Are you a parent suddenly thrown into the sea of homeschooling? Or, maybe you’re a homeschooling veteran trying to manage the changes to your system during the quarantine? Either way, these ideas for how to manage school-at-home schedules are for you!
How to Manage School-At-Home Schedules
1. Pick a shorter pocket of time to homeschool & teach multiple grades of kids at once.
Schools need more time because they are teaching large groups of kids. You’re not. Your kids are getting more individualized time. Do not think you need to school for 6-8 hours a day. 1-2 hours for kindergarten to second grade and 3-4 hours for the other grades is plenty. You are giving individualized attention. Your kids ARE getting what they need.
Once you’ve picked out your pocket of time, figure out ways to school as many kids as possible together. You can even combine subjects, too! How? You can study History and Bible with multiple ages by reading missionary stores. (I love these from YWAM.)
You can also do a unit study with multiple kids. I love these studies from Five in a Row! There are so many great ideas. I read the books to all my children, and then we explore Geography, Culture, Literature, Art, Science, and more together! Even guides designed for 5 to 9-year-olds take us on enough rabbit trails to satisfy even my high schoolers, and we’re all learning together!
That word “together” is key. People are amazed that I homeschool five grades of kids all at once without losing my mind. I’m actually amazed too.
I shared more details about how I do that HERE. In the video on that page, I actually unbox our books, and I give an overview of how I homeschool. During that school year, I used two levels of Sonlight curriculum to teach children in Grades 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, and 9th. And the best part is they all excel while also having fun!
2. The greatest asset to your kids is YOU.
There are a lot of things you can do for your kids, but the thing your children need the most is a mom who enjoys learning with them.
Your children’s connection with you is greater than any worksheet or assignment. Choose things you can enjoy together. Read books aloud, create art, research things your kids are interested in on YouTube, bake together, listen to audiobooks together, share family albums. Find things you all enjoy.
Spring is a perfect time to plant a family garden or grow flowers! The fresh air and being outdoors is a great way to break up a school day and counts as physical education, biology, botany, or environmental science. Plus, you can eat the fruits of your labor and enjoy the beauty of nature.
3. Understand everyone is anxious.
Take time to talk about disappointments, worries, and fear. Instead of jumping straight to discipline when your kids do something wrong, try to figure out what really is going on in your kids’ hearts. If kids are worried and anxious, take time to talk, to pray, and to relax. Jumping into “homework” isn’t going to help anxious kids.
I learned that when a child’s emotional brain is spiked, her thinking brain is turned off.
During this time, kids need a place to think, write, or draw what is going on in their hearts and minds. Writing helps kids process emotions. Writing moves thoughts from a kids’ emotional brain to his thinking brain, allowing him to process all that’s going on.
I believe in this so much, I’ve created Stay Home Journals for kids.
Get your FREE Journal here!
Of course, moms need peace, too!
Often in my day, I don’t have peace. Why? Deep down I’m overwhelmed by kids, marriage, deadlines, mentoring, homeschooling, keeping up a house … and now the quarantine. Sometimes I feel exhausted and trapped.
It’s just too much, and I don’t remember to turn to God and to trust Him. Instead, I attempt to work harder to “get things under control,” and I rush around trying to fix things. I worry, complain (mostly in my head). I refuse to seek help and I forget how to find peace in chaos.
If you’re struggling with finding peace in this chaos then this post is for you: How to Find Peace in the Chaos.
4. Let kids sleep in.
There is no need to get everyone up and busy with school work. You have all day, right? Let kids get their rest, and you can use those quiet moments to read, pray, and get your mind and heart ready for the day.
Because my homeschooling kids finish all their schoolwork during the day there is no homework at night. We have dinner together and enjoy each other’s company. Then we hang out and everyone goes to bed at a decent hour. And then, they get to sleep in. With this schedule, my kids get 9-10 hours a night, which is what they need!
Years ago I was interviewing a doctor, and she told me that most of the behavioral problems that parents have with tweens and teens have to do with lack of sleep. Teens are staying up too late and waking up too early. Because they are growing so much, tweens and teens actually need the same amount of sleep as toddlers. And when they don’t get it, they’re like a whole bunch of BIG cranky toddlers running around. I’ve found this to be true.
There are many benefits to homeschooling, and sleep is one of them. You might enjoy reading more about what I found out about letting your children sleep in this post.
5. Use this time for building precious memories.
Your kids will always remember this time … consider it a gift! As we all face this strange, new reality, we can choose to love and guide our families through the uncertainty. No matter what may come, the main thing is to remain steadfast in our love for God and each other. We will get through this together.
Do you need balance in your homeschool?
Pick up a copy of Homeschool Basics. Receive tried-and-true homeschool advice from veteran homeschooling moms Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover. We dish out practical help on getting started and staying the course. Homeschool Basics will remind you that the best homeschooling starts with the heart. Packed with ideas to help you push aside your fears and raise kids who will grow to be life-long learners.
Kristi and I believe that homeschooling can transform your life, your home, and your family. Mostly, we believe homeschool can truly prepare your children for the life God’s called them to live.
Don’t let doubts hold you back any longer. Hope and refreshment await.