We have all be thrust into a totally unexpected new normal, and for many of us, that now involves school-aged children at home with us 24/7. While many of our schools are sending out work and assignments, some of us are looking for things to do with kids who have not yet received assignments or who are on spring break already. In addition, some of us have to be able to work remotely while our children are hanging off of our arms or we need to be able to entertain them while we get said work done.
At our house, I have been taking it easy. Things like brushing our teeth are non-negotiable, but hands-on learning time varies depending on how we are feeling from day to day. Here are a couple of tips for how to handle this new normal and make the best of it.
1. Do what is right for you and your family.
When I was a teacher, I always had lesson plans. And guess what? At least a quarter of the time, I didn’t follow them. It could be because there was an interruption, there was a teachable moment, or there was something from the previous day that needed clarifying. But if planning things out is something that really works for you, then do it! If you want to try to follow a daily schedule because you and your children thrive off of it, then do that. I know that for me and my family, it doesn’t really work. I am okay with TV, whereas many families I know are not. There will be no right way or wrong way to do this. It will be what is right for you and your family.
2. Build in plenty of brain breaks.
There are soooo many programs out there to give our kids brain breaks. Things like yoga, dancing, and other forms of meditation. Cosmic Kids Yoga is one that we have started to use, as is GoNoodle. If your children start to become stressed, let them take a break. If you start to become stressed, take a break. Nobody wants this to be more of a stressful situation than it already is.
3. Use everyday moments for teaching.
This morning, we made pancakes. While we were making the pancakes, we talked about the states of matter. We observed solids and liquids combining, and we talked about how temperature changes states of matter. My son might not have remembered a ton about this morning’s lesson if I had been sitting him down and trying to just explain it to him. But he won’t forget that butter sizzling and going from a solid to a liquid, and the pancakes going from a liquid to a solid.
4. Use the resources available.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Thousands upon thousands of resources are at our fingertips, and so many incredible homeschool bloggers, educational resource companies, and public programs are providing TONS of free resources. You can head over to my blog (www.atoddlerandatopknot.com/blog/homelearningresources) for a running list of those free resources. Pinterest is a goldmine for information as well.
5. Go outside.
While we still have the ability to, use your backyard, your balcony if you live in an apartment, or take a walk down your street (always maintaining proper social distance). Sometimes a change of scenery can have a big impact on our moods, and it’s really important for us to get some Vitamin D.
I know this is an ever-changing scenario and that we will be in a constant state of flux until we adjust to this new version of normal. Know that you are not alone in this and that we are all doing the best we can. Have plenty of grace with yourself, allow yourself mistakes, and remember that we are all learning as we go!