We Are Here to Help
Howdy! Beth & Kristofer here.
We’re all stuck at home, now what?
Families all over the globe are asking the same question. How does it look to have Mom and Dad (or at least one of them) working from home full-time AND the children working on school full-time? Everyone needs a computer or some sort of access to the internet, and usually, all at once! How do we make this work?
First of all, you are not alone, and we are here to help!
Some things we can offer you are what we’ve done and are doing. As homeschool veterans (over 20 years now), we’ve done the work-from-home while schooling thing, we’ve done the toddlers are running around while big brother is trying to learn his Spanish lesson thing, we’ve also had to learn very quickly this week how to accommodate 3 or more people needing streaming class access at once!
So, let’s see if we can address some of the concerns or challenges you may be facing. (If you aren’t having any of these issues, then great! Read on to another post about what to do once you’ve got your basics down.)
1. How do we keep up with schoolwork? This may be the hardest question to answer, since we aren’t public school parents, we don’t know how your schools are dealing with this. Maybe you have online classes your children have to “show up for” or maybe it is a recorded lesson you can access anytime that works for you and your child. Regardless, one key element is to keep the same schedule as closely as possible for your kids. Wake up at the regular time, get dressed, breakfast, etc. all done before sitting down to school. Say the Pledge of Allegiance and add a prayer to your morning if you do not already do it. (Now you are your own little homeschool classroom and can add prayer into your day as you want! That’s exciting!) Class work and homework are done as they are assigned just like they used to be. You may find that school does not take 8 hours like it normally would, that is okay, it really shouldn’t. Homeschool students typically spend about half the time in “school” as their public school counterparts, yet cover the same if not more material. Because one-on-one learning is occurring, the students don’t have to wait to be called upon or checked on by the teacher in a classroom of 20+ children. If you have face to face classes on the computer, this may change the timing.
2. Older kids can make great teachers for the younger ones. See who has time to listen to a younger elementary student read aloud…maybe it is mom or dad, but maybe it’s an older sibling while mom and dad are busy with another child or working.
3. Chores – make sure everyone is still doing chores and have a time to get them completed. This helps keep the house from falling apart around you and helping keep things a little in check when it comes to toys, games, school books/work all being out and in everyone’s way. Have specific places for the school work and books to be kept or put away when done for the day, so toys can be brought out.
4. Don’t forget to get the children outside, too. The virus really doesn’t do well in sunlight or warm temps, so take advantage of both right now and let the kids go play in the yard, or take them for a walk around the neighborhood. Make sure they understand the rules about staying away from others, though. This will also alleviate some of the cabin-fever that we may all be experiencing a bit of right now.
5. Recreational screen time – keep it limited or you’ll end up with some very uncooperative and cranky kids. It’s really easy to turn on the TV or stream a video or let them play on the computer, etc., but more than about 30 minutes a day is detrimental to children’s brain function and development. Since so much of their school is online right now, it may be good policy to simply nix the recreational screen time to the weekend. Also, a good thing you could try is making sure that the only screen time is family time, so the whole family sits down to watch a movie or a show together. It makes it more fun and engaging, and there’s a shared experience that comes up later in conversation. If it’s a spiritually rich movie or show, that’s another bonus!
6. Eat supper together. Everyone is actually home for suppertime! No one has to rush out for a practice or meeting and you can sit at the table and have a meal without interruptions (turn off the phones and put them away). Sharing a meal is Biblical…Jesus eats with His disciples, sinners, rich, poor, friends, strangers. Sit down, say grace, and talk about what everyone is working on, or learning, or praying for. Talk about what’s been a little stressful, what was great that day, or give encouragement to family members who had a bad day. This is the time to come together and enjoy some fun stories about when Mom and Dad were growing up, what meals were your favorites, what did you dislike when you were a kid, but like now? All sorts of conversations flow, when you take the time to allow it. Don’t rush through supper, and enjoy the fellowship of those with whom you live.
If you can put some or all of these into practice, you’ll be on your way to a (more) peaceful and fruitful time that could otherwise be stressful and contentious. And we are well-aware that it will not go smoothly, the kids will fight, schoolwork will get done less than adequately, supper may burn or be late because you are trying to get work done in the middle of cooking, you’ll forget to pray or someone will spill a glass of milk just as you sit down to eat. Life happens…but if you take it together as a family, God will be with you, ESPECIALLY if you invite Him to be.
As always, your thoughts and questions are welcome below. And don’t forget This Week’s Free Thing!
by Beth Cowles, MACE
HOO™ Co-Founder and Director of Faith Formation | Lead Catechist
Kristofer Cowles, MHD
HOO™ Co-Founder | Director of Catechetical Content | Catechist