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Unless you’ve been living in a cave or on your own personal island for the past few months, you’ve already heard about the rapidly spreading virus hitting our world. With this understanding, I’m not going to get into what it is, not only because it’s all over the media, but because I honestly don’t understand it any better than the next random person.
Recently state governments have been taking steps to help prevent the spread of this still-debated illness. These steps include asking people who might be infected to self-quarantine, practice social distancing, banning group gatherings of 50 people or more, canceling large events, and most recently closing schools.
That’s where I come in.
If You’re Unexpectedly Homeschooling
Last week your kids were attending classes at their public or private school, and today they’re home for a few weeks or more. You could use this as an extended vacation, or you can help them stay ‘on-track’ by creating a life of learning.
Homeschool, Not Public School At Home
I’m sure your head is already spinning.
You not only have to figure out a whole new daily routine, which might include working from home or finding childcare, but now you need a way to make sure your children aren’t being adversely affected by this unexpected change.
It’s going to be okay.
Take a breath, Momma. You’ll get through this.
First, homeschooling doesn’t have to be, and in fact shouldn’t be, about trying to recreate public school at home. You don’t need to come up with eight-hours a day of table work for your children.
Below you’ll find several ways to make sure your children continue to learn even while the doors to public education are locked.
Read Good Books
The best thing to do during the public school closure is to make sure there are high quality books available to your children. These can be in the form of physical books, e-books, and audiobooks.
Reading aloud is one of the most important things we can do for our children, but this doesn’t mean you have to read an entire book in one day.
Take your time, even a little time is better than no time.
Your children should also read books and listen to audiobooks for themselves.
If you don’t already have an Audible account you can get a free trial by heading over to Amazon.
With all the different streaming options available, as well as YouTube, there is no end to what your children can learn while they’re home. Decide on a subject they’re interested in (or one they were studying when schools closed) and do a search for shows and movies that focus on those topics.
Currently my children are enjoying the show The World According to Jeff Goldblum (available on DisneyPlus) as well as videos on the various rain forests in the world.
At our house we have a closet full of board games and card games. They range from games my three-year-old can play to advanced games like Bible Pictionary. Game Wright has several games that are both fun and educational, and most are available through Amazon.
There are many homeschool families who exclusively learn through games, this is referred to as game-schooling.
Games You Might Enjoy
- Sleeping Queens
- S’ Quarrels
- Ticket to Ride
- Jumanji Fluxx
- Connect Four
There are endless options for you as a family; this is nowhere near an exhaustive list, just a sampling for a starting place.
Plan and Make Family Meals
One thing that doesn’t change is the need for our families to eat. This is the perfect time to work together to plan and make meals. Search online for recipes that would be as simple or challenging as you and your children could handle.
The point of this experience is to make memories with your children. To slow down, and do something together.
After all, everyone knows food you prepare yourself tastes better.
Get Outside (Just Not Close to Other People)
Being conscious of social distancing is the name of the game during these times of closure. This doesn’t mean you have to stay inside your house, though.
Get into the yard and play together.
Watch birds, and look for bugs.
Smell the flowers as they begin to bloom.
Spend time in nature, and remember how wonderful God’s work is.
Slow Down and Talk to Each Other
We’re a society that is constantly on the go; over-planning our schedules so there is a neverending rush to do,do,do.
Take this time to slow down. Spend mornings enjoying breakfast together and discussing whatever interests your children. Read books as you lounge around the table after lunch. Answer questions they might have about what is going on, and how you as a family can help those less fortunate (while still maintaining social distance). Our children grow up so quickly, and if they’re usually in public school you don’t get as much time together as you’re going to get over the next few weeks.
Make this time count.
Something to Consider
Don’t look at this shutdown as an inconvenience, but as an opportunity to really connect to the children God has blessed you with. Embrace the experience with joy and acceptance. Consider ways to make the long days God-centered, and remember this is just a short time in our lives.
Something to Pray
During this time of uncertainty and doubt may we embrace the opportunities to connect with our children not in fear but in praise of You.
In Your Holy Name,