CORONAVIRUS Turned Us Into Homeschoolers - NOW WHAT?
I know, you didn’t want to homeschool your kids - for a variety of reasons! And yet, here you are with this unbelievable situation. Your stress level is probably through the roof right now. But real life social distancing doesn’t stop moms from helping each other out through the internet. I want to help you make the best of it.
Most of the time, schools will be sending home optional assignments for the kids to do. Do what you can, help your child where they are, then set it aside. Don’t let it take over your day. My best guess is that the schools will be playing catch-up once the kids all go back.
If you’re fortunate, your school has a way to communicate with you via the internet. Digital access to teachers and resources will help this time go smoothly. Remember too, that even if you don’t have Ipads sent home from school, most of our phones can access anything we need. We truly are in the Digital Age - and sometimes it takes a disaster to motivate us out of our inertia and embrace it.
I want to give you some resources to help you relax and enjoy your time with your children. Interestingly, by doing this, they will continue to learn and grow and develop! No teaching degree required! ;)
Decrease the Stress!
Do what you can to minimize the panic - that doesn’t help anyone’s immunity! Plus it’s no way to live your life! Kids often overhear their parents or others talking about the virus. But their limited life experience sometimes allows them to draw some irrational conclusions.
- Talk with the kids about what they’ve heard and/or if they’re worried.
- Take some time each day to try a little meditation or deep breathing techniques. In some areas, you are still able to go for a walk and enjoy a little sunshine. These are some ways to calm the body’s natural reactions to stress.
- If you’d like to check out even more options, you can look at these boards on Pinterest:
Reconnect with Your Kids
You may not have been with them for such an extended time (during the school year) since before they went off to school. Making time to see who they’ve grown to be, what they like/don’t like, will go a long way with parenting them as they get older. Kids can sense how you feel about them. Make sure you take the opportunity to let them know that you’re on Their Team, so to speak. Before you think, “Ohhhh, that’s just going to make them go wild or soft or something!”, consider this:
When was the last time you took advice from someone who didn’t really respect you? Or maybe something about them made them unapproachable or judgy? You simply went elsewhere for the advice, right? That’s not what you want as a parent though! You want them to come to you for all those pearls of wisdom you’d like to share. It can only happen if you create connection between the two of you. You have to build the trust. It may take longer than a 2-week forced Staycation with the kiddos. But you can maybe change the trajectory toward a better relationship.
- Here’s a book I recommend to parents with teens: Parent/Teen Breakthrough: The Relationship Approach by Mira Kirshenbaum. Yes, it’s old. And slightly repetitive. But it’s sooo helpful if you’re reaching an impasse with your teen - or if your kid is younger and you’d like to avoid that altogether!
Where’s the Structure?
We’re so conditioned to believe that anarchy is the very next unavoidable result if we slack off on “structure.” Kids don’t really need an hour-by-hour structure - that’s a school conditioning (because it’s how they do things) but it doesn’t have to be how you do. It’s ok if they sleep in or play more video games than usual. Ask them about the games - what do they like about them? Be curious. If you value the things they value, they’re much more likely to listen when you need them to do something.
Sometimes it’s helpful to plan “a structure” for the week - as a family. A big white board helps everyone see what’s going on, what’s expected, etc. Since you’re at home on somewhat of a quarantine, you might not have the appointments and sports practices that are often what a family structure works around. Instead, you may have dinner together. Or game night. Or a movie marathon. You can put it on the calendar and work around that!
One last thought on this… if your weeks at home are chaotic and seemingly without structure, do not project into the future that the kids will not be able to adapt when school rolls back around. They will. They don’t need to practice structure when it’s not needed. They’ll do whatever they need to, when the time comes.
Time for FUN!
THE best way to connect with your kids is to have fun with them! Interestingly, research shows that when a person is having fun, they’re much more likely to learn something. More importantly, it will actually stick with them, because it has all sorts of happy feelings associated with it! Games are a great way connect and learn!
- Here’s a list of games based on ages/interests enjoyed by lots of families who stay home with their kids.
- Here are some more Pinterest boards to help you with some ideas!
Some Final Tips ...From a mom with grown kids.
Let it go. Whatever it is that’s causing you to miss out on this time that you have with your kids, just stop yourself from worrying about it. Yes, they may be squabbling. Yes, they may leave dishes all over the place - or shoes, or socks, or all.their.stuff. But this parenting thing is not a forever gig. And you get them - albeit unexpectedly - for a few weeks. Don’t let the mess or the lack of structure or the growing pains distract you from the fact that you love these kids. Make sure THEY know it.
You could just label this - the Coronovirus Chaos Weeks - throw caution to the wind and lean into these kids of yours.