Covid-19 has children in almost every country at home so parents need to be creative and find ways to keep their children happy, healthy and productive during this challenging time. There are many options available:
Create a schedule for your day — but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to stick to it
Homeschooling requires planning and creativity .Map out days from 8 am until 4 pm by the quarter-hour.
Many parents figured that’s how it’s done in school, so that’s what we would do at home. But that level of detail applied to just a few kids at home (rather than hundreds in a school building) was too restrictive. We were all stressed out by it, transitions were a lot harder, and it kept me focused on the clock rather than on my family. After a lot of trial and error (including swinging the other way and having no schedule). Find the best schedule is one that is spacious and flexible, and builds in plenty of independent learning and play time for kids, and reliable break times for me. Here’s a sample:
Breakfast to 10 am: Play inside
10 am to noon: Group project
Art, cooking, jigsaw puzzle, work assigned by the school, multi-age learning kit
Depending on how self-sufficient the children are, this may be an opportunity to work part of the time, or it could be some designated face time with your kids so you can disappear behind your office door later in the day.
Noon to 12:30 pm: Lunch
12:30 to 2:30 pm: Alone time for everyone
Books, educational tablet time, coloring, crafts, infuriating Zoom call with Steve from accounting
2:30 to 4:30 pm: Outside play
Depending on the age of your kids, you can keep an eye on what’s happening but only get involved as needed
4:30 pm until dinner: Regroup time
TV, video games, books
Be responsive to your children’s ages
For K-5 kids, the transition to being at home is probably easiest. They may miss their friends and feel concerned about so many changes, but they will enjoy the novelty of the new routine.
Having multiple children at different ages can be challenging. Dealing with a toddler and children in third, eighth, and 10th grades, while also working 20 hours a week. Learn how to make the age range work to my advantage: Older children helped younger ones with their lessons, and the younger children prepared snacks for the family.
No matter the age, the whole day is much smoother for everyone when you connect deeply with each child at least once a day. Set up siblings with something that will occupy them so you can have uninterrupted one-on-one time.
Some schools may send home work or institute e-learning, but it’s unclear if that will fill all the hours of a traditional school day. Consider other ways to divert your curious kids’ attention that will be beneficial (and engaging) to them without you feeling like a substitute teacher.
In addition to some of the activities suggested above, take advantage of the many excellent online learning platforms, like outschool.com (which covers a wide range of topics), and brainpop.com (which focuses on the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and math).