How are you doing? So far, we are healthy, but still trying to navigate all of the changes around us. Our district made the call to close schools until at least April 24th. That gives us 6 weeks at home. My daughter came home with just about every school book and journal and one additional homework packet, but we were told to wait for more instructions. My son came home with a note saying the teacher would provide more information the following Monday. As of today, our district has not started online learning yet, and to be honest, I’m not surprised. Not all students in our district have equal access to technology and supplies. So many of you are in similar situations. I have often been asked what we are doing at home, so I thought I would take a moment to share.
Here is a sample schedule of what our days looked like this past week, with a few variations. Keep in mind that I have two school-aged children: third grade and Kindergarten. My oldest even helped create the schedule for us, so obviously it’s very colorful!
School Time with Mom
School time with Mom was typically about 60-90 min every day. That time was not direct instruction, but rather a review of skills that I know they had been working on in class.
My kindergartner worked on sight words, nonsense cvc words, numbers to 100, simple addition problems, and handwriting. My third grader did a mix of addition and subtraction, money, elapsed time, multiplication facts, grammar, social studies, and more. Sometimes these were pencil and paper activities, but often these were games, puzzles, or dry erase activities. We also took the time to watch a few Mystery Science videos.
Art or Free Choice
When my kids chose art, we did some directed drawings and some painting activities. When they wanted free choice, they chose to do sticker books, play in their rooms, or just have some down time.
Thankfully, our weather has been beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest. We have definitely taken advantage of some fresh air time. We walked up and down the road, rode bikes and scooters, played in the sand, used sidewalk chalk, blew bubbles, and my kids even built an obstacle course in the backyard. At times it was still cold and foggy in the late morning this week. When that was the case, we sometimes flip-flopped this chunk of time with the Family Game Time from the afternoon.
Our forecast shows a lot of rain for the upcoming week, so we’ll see if and how this time changes as the week progresses.
I had my kids help make their lunch each day.
My daughter checked out the first book in The Land of Stories series from her school before it closed. She has been devouring that each day. My son has been enjoying his Elephant and Piggie series, along with some superhero books he had previously checked out from our local library. Since this is a one hour time chunk, my son can choose to close his book and rest if he gets tired. My kids have also decided to keep things interesting by choosing where and how we read each day. They chose to read in Mom and Dad’s bed one day, in a dark room by flashlight on another, enjoyed popcorn while reading, and more.
Family Game Time
Right before our local schools made the decision to close, I made one last trip to Target. While everyone else seemed to be stocking up on TP, sanitizer, and cleaning supplies, I grabbed some games, puzzles, and activity books. One of these games was Family Charades. That has been a favorite to play all week. This has really helped my kids be creative, problem solve on the spot, and get some movement in. I love that the cards have a picture clue to help my youngest play independently, too.
Because the weather was so beautiful, my kids often opted for additional outside time. When they needed a break, they had the option to have some quiet downtime with another activity. Sometimes this was building with Legos, Magnatiles, and Play-Doh. Other times it was working in one of their activity books or hunting for Waldo.
Chores and Screen Time
I made a Choose-a-Chore chart of things I knew I wanted to get done around the house this week. My kids got to choose how they wanted to help each day. Once a chore was completed, they were free to enjoy a little screen time until my husband got home from work. This was my guaranteed work time each day. It wasn’t much, but it’s just an adjustment I’m having to make at this time.
You’ll notice that our schedule is not very heavy on the academic side. Even though I’m a teacher, I don’t claim to be homeschooling my children. Instead, I’m just trying to keep their academic skills fresh until our district makes a decision about online/distance learning. I believe that this is a gift of family time. I also understand that my children need to be children. Like you, I’m taking this one day at a time. Keeping my kids on a schedule is something that works for us, but it may not be for everyone and that’s OKAY! Please know that we are all just doing the best we can during this unprecedented time.
Please let me know if you have any questions and take care!