Whether you are a homeschool mom now faced with the possibility of not leaving your house for months, or your kids were suddenly brought home because of school closures, homeschooling without leaving home is a reality many parents aren’t ready to face.
If you’re used to having your kids at school at least a few hours each day, having them suddenly come home can be a shock to everyone.
And if you are a homeschool mom used to many playdates, extracurricular activities, and co-op classes, this weird time can also be a shock to your family!
Here is how to keep your sanity and still get stuff done while your kids are homeschooling.
How to Keep Your Sanity While Homeschooling Your Kids
Give Yourself Space
After spending every waking moment with your kids, a little space can give you a little perspective. Take some time each day to spend a short time away from your kids. If you’re busy, even just making cooking dinner your “me time” can make a world of difference. Give yourself just fifteen minutes each day to focus on yourself and regroup before you head back into the crazy.
I’m a fan of at least an hour of quiet time each afternoon, no matter how old your kids are. Cooped up at home together all day, everyday means that we ALL need a break. Of course it’s most ideal if your kids use quiet time to read or do school- but remember this is about sanity and survival. If it takes screen time to get yourself some quiet time, don’t feel guilty about it at all!
Set a Schedule
Setting a schedule for your school day, and your day in general, can be very helpful for both you and for your children. Set a schedule for your homeschooling time that includes activities, lessons, and of course, the coursework. This will make sure you are setting aside plenty of time for school, but that it doesn’t eat up your entire day.
At my house, we have a loose routine each day which consists of doing school work from breakfast until lunch. Then after lunch we have an hour or two of active play, if possible. And finally, for an hour or two later in the afternoon we have quiet time. Big kids can work on independent school work, while little kids find a quiet activity- educational screen time is often allowed during this time as well.
Create a schedule, but remember it’s meant to be helpful. Many kids thrive on routine and I’m betting you’ll find that school days are much smoother when your kids know what to expect.
Another great way to set a schedule during this complicated time is by using a loop schedule. If your family isn’t thriving using a traditional, time block determined schedule then you definitely want to think about planning a loop schedule. If you haven’t heard of loop scheduling before, Tauna can explain it much better than I can -plus she has helpful free printables to get your loop on track. Basically it’s a system that isn’t dependent on hourly time blocks, but helps you just keep doing the next thing on your list. It really is the perfect choice for a family that needs to be flexible, yet also needs to accomplish school and other important things.
Stay flexible and give yourself several days, or more, to figure out what works best for your family. The biggest perk of homeschooling is that YOU get to choose what’s best for your family!
Don’t Overdo It
Seasoned homeschoolers will often tell you that most of their students spend about 3-4 hours a day doing schoolwork. If you don’t have time to do a bunch of long activities or watch educational movies to supplement every lesson, it’s okay! Don’t try to overdo it, or you will end up feeling a little burnt out and overworked. .
Remember that a homeschool schedule doesn’t look like ‘regular’ school. Kids at home usually need much less time to learn and get work done than the hours of a traditional school day. Don’t forget that a traditional school day has time built in for bathroom breaks, lining up, lunch, recess, and discipline- it’s not all academics, all day, even in traditional school.
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Take Advantage of Online Resources
Take advantage of these opportunities to supplement your homeschooling and provide that special touch to your classroom experience! Just because you’re stuck at home, doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make your homeschool fun!
Screen time can be educational. Do yourself a favor, and give your kids some extra screen time each day, especially during this difficult season. Download several educational apps and encourage (or require) that some of your child’s screen time each day be used on educational apps. This list of 20 educational apps is a great place to start.
This list of 50+ kid-appropriate, educational movies available on Netflix are perfect for educational screen time that you can count as ‘school’. These movies and episodes include literacy, math, animals, nature, history, science, literature, and more.
This huge list of online resources is really great place to start looking for educational resources that your kids will enjoy. You’ll find free educational resources, free printables, educational livestreams, virtual tours, educational activities and more!
Fill Your Kids Time
If your kids spent their days at school, plus enjoyed extracurricular activities, they may have difficulty filling their time now that they are suddenly home all the time.
While I’m usually a fan of giving kids the space to be bored and learn to occupy their own time, in this situation we may need to help our kids figure out some ways to have fun and stay busy.
This list of ways to keep your kids entertained at home is spectacular. There are several recommendations for learning through play at home, a list of virtual tours your kids can take, ideas that will help your kids learn through play, and so many more great ideas that will keep your kids occupied even with all this extra time on their hands.
If your kids enjoy creating and imaginative play these 50+ activities for kids use only items you probably already have at home. You won’t need to run to the store, or place an order before your kids can enjoy the activity.
And if you just need a break, and for your kids to fill their time with independent activities, these 21 independent activities for kids might give you an hour or two of time that you aren’t the one in charge of teaching and entertaining your children.
Here are 20 more screen free activities for kids for those days when you just can’t stand to see your kids on electronics anymore.
Do the Best You Can
Remember that during these tough times, doing the best you can is just fine.
Your kids will still get a quality education if they don’t have a fun STEM activity to go with each lesson they do. But, if you do want to spend some time on STEM activities here are 50+ STEM activities for kids that use only common household items- and most of the activities don’t require any prep work either! Either way, with or without those STEM activities, your kids are going to come out just fine on the other side of this sudden homeschooling season.
They’ll even learn the material if they have to watch a movie or listen to an audiobook on the subject instead of having you there teaching it to them step-by-step from time to time.
One thing it’s easy to forget as a homeschooling mom, is that you are mom before you are teacher. Don’t get so caught up in school work, checking off academic boxes, and this current, temporary chaos that you forget your most important title- MOM!
Say yes to the messy activities, to playing family board games, to baking together. Say yes to the extra screen time when everyone needs to veg out and take a break.
For you to give your children the best education from home, all you have to do is do the best you can! Remember that this is a stressful season of life and not your kids’ entire schooling life.
Kids are learning all the time. It might not be phonics or calculus during this difficult season. Your kids are learning life skills, independent learning skills, relationship skills, resiliency skills.. and they are going to be just fine!
Homeschooling your kids doesn’t have to be all consuming during this time. While this is an adjustment for everyone, these tips will help you keep your sanity while being both teacher and mom.