Normally this would be the time when we start getting ready to go back to school. Buying new clothes, getting school supplies, planning carpools, and navigating schedules.
With the continuing Coronavirus pandemic, it seems there are still lots of unknowns and delays.
When it comes to parenting, the more preparation we can do now, the easier our life will be in the future.
So, we want to talk about some planning for homeschooling/school at home.
- Set up a Game Plan
Online education provided by your kid’s school? In-person school? Homeschooling?
Many parents are thinking about school in a very different way lately.
If you decide you might want to homeschool, make sure you are complying with your state’s education laws. Here’s a great resource that can provide details on your state’s education/homeschooling laws and tons of tips on getting started.
2. Have a Family Meeting
It’s about to go down! If your kids are used to going to school then there might be some adjusting, tantrums, and tears.
You’ll want to sit down as a family and talk about what homeschooling will look like. Assuming you’ve already legally set up your family (^^as stated above^^) will determine what sort of restrictions you have.
For example, in Utah, the parent is solely responsible for selecting how and what to teach. That means you can ask your kids what they would like to learn and cater to their interests (with the standard subjects sprinkled in there too).
You’ll also want to talk about the next topic…
3. Time To Schedule For School
Your kids are probably used to home base being for sleep, food, and play. Throwing school into the mix might be easier with a designated schedule.
Sticking to the same schedule each day can make it easier for you to prepare and your kids will know what to expect. Schedule time for certain subjects, snack/lunch breaks, active breaks (or PE), and a stopping time.
This blog offers tons of different options for schedules, like the 4-day week (with the 5th day being a field trip), the shift-work schedule, and more.
And here’s a great blank schedule to print out. You can print one per child or one for everyone!
4. Order School Supplies
Now that you have a game plan, you’ve had your family meeting, and your schedule is set up, you can stock up on supplies.
This really depends on your chosen subjects but here are some ideas to get started:
- Pens, pencils, crayons, markers (depends on age)
- Papers, textbooks (depending on subjects), reading books
- Desks, chairs
- Computer(s). Does each child need their own? Here’s an article that shows some great laptop options for kids (some as low as $200).
- Printer with extra ink. Make sure you have a good printer with ink readily available as you will be going through it fast.
5. Designate an Area
If possible, have a designated area for school. Maybe it’s the kitchen table. Maybe it’s a shaded area in your backyard. Maybe it’s the home office. Having a designated school space (just like the daily schedule) helps the kids get into a routine.
It also makes things more fun when you can shake things up, like when you head into the backyard for science/biology/etc. class to talk about grass, the sky, or insects.
6. Coordinate With Neighbors
Do you have neighbors who are also homeschooling? You might be able to set up a social-distancing type class schedule with them. You can take turns with certain subjects. Or just have daily PE/playdate type classes.
Just remember to keep them small and talk to the kids about regular handwashing/hand sanitizer. Some parents might want face masks worn as well.
All the parents will want to make sure they are on the same page when it comes to social-distancing rules and games to keep everyone safe and healthy.
7. Transition to Morning/Night Routines for Home School
Summer schedules will need to switch over to school schedules. The days of staying up late and sleeping in will need to be adjusted. Our Kids Sleep Melts can help kids fall asleep fast and stay asleep.
You might want to start a week before your official first day of school so kids aren’t super groggy as they get started.
8. Get Ready
It’s time to mentally prepare. You’re used to your kids heading off to school, but now your mom and teacher.
Make sure to squeeze in time for yourself in there. If your kids are having PE then maybe that’s your time to exercise as well. If it’s reading time for your kids, maybe it’s reading time for mom.
Set up workspaces the night before and let your kids take turns being the teaching assistant. And make it a habit to have everyone help clean up projects, dishes, spaces, etc.
And one last resource, this link includes some awesome homeschooling websites to give you ideas. One of them is called TED-Ed which allows you to find existing lessons or create your own lesson around your favorite Ted Talks.
Alright, professor, any tips we forgot? Add your ideas in the comments below!