose guideline for your day.
It will be helpful for everyone if they have some idea of what is expected of them and so I would advise that you keep a simple structure in place.
Here's a simple schedule which you can adapt:
You may already be a family that reads together before bedtime, but being forced to be at home right now with your kids is a wonderful opportunity to really use this time and enjoy special books together.
All of my adult children, who have never been to school would agree that reading together has been one of their most cherished memories of homeschooling.
You can find audiobooks online, but it's even more fun to sit together and read some excellent literature as a family. And, don't just think that the reading aloud is for your little ones! It's special for all ages. Here are a few book lists:
Classic Literature Years 1 - 6
Years 7-9 from the 1000 Good Books List
Years 10-12 Literature from 1000 Good Books List
There are so many wonderful youtube learning channels and I'll post about that another time, but be selective about what you watch and when.
Watching a movie together can be fun and there will be online programs that you can really benefit from, but be careful not to allow a continuous stream of screen time happen as this passive watching doesn't really stir one to action. It's better to deliberately choose something that may spark an interest or create a desire to get into a project once watching. Watch some "how to" videos and then try it at home. This will keep your screen time to a minimum and it will be related deliberately to what you're researching.
You might also decide to have some zoom meetings in which families can say hello and just see what everyone is up to.
Everyone is asking questions and I totally understand that! That's exactly what I did when I first began homeschooling my kids in 1995. So, please ask away! Get some support and find help in Facebook groups and feel free to contact me via the website or on the DYH Facebook page.
BUT... when you've found some information / asked your kids about what they want to learn about/ dug out resources that you most likely already have on your shelf or located online .... then.... please ... switch off from minute to minute checkups in your online group. - Yep! Don't keep checking out what others are doing on Facebook/Instagram!
It is really crucial for your own success at this time - to get a bit of a groove! You actually need to put some things into place, try some things out, have some messy days, chat about what works and doesn't and come to a decision within your own family.
In reality, there is not "one size that fits all", so take advice and then go for it!
Disconnect and enjoy the freedom of making it up for a while!
Don't stress that your kids will fall behind! Don't think that you have to keep up with some set of school plan - just enjoy this unusual time and take it as a gift - a gift from God to re-connect, slow down, foster family relationships and make beautiful family memories. One day, you're kids will remember this time and tell their children about the fun things they did during the Coronavirus and how they spent time at home making, creating, reading and learning all sorts of things.
We were homeschooling for many years and although there were heaps of wonderful days - there were also many, many challenges that we faced.
In this time of uncertainty, you're also going to face challenges. Some of these will be driven by fear of the unknown, sickness, concern about others, loss of income and many other factors which are not in our control.
Your kids will not know how to deal with these uncertainties and you'll see this in their behaviour. Also, living together closely will cause issues from time to time. But consider this an opportunity to teach, model and love each other. Keep your family devotions strong and keep praying for eachother. Help your children see where you receive strength and point them to God who is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
So, if it is possible,maintaining a homeschool schedule in your home will be important to allay fears and provide as much security as possible. Remember, that your children are also feeling insecure because of this and will have questions about what's going on, why they can't see their friends and so many other things. Keep calm, by providing a gentle, but structured routine.
Prayer is not the last resort - it's first!
God is in control and we need our children to know this and to take comfort in this. Don’t let the plan of others, or the latest Instagram post rule what you do, but most of all – trust in God. He holds the future in His hands and with prayer and thanksgiving, bring all your requests to Him believing that God will plan the course of study, open the doors, guide you and make His way known to you. You are not on your own!
Don’t beat yourself up! Don’t compare and try to fit the mould of someone else or some other family;
Seek God and His plans for your family; Look to the future, but also understand that many are the plans of a man’s heart, but the Lord determines his steps. Live real life with your kids and create an atmosphere where love and learning go hand in hand … and believe, truly believe that you are not on your own!
It's my prayer that in this time, your family, although forced into this unusual situation, may enjoy time together, find out more about each other, learn new skills and grow together.
Please do let me know how you're going!
Just a side note: My site is predominately written for a family that is planning to homeschool for the long term, so keep that in mind as you read through other pages on my website. If you're here because you just want to survive the next few months - then your homeschool schedule does not need to include everything you might see on my pages about 'subjects' 'curriculum' 'goals' etc.