The news came up over my phone and then my email started to blow up. My husband turned to me and said, “Looks like no school for a few weeks.” We had been anticipating it with all that has been going on, so we began to make a plan.
My 8-year-old daughter overheard us talking about the plans and her questions started flowing in.
“Why don’t we have school?”
“Will we die from this virus they are talking about?”
“Will I have to make up school days?”
I was quite impressed with all her questions and answered them to the best of my ability. Pretty soon the conversation turned to how can we continue to learn at home. She lit up and said, “Can we do school at home?” and then she gave me the rundown of her normal school day. We wrote it down, then I let her pick a space in the house that could be ‘school space’. We cleaned it up and got ready for our first day of home school.
I suggest making your school space in a place where little distractions can occur and your kids can give you their full attention. Like us, maybe you have a space in your house that isn’t commonly used. Our office made the perfect place as its usually my space, and we recreated it into a space that they could call their own.
Start the Day
She woke up, made breakfast, and got dressed as if it was any normal day for school. When it was time to start our school day she went right to work beginning with reading a book.
Coming up with the lesson plans was easier said than done. I give a huge shout out to all the teachers out there! Teaching one thing for a long period of time was my challenge, but we made it work.
If you really plan to provide a school atmosphere at home during this time, my biggest suggestion is to write out a detailed lesson plan. Talking to your children about their daily routines is a great way to stay in the norm and get your lesson plans in order. If you have no idea where to start, here is what our days will look like for at least the next two weeks:
8:00 a.m.: Reading
We created a small library in our ‘school space’ with books we already have at home. The kids enjoyed picking out their options and putting them in their book bins. When we start the morning, they just grab a book and sit and read or look at pictures until we start our day.
8:30 a.m.: Current Events
I want to be very transparent about the current situation going on. We asked “Alexa” to go over the news. Then I let them ask me any questions they had about what they heard. (Note: Please use your discretion and consider the ages of your children before doing this. This may add to some kids’ anxiety.)
9:00 a.m.: Health/Gym/Music/Art
Health: We talked about basic ways to stay germ-free, like hand washing, hand sanitizers, covering coughs and sneezes, and how to disinfect services that are commonly touched. I tried to make this fun and not scary for them. Going into the new few weeks, I plan to adjust this with them helping me bake healthy snacks that we can then eat for snack time when we are done.
Gym: For gym activities, I am going to use the garage where they can make an obstacle course or use our hockey net to practice with. We will be doing yoga through our Amazon Fire TV, but YouTube also has options for this, too.
Music: I found these fun music activities for us to try at home.
Art: We do have a large art closet set up in our office, so I plan to search for projects that we can just use our existing art supplies for. Some themes I may center our projects around, like Spring and Easter.
10:00 a.m.: Snack
10:30 a.m.: Reading and Writing Skills
During this time I am having my son practice letters on a dry erase board we have or tracing letters on a piece of paper. My older child is going to write letters to mail to family and friends. Not only is this a great way for her to express herself during this time, but also a way to spread some joy to others who are also at home. The intent is for them to mail letters back so she can read them.
11:45 a.m.: Lunch/Play Outside
Playing outside is a great way for kids’ social distancing from each other as well as get some of that energy out from being indoors. More information on this can be found here.
1:00 p.m.: Read Out Loud
Pick a longer chapter book (we are going to read the Harry Potter series) or a kid’s book of their choice to read to them and then ask questions about what you are reading.
1:30 p.m.: Math Skills
We do have some flashcards and math worksheets at home. For other math and science-related apps and websites, see our post here.
2:30 p.m.: Clean up
Along with our schedule, I also created a chore chart of daily expectations. When they finish their chore they get a sticker. At the end of the week, they will get to pick a small item on Amazon to be mailed to our house if they finish all chores this week. These can be done throughout the day or after your ‘school day’.
Overall, we survived day one of at homeschooling. It definitely had its hiccups and a few tears, as learning in a new setting has its stresses. But all said and done I believe that it will only get easier from here. The best we can do is try to keep the routine as normal as possible and then talk openly about what is going on in the world right now. I want my kids to know the facts, and not be fearful of our current situation.