And just like that, everyone was schooling at home….

After the announcement of the State wide school closings on Saturday morning,  I felt compelled to share with my friends on Facebook a peek into what my life as a homeschooling mama has looked like over these 9 past years.  I wanted to share that learning at home happens differently, and it varies greatly from family to family.

I wanted to show the real life of things; piles and piles of books everywhere, messy kitchens from the kids baking and reading cuddled on the couch.  Science experiments, arts & crafts strewn everywhere. Nature walks and digs in the dirt to find a real worm to examine. It’s dumping a full bucket of legos to find just the right piece to finish your map of Malaysia. It’s staying up a little later with your nature loving child because there’s an owl hooting right outside and we can finally try out our Audubon Owl call app.  It’s finding a balance between mom and teacher. It’s finding enjoyment in the little things that they bring to show you that are huge to them. It’s allowing everyone to have their own space and autonomy to take a break when frustration runs high. It’s stepping back a bit, even though it’s scary, to let them try something “on their own”. It’s having the understanding to trust them when they say “I just need a day of rest” and they take the day to sleep, read and veg out.

But most of all it’s that amazing feeling you get when you see that light bulb go off. You know “it clicked” and they have overcome whatever they were battling.

With all that being said- I thought I would offer up just a bit of advice for anyone interested in reading further about what the next few weeks could look like while your kids are learning from home.

First and foremost-  Relax!

Take this opportunity to enjoy the time with your kids. Slow down.  Be present in these moments with them! Take this upcoming week as it comes-  maybe everyone just needs to sleep, maybe everyone needs the week to just decompress.   Maybe you are in planning mode for how to handle the next few weeks. Do what feels right, but most of all keep the kids calm and without fear.    Ask them what they envision the next few weeks to look like. Having everyone on the same page with clear communication is really important, especially with children.  Knowing what’s expected of them in uncertain times helps to give them a sense of security and purpose! When tension runs high, because they will, give each other space.   If you are a family who likes to have a plan in place- make one! Put it up on the wall so you have it as a daily reminder. Maybe your family is looking forward to the opportunity to slow things down a bit.  Or maybe you are like me and the idea of being quarantined to your home has you completely geeked out! I have an excuse to bake bread, stock up on my canning/freezing. Start a new knitting project. Read all the books, plan out our summer…..the possibilities are endless.

Talk about what’s happening.

If your kids are worried about all the panic and chaos take the opportunity to study current events, discuss the history of other pandemics/ plagues and ways society survived. Study the immune system! Study survival skills! Study cooking from scratch. As Winston Churchill said-“those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.    Look for documentaries (age appropriate) and youtube videos. There are some amazing youtubers out there who make nothing but survival/ primitive skills videos. If you have younger children, I highly recommend reading the Little House books. They lived through disease, illness and uncertain times.

Document!

We are making history, take the time to journal and write about what we are experiencing.  As scary as it maybe it can be very therapeutic! Let everyone write/ draw/ journal their own experience during this time.

Remember school/ bookwork can be done at any time of the day, do what works best for your family’s schedule.   If you are working full time during the day, save the subjects that need your help and guidance for the evenings when you are home.  Keep in mind that school days are long and are filled with many different activities as well as group instruction. Your child working at home independently will most likely finish their school work quicker.

You do not need to recreate school at home and it would be an impossible feat to do so in such short notice. Involve your kids in the daily tasks around your home, give them time to discover and play, watch documentaries, READ ALL THE BOOKS!, give them time to be bored and discover new interests.

Please know that there is no perfect way to do things and all of these are merely suggestions/ ideas on what can be done at home over these next few weeks.  Do the best you can with whatever resources you have available.