So many are schooling at home now! Welcome to the family! Some of you are not only helping your kids with school now, but also trying to work from home. I know it must feel challenging and frankly overwhelming at times. While choosing to homeschool is in some ways vastly different than schooling at home due to the virus, let me offer a few tips that might help.
Read tips 1 and 2 here: Five Essential Tips for Schooling at Home, Part 1.
Tip #3: Schooling with Little Ones
Some of you are working, schooling, AND have little ones to take care of as well. I know that must be so challenging. Here are some practical tips I have learned over the years while schooling at home with little ones. Try to keep a regular schedule: meals, rest, activity, and bedtimes. Give undistracted time with babies, toddlers, and pre-K’s every day, preferably before school time. Plan important subjects with older children around younger children’s naps or rest times. Have toys that you save for use only during school time and then rotate them. Wise use of educational TV, DVD’s or screens for limited time to get school work done with older kids is also helpful.
If you have several kids, pair older kids with younger ones so you can work for 15-30 min. with another child. Let the little ones “do school” by providing “school papers” for them and snuggling in when reading. If they are wiggly, let them play with toys while listening. Use a timer so little ones can be more patient. “This is set for 20 minutes for you to play and me to do school with your sister. Once it dings, I will play with you!” Keep some activities ready and close at hand: bead stringing, lacing cards, kitchen sink with soapy water and plastic containers, play dough, water/bucket/paint brush to “paint” the house, sidewalk chalk, putting little ones in high chair with whipped cream to “paint” with, etc. Use whatever you have.
Tip #4: Face Your Fears
The truth is that most people who choose to homeschool feel a huge weight of responsibility and sometimes fear that they will “make their kids stupid”. I can only imagine that being thrown into this new world of schooling at home only compounds those natural fears. You will not “ruin” your kids or stunt their educational progress with a few weeks of schooling at home. Will you do everything perfectly? No, none of us do. This is not the time to focus on perfection but to recognize adjustments will be necessary and a learning curve is normal. Pour out your fears and concerns to the Lord anytime, anywhere. “Trust in him at all times, O people, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8). Realize that Jesus really cares about what we care about “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). He knows you, your spouse, and your children. He knows your circumstances and your struggles. He loves you and has a unique plan for your family’s life and this season of homeschooling!
Tip #5: Enjoy this Time with Your Family
I am a homeschool mom of 25 years, by God’s grace and enabling despite our many mistakes. We have so far (one more to go!) graduated 5 of our kids from our homeschool who have gone on to college. We did not and do not homeschool perfectly, nor are we a perfect family. But God has been SO faithful. He will be faithful to you too! And what they say is true: the days are long, but the years are short! So parents, I encourage you to cherish this sweet gift of time you have been given to learn with and live in a slowed down world with your kids! It will be hectic and sometimes challenging schooling at home and balancing your other responsibilities. But embrace this crazy life, this unexpected time for you to love and create memories with your family that will last a lifetime. They grow up all too quickly! Who knows, some of you may even find in these next weeks that you come to love it, even though it is challenging, and join us on the journey!
Over the last week or so I have been posting various resources I hear about on the WNC Homeschooler Facebook page. Check it out or use a web search to find a multitude of educational resources all at your fingertips!