With the world changing daily to adapt to recent events, some of you may already have your kids home from school, while others may be waiting to receive that phone call at any minute.
This pushes you headfirst into a form of schooling you never thought you would be part of: home schooling. It is highly likely you’re a little worried and thinking, “my children have never wanted to do this” or “I have never wanted to do this because I work during the week making it impossible so I have never prepared for this” or even “I’m not a qualified teacher, what if I ruin my child’s education”, and the list goes on. Perhaps you are being thrust into this and are still having to work all week, but from home.
I wanted to write to encourage you, and hopefully ease some of those worries, because I do both! I work AND I home school. I’m still ok and so are my kids!
Here are a few practical things I have worked out over the past 5 1/2 years of home schooling that I hope will help and inspire you in this season.
1. Get dressed for the day, make your bed & brush your teeth.
William H McRaven was a Navy SEAL for 37 years. In his book, “MAKE YOUR BED To Change The World” he explains how the simple act of making your bed as soon as you get up sets up your day for productivity and self-discipline (good for us all to remember).
2. Have a start time and end time (and timed lunch break).
Keep in mind how many things your child does in a day at school that is not sitting in front of a book or computer, eg, sport, form class, assembly, music, drama, art etc. The amount of time left is how much your child is used to sitting in front of a book. Keep it in 20 to 30-minute blocks for primary age, and a bit longer for high school. Many people when first starting expect their kids to sit for too long at a time and then everyone gets frustrated!
3. Pack a lunch box and drink bottle each morning.
It may seem weird but trust me, after having them home a few days you’ll see why; they will eat you out of house and home!
I have a photo of my empty dishwasher with 12 used drinking glasses sitting on the bench above it. They get a glass for every single drink of water; it will drive you crazy!!
4. Turn the TV off.
Sounds obvious, but turn it off at the start of day and don’t turn it on until the allotted amount of work is done.
5. Create an area free from distraction.
That includes you as a distraction, taking phone calls etc…
6. Put phones away.
If your child has their own phone, put it away during work time (this is a great incentive to get work done as they can then keep in touch with friends after).
7. Set a time to Face Time friends after work is done.
Organising this at the start of the day for a certain time at the end of a day keeps their mind focused and with something to look forward to.
8. Make it fun.
Have fun in the breaks, find ways to make the work fun, work in the garden or at an open park (not on the play equipment at the moment!).
9. Work out when your child works best.
One of my kids works best after burning off a bit of energy at the start of the day, another works best straight up and gets it all over and done with. You’ll work it out pretty quickly.
10. Ban the B word – BORED.
G.K. Chesterton said, “There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.”
Ellen Parr added, “The cure for boredom is curiosity.”
You could give your kids tokens at the start of the day, and each time they say, “I’m bored” or, “This is boring” take a token. At the end of the day they can use the tokens they have left for rewards. (a reward may be buying screen time or saving it all up for something once things return to the way they were)
It’s amazing how much imagination your kids have and how creative they can be when there are no other options!
We all have the opportunity to decide how this season of time will be spent – either in frustration for what we can’t do, or in creatively building memories and connection. This is an opportunity for us all to slow down, to get creative, connect, enjoy time together and make memories. It’s also a great opportunity to teach our kids empathy, kindness, putting others first, gratitude for what we have and the power of prayer.
Take one day at a time, this is an uncertain time in our world, but we can rely on a very certain God! In the midst of it all, remember Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know I am God.”
You’ve got this!