The reality of this pandemic is seen within our own daily routines. For most parents, school closures have changed the dynamic drastically. It can be an overwhelming feeling to ensure your children keep up with their education amidst the uncertainty of it all.
But I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need to pull out all the bells and whistles or make your children sit at the table for hours on end with a detailed homeschooling schedule. A simple morning routine and homeschooling plan tailored to fit each child’s individual needs will save your sanity.
My Morning Routine With A Preschooler and Kindergartener
Since my husband is now working from home in our bedroom, everyone is up and ready to embrace the day by 8 a.m. The girls make their beds, use the restroom, wash hands, and come to the table for breakfast.
I use this time to have as much intentional and meaningful conversation as I can. So much can be learned simply through conversation. Just the other day I said to my oldest, “that scared the dickens out of me.” And she asked what “dickens” meant. Or when she asked what the word “bulk” meant in a book I was looking at.
Following breakfast, my daughters have one daily chore they must complete. Sometimes begrudgingly so, but it gets done. It varies from loading/unloading the dishwasher, doing a load of towels and folding, dusting baseboards, wiping down the counter, cleaning the toilet, cleaning the bathtub, or picking up their bedroom.
3.) School Work (and other homeschooling ideas)
Finally, we move on to school work. This is where I share a few thoughts both as an educator and a parent.
First, the educator in me wants you to know those early childhood and lower elementary students do not need to spend hours at the table to learn. In fact, I am a big advocate for learn through play.
As a parent you know your children best, especially amidst these unprecedented times. So, here is where I break my own rule. In a classroom setting, I would try to move around about every 15-20 minutes. But at home, I am mom. So having my own kindergartener get up from the table every 15 minutes would create too much disruption and chaos.
Instead, I keep each lesson short and sweet. Capping her time at the table to no more than 45 minutes. Maybe 45 minutes is way too long for your kiddo. I would totally agree. Then focus on one lesson for about 15 minutes a day, because education can come in many forms all throughout the day.
My preschooler bounces back and forth during this time. Sometimes she wants to be at the table doing her letters and numbers, other times I will read her a short book while my kindergartener works independently on something, or she will play with her toys while we finish. It can definitely be a bit chaotic, but we make it work.
Reading books is a meaningful way to educate. My girls would have me read to them for hours at a time some days. My preschooler loves to copy me as I read and my kindergartener loves to take over on a few pages.
Another great option is cooking or baking with your kiddos. It’s never too early to gain some kitchen confidence and get in a measurements lesson. They can even draw Gallon Man and hang him on the fridge!
Simple science experiments are one way to keep them engaged and having fun. Last week my girls learned about mixing a base and an acid together to create a chemical reaction. I didn’t print off any worksheets. We simple discussed what was happening as I poured vinegar onto baking soda.
Bringing social studies to life with the use of art is another fun way to stimulate the brain. Creating communities, leaders, and city workers out of empty boxes and toilet paper rolls is an excellent way to learn how cities are run.
Most importantly, let them play. Let them get bored. Let them run through the grass barefoot and climb the tree. Let them spend hours building with Magna-tiles or LEGOs, playing dress up, or building forts. They are not losing out on education. They are simply gaining it through other avenues.
We are all in this together.