Diana B., Ventura County, CA
What was your greatest struggle when it came to crisis schooling?
As a middle school teacher myself, it was challenging to manage my 4 year old’s preschool meetings, my 7 year old’s meetings, my staff meetings and my students’ meetings. I felt off on the days we all had to be on our devices for long periods of time.
What resources did you utilize to help you on your unexpected homeschool journey?
I ran to Target and purchased a few different workbooks, one was for art activities, one was a Brain Quest, and the other was a Scholastic. We read on Epic and watched many read alouds on YouTube. My eldest daughter would search for art videos on YouTube daily and my 4 year old liked to do Cosmic Kids Yoga. My daughter’s teachers also had many online resources for us to use and she had weekly assignments that needed to be submitted. Our goal was to also take a bike ride daily or walk our green belt.
You are also a teacher and working from home. What challenges did this entail?
I had to be creative in motivating my middle school students to want to log on to class. My attendance was not great. I would host class later on in the day because I noticed the later we would start the more kids would log on. I purchased gift cards for kids with the highest attendance and mailed out awards. I also spent a few hours a week calling home and emailing parents to see how I could help.
How did you find balance and time for self-care in the midst of daily life as an unexpected homeschooling parent?
My goal each day was to do something for myself so I would not feel overwhelmed. If I start my day grounding for just a few minutes & journaling in my front yard each morning then my day went better. At night I would take an epsom salt bath and after I put my girls down I would meditate.
In a perfect world, what does your ideal homeschool day look like?
I would wake up before my girls to ground and get our table set up with all materials ready for them to learn. We would start reading at 9 and my girls would be excited to participate and learn. We would cover reading, writing, math, science, history, and art. We would have time to take many breaks and enjoy nature daily.
But in reality, what did your typical day look like?
I would wake up with my girls around 8. We would start our school day around 10 on days we did not have meetings. We started out well and when we hit week 3 my eldest was no longer interested.
What are your top 3 favorite books to read to your kids?
We love all the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’ Connor, Skippyjon Jones by Judith Byron Schachner, and Say Something by Peter H Reynolds.
And finally, what were your best homeschooling memories?
As hard as it was to find a system and structure that worked for us with all that we had to balance, I cherished being home with my girls and working outside in the sunshine. It was a blessing.