Schools have only been closed for three days as I write this and I’ve been seriously amazed by the homeschooling that I’ve seen happening on social media. Home classrooms, curriculum ideas, awesome projects, guest teachers via FaceTime, and so much more. I think it is so awesome! I’ve even seen a lot of homeschooling happening for preschoolers! Wow! So many parents have had to jump in to being teachers in a flash, often while trying to juggle working at home.
But I’m not doing it. Nope. We’re not homeschooling our preschool-aged kids while schools are shut due to COVID-19.
With a 4-year-old who usually attends a play-based preschool (that’s now closed temporarily due to the pandemic) and a 1-year-old, I admit I’m in a position of great flexibility. I don’t feel the pressure that families with school-aged kids do. My kids aren’t going to fall behind academically. They’re not missing chunks of high school or suddenly lacking important school-based resources. Their formal education wasn’t interrupted. We’re fortunate.
However, they (especially my 4-year-old) are still missing a lot—playing with friends, school adventures, interactions with teachers, the routines of a school day. And with two parents now working from home, we need to make sure our children have meaningful things to fill their days (while mom and dad still get some work done).
So, while we’re not “homeschooling” per se, here are some things we’re being intentional about each day.
Get dressed every morning
Ah . . . so simple, right?! But as a work-at-home-mom, honestly sometimes I don’t get dressed right away on a normal day. However, these days we ALL get dressed after breakfast. It would be easy to lounge in PJs all day, but by getting dressed, we keep some normalcy and it’s easier to feel ready for our day.
Over breakfast, we talk about our day. We make plans and set goals. Sometimes we write it down. Sometimes not. But we have a plan for the day—things to look forward to, projects to work on, a plan to follow. This is how we maintain a routine. Meals, naps, rest times are things that structure our day.
Every day, we make time to play outside. Spending time outside is so important! We’re fortunate that we have a backyard with room to play. I put the baby (12 months) in a rainsuit or snowsuit (or old clothes, whatever) and she crawls around, usually getting very muddy. My 4-year-old plays with trucks or digs in the dirt. We’ve planted some seeds that don’t seem to mind the early cold spring weather (arugula, kale, spinach, radish). Most days, we also go on a walk.
Make something, clean something
Something I like to add to our daily schedule is the plan to make something. Something! It could be anything: an art project, popsicles, baked goods, a fort, whatever.
We also clean. Toys get put away. Dishes are washed. Floors mopped. One by one, drawers are getting emptied and organized. Our garage and basement are looking better by the day.
Each day, I pick a small cleaning/organizing project. This is more for me than the kids. But I try to involve them as much as I can. Yesterday, we rearranged things so that the toys that previously lived in a bin or scattered all over the living room have storage space in a cabinet.
It feels good to have a living space that is increasingly getting more organized and nicer. A silver lining of being stuck at home while schools are closed due to COVID-19?
Oh yes! TV, glorious TV. We watch TV every day. No shame here! However, we try to keep TV time at a minimum (i.e. not all day) and have been focusing on educational shows (Team Umizoomi, FTW!).
We’re all learning
We’re only a few days into this strange new world. Homeschooling, not homeschooling, watching TV all day—whatever we’re doing, we’re surviving. There are no concrete answers right now. There’s no right way to handle these unusual times.
We’re learning and growing and adapting. Give yourself and your kids space. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Have faith that we will figure this out.
We’re all just doing our best. Big hugs and love to all of you as we all navigate this new terrain.