What kind of cruel torture is this homeschool thing I’ve just been thrown into?
Wait, there are people that choose to do this with their kids daily; like, on purpose?
It’s a lot to wrap your head around, I get it. It isn’t something you asked for.
Not only did we ask for this, we also shrunk our lives into 400 square feet and thought…how hard can it be?
As we sit here with our girls, who are basically unfazed at how the world has turned upside down for so many families, we think back to our transition into full-timing and how overwhelming it was to us on so many levels. PS the girls are stressed about what’s happening around us, but their daily routine is still EXACTLY as it has been and that is why they are unfazed.
There were questions we didn’t even know we were going to ask, let alone know how to answer. Questions like, “Why don’t these kids think I’m serious about teaching them this stuff?” or “How come they don’t appreciate the amazing opportunity we have in front of us?” or our absolute favorite, “Why won’t they stop irritating each other?”
It’s not your fault that they are challenging you right now, (or is it?). I mean you have nothing but the greatest of intentions keeping them on track and teaching them to adapt, grow and learn. You also don’t want to screw them up educationally and drop the ball, leaving them far behind their peers when things get back to normal. So what can you do to survive this? We talked it over and have come up with some guidelines that we learned the difficult way, while transitioning from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Some important foundational rules we’ve come to adopt over the years have been to keep structure and routine in our daily life. This part is SO important to their little brains as well as our equally incapable brains.
The first moment of reckoning came when we admitted to ourselves that we too, need structure and routine.
Admit it, you know you also feel the deep desire to have stability in your life, and can’t function if your boss or client were to say to you, go ahead, get the job done, whenever it works out for you. You would implode under that scenario. Having that much freedom ends up being a gigantic waste of time, filled with Instagram stories and Youtube videos, then leads to feelings of defeat and failure.
You failed because you didn’t get anything accomplished that day, week, month, and ultimately you are left with thoughts of depression.
Now think… how does your kid feel? They aren’t even developed enough to think through that kind of complexity.
So for us, routines developed and became our “stability,”; just as your agonizing morning commute (love it or hate it) gave you “stability”.
Our routine is ALWAYS, the school in the morning, and try to be finished by lunch so we can be part of phase two of our days. (that blog post to come next)
Just because you are home together, doesn’t mean you have to wait for them for your routine to start, go ahead and get up an hour or so early to get yourself together, mentally prepared, and even fed if necessary. You aren’t going to be much help to them if you are hangry.
If they wake up first, they are controlling the narrative.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Kids should always keep the same routine, just as they did in school. Wake up, have breakfast, clean up, get dressed and set up for school: no distracting tech, no music, no tv.
You can also take this time to work as well. If you work along side of them, they benefit from feeling the vibe of being productive during this time, and perhaps even a sense of belonging to the “office”.
Use charts to stay on task with their daily routine. A star chart of, get up, get dressed, eat… etc. Let them feel small successes by starring next to each completed task. Something like this.
Start school at the same time every day.
Don’t be a hero… this is NOT your chance to prove to the people on Instagram that you have it all together. Set modest goals of achievement and succeed at them every day.
Your kid NEEDS that structure and feeling of accomplishment, or in week 3, they will be feeling overwhelmed and utterly defeated.
Their defeat will turn on you, as hatred and frustration. They will resent that you aren’t as “good” as their teacher, and act mean towards you for making them feel like they are falling apart!
Just don’t even go down this road.
You will thank me next month.
You aren’t alone. Reach out to friends that are teachers to help you stay on track and give your curriculum some validity as a bonus. They need to believe that this isn’t Mom or Dad telling them what to learn, it’s coming from a higher power. Jerome’s sister Liz occasionally video chats with us and engages in an art lesson with the girls. They look forward to this “virtual field trip” as it gives them a feeling of a community coming together to help them learn.
Lastly, you are the parent!
This could be a huge battle for you, but you have to be the one to set these boundaries in place. Your sanity depends on it!
Seriously though… we are trying to offer support. If you need ANY help with ideas I would hope that you would feel comfortable reaching out to us for support. 🙂
Follow up with us next for our post on “What we do during the afternoons.”