Parents, if you’re worried about staying sane and homeschooling during this crisis, you’re in good hands. You’re not alone. This post will help you with some simple, actionable tips on how to start homeschooling during this coronavirus crisis. (And stay sane.)
The homeschooling community is here to help you, offer you loads of free resources and options, advice and support.
I’m writing this post to add a little bit of encouragement and calm, simple problem-solving to this picture because I see far too much fear-mongering going on. Yes, I said fear-mongering.
It’s okay and totally human to be scared of the unknown. But fear shouldn’t rule your life. As parents, we have a responsibility to our children to handle fear with courage. Don’t deny it, but don’t indulge it.
Time to tackle it!
Focus on the right thing
Approach it in a constructive way, as in, put the focus on staying healthy and doing whatever builds your body’s health, rather than on not getting sick.
The fact is, ALL of life is uncertain. You could lose your health, your money, your home, your car, your loved ones on any given day from any other type of disaster (God forbid!). We don’t have as much control in life as we like to think. We have the here and now, and we can choose what to make of that.
Let’s choose to make something good out of it.
Life is hard, but being miserable is optional.
What to do now?
Obviously, don’t stockpile and fight with cashiers, wash your hands, eat healthily and don’t go hang around sick people if you are vulnerable, or have a family member at risk who is living with you. You are at risk if you have a chronic illness or are taking immunosuppressants, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Take care of yourself, just like you always do during flu season. Get yourself some immunoboosters – drink lemon juice in your water, take vitamin C, get some echinacea drops and elderberry syrup, etc. Do the smart basics. Get enough sleep and exercise.
Most of all, don’t be afraid. Fear can make you vulnerable and make you worse off mentally long before the virus ever gets to you.
Look for the good in this shutdown period.
I know, I know. You’re stressing about paying the bills, losing your job, a major global recession, taking care of your kids at home while being productive enough, etc. Those stresses are VALID. I get it. There aren’t many people who have a cushy savings fund to turn to for times like these.
But, freaking out about it all is not going to help you and your family to come up with a constructive plan or solution to deal with it all and get through it with your sanity intact.
First steps: how to start homeschooling (and stay sane) during the coronavirus shutdown
Here’s what I suggest:
- Get yourself a cup of tea, and then sit down with your family.
- Write everything that needs to be done, down on paper.
- List the major priorities and tasks.
- Brainstorm on how everyone can help each other. Write down the who, what, where, when, how.
- Meal plan – make a list of your family’s favourite simple meals and put them into a schedule. If your kids are old enough, it’s time for them to learn how to cook and help out! They could even help you make the grocery list and you can order online.
- Chore plan – again, everyone needs to do their share!
- Check out all the free resources (I’ve shared many on the blog’s Facebook page here.) that other homeschoolers are sharing and download and print what you need. Make a list of activities (simple crafts, games, puzzles, playdough, etc.) your younger kids can do, set up a quiet box to help them stay occupied when you need to work.
- For young kids, sort their toys into groups and rotate them each day of the week or every few days (if you don’t already do this). It will help keep them interested and occupied.
- List some books to read (choose from a list of classics or topics your kids are interested in) along with some movies and educational shows (again, check the Facebook page here) they could watch. Make sure your internet security is set up to keep your kids safe from undesired ads and shows.
- Create a routine and try it out for a few days, tweak it as you go. This post may help with that.
If your kids are only tiny toddlers, it may be a little harder, but try to make a plan with family and friends who are open to it. Obviously, a handful of people helping each other is still safer than everyone being in buildings full of crowds. Just do what you can.
Take positive action and don’t let the coronavirus situation steal your peace and joy.
The coronavirus situation may present you with some positive opportunities in disguise if you can stay calm enough to consider them. Here are some tips to give you more cheerful food for thought:
I know this isn’t the vacation you were planning on putting in leave for. But, mindset is everything, as the gurus say. (Sometimes that saying is so irritating, but they have a point!) Take a break with your family where you can, in between working, if you’re having to work from home or are able to do so.
Have you been missing out on quality time with your family? Time to properly eat together without the frequent interruption of phonecalls and smart devices? Time to go for walks, play board games, watch movies and just have a darned good laugh?
Here is your chance. Put the worries aside and have some fun. Worrying won’t fix anything anyway. Fun gets you out of your head and might help your brain come up with new ideas!
Try out homeschooling during the coronavirus shutdown
If you’ve ever considered homeschooling, whether it could work for your family and how you might go about it, here’s your chance. Schools are closed for a while. Talk to your kids, figure out their needs and learning struggles, and try out some creative approaches to help them.
Join some homeschooling groups on Facebook and chat with other families for some advice. Explore. Give it a try. You may find that you may like it more than you expected and eventually stick with it once the crisis has passed!
Learn something new
Be resourceful, use the time creatively. Read more books! Learn more about that topic or creative skill you’ve been interested in for ages.
Do a family challenge or a fun project together. You could set yourselves the goal of learning a silly dance together or building a model out of matchsticks or writing a family song. Let your kids help you come up with ideas. Camp out in the backyard and learn about the stars.
Grow stronger as a family
This is an opportunity to affirm and strengthen relationships with your immediate family. You have more time to talk about things that bother you and time to share really special heart-to-heart moments. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Kids grow up fast, and you might not get it again if they’re teenagers already.
If you’re a Christian family, this is a great opportunity to pray together more often, since you’re staying home more anyway. Pray for others who are sick, for medical teams on the frontlines of this pandemic, for the elderly who may feel more isolated than ever without visitors, etc. Pray to be strengthened together.
Help others in any way you can (small ways matter!)
Focus on helping others wherever you can. This is both for your mental health, and the benefit of others who may have fewer resources to help themselves than you. Contribute to funds that help others if you can. Share resources and food if you can. Let your kids think of things to make to comfort others, and you can send them off. Send cards to the elderly. Start an encouraging blog or vlog. Whatever it is that could work for you and that will get your children involved, will do all of you the world of good.
Here are some other posts that may help:
- Top useful apps for homeschoolers
- All-in-one Homeschooling Q & A
- 21 Things that make homeschooling easier
- Basic supplies you need for homeschooling
- Creating a routine that works for your family
- 27 Coping tips for parents
- Forgive yourself, dear parent
- How homeschooling can help your bullied child heal
- Goal setting – the bigger picture
- How your view of your child impacts how you homeschool (this will help with relationships)
Don’t waste your time
Don’t drown in social media, Netflix and YouTube. You won’t get those hours back. Don’t obsess over the updates all the time. Don’t let the fear eat up your very life.
You’re living. You have children. You’re a parent who cares and who is doing your best, like most other people. You’re not alone either.
Spend this time in a way that you can look back on and be proud of.
What you do with this time matters. Children are watching to see what adults will do during such crises. Let’s show them a little resilience, a little courage, kindness, patience, and some grit.
As my mother always says, “This too shall pass.”
Those words are a comfort.
How are you planning on staying sane during this crazy time? Share your tips, goals and healthy practices below. Let’s encourage each other! Also, please share this post with others. Thanks!