Subscriptions, art classes, exercise classes, NASA STEM activities, image and video libraries, virtual tours and field trips, conferences, and the list just goes on and on and on. It seems like everything is free nowadays thanks to COVID-19, which is quite awesome to see all the generosity out there, but at the same time it’s a bit of a drag. Don’t get me wrong, I really want to take advantage of all the neat stuff that’s available, but I already feel like I have a lot on my plate. And this whole shelter-in-place mandate is starting to take its toll on us. The first week was fun, but now that the novelty of it has worn off, we really miss our family, our friends, our local playgrounds, being able to make a quick grocery run, and traveling.
So, I’ve been trying to be more gentle on all of us. Normally we school Monday through Thursday with Fridays being our fun days, or what I like to call, my mental health days. Our typical daily homeschool routine (not including enrichment classes and Ninja Zone) starts with a Morning Time read aloud and, when we remember, a page from Mad Libs. You see, I have an almost 2 year old toddler, so if we can get at least one book or chapter in, we’re golden. I know in the future our Morning Time routine will be more productive, but until then, it is what it is. Afterwards, we have breakfast and tackle math. The kids break to play outside for an hour or so, and then come back to work on Language Arts before lunch.
During lunch we usually watch YouTube videos or documentaries on Curiosity Stream and Netflix based on whatever we are studying in history or science. After lunch we work on either science or history and end the day with art or games. Just before bed, I’ll read aloud from a chapter book and then the kids read their own books until they fall asleep. And that’s our typical homeschool day, which is pretty chill if you ask me.
But this second week of sheltering-in-place, has us all feeling pretty burnt out, so we’ve been spending a lot of time outside to compensate. We are fortunate to have a large backyard here in Southern California and a good size front yard as well for the kids to freely roam around, build forts, and more. I also downloaded a Mental Health Checklist from My Little Poppies. (If you haven’t checked out The Homeschool Sisters Podcast that Cait does with Kara Anderson, you should go subscribe now. Definitely one of my favorite homeschool podcasts out there.) The kids have been really into making sure we accomplish each of the tasks on the list, and I absolutely love how involved they are. So this means we don’t always get to our daily school work. Instead of fretting about it, I’ve just adjusted our routine.
Now we do Math and Language Arts on Mondays and Wednesdays, on Tuesdays and Thursdays we work on science (we’ll study history again after spring break) and art, and Fridays are still our fun days. Games are sprinkled throughout the week, and the kids still read nightly, because that’s the only way they’ll fall asleep. Well that, and listening to the Wow in the World podcast. I was thinking of bringing back our Poetry Teatime (another of my favorite homeschool podcasts is Brave Writer with Julie Bogart, and you should subscribe to that one, too!) for Fun Friday, but today we decided to go on a Pokemon Go ride and then made posters for a friend’s drive-by birthday treasure hunt. We also had another virtual birthday party to attend in the evening, but this mom brain FAILED and totally forgot about it (even though I had it written down in my bullet journal, on the calendar, and even set an alarm for it!) I’m only feeling guilty about this because I’m one of the baby’s godmothers.
Anyway, once I made these changes to our routine and accepted the fact that COVID-19 has altered our homeschooling indefinitely, I was able to finally relax and enjoy my time with the kids more. It’s okay not to do it all, because mental health always, always, always trumps academics in my opinion. It’s very hard to focus and be productive if you’re distraught and feeling overwhelmed. So yeah, except for the handful of free art classes, we haven’t taken advantage of the plethora of free homeschooling resources out there, and it’s totally okay if you don’t, too.
How did your homeschooling week go? Have you had to make adjustments as well?