Homeschool? What? The inner monologue of the vast majority of parents in the world chime in with their various stages of panic and it has nothing to do with the actual pandemic. “I have to teach my kids?!” or straight up, “I’m not teaching my kids,” or “I don’t know how to teach“, and the one that gets me most…”my kids will be fine.” Of course, they will…
In reality, we didn’t sign up for this as parents. I get it. We have children (for the most part) with the societal expectation that other people will take our children for more than half of the active day and rear them. And perhaps consciously and non-consciously you recite to yourself, I Didn’t sign up for this? That’s valid. I hear that. But I’ll tell you this. I kind of did. By trade, I am a teacher. A retired teacher.
In our transient hockey life, we have been presented with change and opportunity and we Carpe’d our Diem. I had babies, moved different places and retired from a job that brought me both joy and stress. But truth be told. I don’t miss it. I thought I said goodbye to teaching forever. The long-winded chapter was closed…or so I thought.
School is cancelled. Stay Home. Wash Your Hands. Avoid People. I am Kelly McFarland and this is…2020. The time is COVID19 and we are in trouble. To the severity, our children do not know. All they know today, “is that it is Monday comma March 30th comma 2020.” After a riveting overture of Days of the Week sung to the tune of The Addams Family, we talk about the weather–my most despised form of small talk…the weather, ew. I am Mrs. Mom. And I am somehow out of retirement and feeling responsible for educating my children?!
Here’s the thing. You aren’t. Teacher or not, you ARE NOT solely responsible for teaching them their designated curricular expectations. Teaching is hard. It’s a grind, and if you recall there was a massive strike where teachers were not only advocating for the rights of themselves but for the very students they “parent” every day. Your students; your children.
I want to help. I’m not a teacher anymore. I’m rusty. But I’m creative. So I’ve been sharing some of the things we have been doing at home over on my Instagram and even sending it out to those who asked. Happily. Free. And with slippers on.
I’m not particularly enthused by this big piece of meat that has been thrown on my plate but my kids are. They are obsessed and oddly annoying about “playing homeschool”. I am Mrs. Mom.
MY HOMESCHOOL RULES FOR PARENTS:
- Whether or not they will admit it, kids need mental minutes in the day…many. Set time for it. But don’t stress yourself out with timelines. (See my “That Covid Parent-Life Survival Planner” to chunk ideas.)
- You do not have to get to everything you planned. Generally, teachers over plan. You can always go back to it. It seems simple, but it can get into your head if you aren’t “getting things done”.
- Your “lessons” do not need to be rich or in-depth. You have permission to merely scratch the surface.
- You do NOT need to “homeschool” every day! Read that again.
- Don’t fear the WORKBOOK. Get yourself on Amazon or Walmart or Indigo and get your offsprings grade level workbooks.
- You can use technology- laptops, iPad, iPhones. GUILT FREE (PSA-I never feel guilty about technology)
- Go old school. Think back to what you loved to learn about. When I was a kid my favorite lessons were “Pen pals” (literacy, learning about The Beatles (music, history, tech), Titanic (history, geography)…make it fun or interesting for you. Your kids will see you love it and take a different kind of appreciation for it.
- Reward them. And yourself.
Sharing is Caring
Free Resources & Ideas!
Worry Monsters- Kids have worry. It starts early. Talk to them about worry. Asks: What is worry? What are some things you worry about? Where do you feel worry? Then share some of your worries with them. In scary and confusing times, its a great way to get them to have a good relationship with their inner dialogue AND react to situations where they might not have control. I incorporated this art activity with our “gym/health” class when we did yoga. We bring our worry monster to the mat with us. Focussing on the breath is proven to help with worry and anxiety.
You will need: Watercolor paints, Straws, Card stock, water, paintbrushes or droppers, circle stickers. Worry Monster How-To.
Movie Comprehension: The MIGHTY DUCKS questionnaire
Watch the movie. Give them the questionnaire. They can follow along and answer to sit down after (more time hehe). There is also an online version I found of this as well, but I chose to recreate the paper option to feel more “school-like”.
Writing a Post Card: PEN PALS
Talk about why we send postcards. You can briefly chat about how things have changed throughout history in how we communicate. But the feeling of getting mail the best feeling…especially when it isn’t a bill. AMIRITE?! Print out the organizer, WRITING A POST CARD and become pen pals with cousins, friends, grandparents, teachers or even a local hero like firefighters, police or even garbage disposal workers. I encourage them to write a rough copy as well. Be picky.
What you need: Writing a postcard organizer. Card stock or old blank postcards. Postage. Pencil.
Science/Health: How we can stay HEALTHY during Covid19?
Our kids know something is up. Let’s be the source of information.
Remind them why we are staying at home and away from others. Get Netflix going and head over to STORYBOTS. Go to the episode titled, “How Do People Catch a Cold?”. Yes, I am aware this is not a cold. But it sets the tone for kids to practice proactive healthy habits. If you want to get more in-depth in terms of Covid information for kids, we like a series on YouTube tailored specifically for kids. After, you can get kids to wash hands or can be a great segway into CHORES!
As a follow-up activity, we made healthy “potions” with our Doterra essential oils that would protect our immune systems and help keep “our counters and tables clean.” Now you might not have oils, but if you do want to bring them into your home, visit me at my site and we will spread the love!
**Here are additional science themes that you can explore.
You will need: Netflix, Youtube, Oils, Chore List, handsoap. Videos and episodes are linked above.
NUMBER PLAY– building a relationship with numbers has never been my forte. But we love cards in this family and we play a lot of WAR. Simply take the age-old game you played endless hours with grandpa, and turn it into an addition, subtraction, or multiplication flashcard game. In order to win the hand, you must correctly answer the equation.
There is just a handful of ideas for you to draw from. I will continue to post a few activities we do each week if these are helpful to you. Leave me a comment to let me know! Also, parents, we are in this together so if you’ve got a great idea, I’d love to try it and share!
A.k.a. Mrs. Mom.