Homeschooling Due to Coronavirus: A Gentle Temporary Routine
Are you more terrified of having to temporarily homeschool your kids than getting infected with Coronavirus?
You’re not alone friend.
I mean at least with Coronavirus, you have some sort of idea of what you’re up against – fever, cough, runny nose, fatigue, right?
Homeschooling is a completely different animal that is a sea of unknowns for your right now.
Are you capable enough? Patient enough? Smart enough?
Will your kids hate it? Will you hate it?
Will it be awesome?
We are about to close out our 3rd year of homeschooling after pulling my oldest from public school. I never saw myself as a homeschooling parent. I was so nervous that I started in July so that if I failed I would still be able to enroll my daughter in school.
I am more surprised than anyone that our family has flourished with homeschooling!
I’m here to tell you that if I can do this, you can do this – even if it’s just temporary.
Take a deep breath, and I’ll walk you through exactly what you need to know about setting up a simple temporary homeschool routine and how to actually stick to it.
What Your Focus Should Be On
If you did not receive any guidance/lessons/virtual classes from your child’s school, you may be completely overwhelmed with where to even start.
Well, here is some really good news! While you are at the helm of their education, you really only need to focus on 4 things – reading, writing, math, and their love of learning.
Reading, writing, and arithmetic – or the 3 R’s as they used to be called – are the foundation of education.
They are the core subjects that should be your main focus. Everything else should be considered “enrichment” during your temporary homeschooling.
That doesn’t mean that they aren’t important, but it does help you to prioritize in your mind what you need to sweat about and what you don’t.
Below you will find a gentle routine to follow with your kids to stay on top of those 3 Rs and do a little more.
It does not have to go in this order! Feel free to switch it up any way you like.
If you already have school work/virtual classes from your local school, feel free to just skip down to the tips on how to be consistent with your new homeschool routine.
Coronavirus Temporary Homeschooling Routine
1. Read Aloud
This is the absolute best way to start your homeschool day and get your kids primed for learning! My kids love to curl up on the couch next to me and listen to me read the next chapter in whatever our current book is.
It is a much more gentle and inviting way to start the day than putting a worksheet in front of them – which can be like a bucket of cold water to a kid in the morning.
No matter what age your kids are, they can be swept away with an exciting, suspenseful, adventurous, or mysterious book!
Besides getting your kids ready to start their school day, reading aloud helps kids tremendously with reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing skills, and increases desire to read independently.
It may also be a great distraction and new conversation topic during what could be a scary time for your kids.
Where can I find books right now?
You may be a little skittish about getting anything from you local library right now (if it’s even still open).
In order to give your kids a ton of age appropriate books while you’re staying home – without breaking the bank – I would highly recommend signing up for a Kindle Unlimited account through Amazon.
They have a 30 day free trial, so you can read as much as you want and test it out before paying anything.
****If you think you’re kids aren’t going to go for this, start by reading to them during a meal or snack time – they are much more likely to listen and be quiet. Also consider skimming through 25 Best Books to Read Aloud and Then Watch the Movie! Kids get much more excited about a book when they know they will actually see and meet the characters eventually through a movie.
Keeping your kids writing everyday is a huge core piece of their education.
This helps with everything from handwriting to spelling to grammar to critical thinking.
I personally love giving my kids journaling prompts that I get for free from LakeShore Learning Resources.
They publish a new calendar every month to their website and have all kinds of fun, creative ideas like:
“If I could grow anything in my backyard, I would grow…”
“Imagine you are an ant. How do you see the world?”
“If I could talk to animals, I would…”
It is important to tell your child what you expect for them to write – and that it matches their abilities. Some kids may write one sentence, others may write 3 paragraphs.
Some younger kids may need you to dictate their response and then they copy it.
The 1st grade/kindergarten level may do just fine with handwriting practice. Lakeshore learning also has free handwriting worksheets you can get here.
Encourage kids to also add an illustration to go along with their journaling!
Reading daily is another core piece of education that should be part of your temporary homeschool routine.
Depending on their reading level, have your child read for 10-15 minutes ever day at least.
If you can, sit with them and listen to them read. Help with words when needed.
If you have a reluctant reader who gets easily frustrated, set a limit of 5 difficult words that he has to sound out. Every word he doesn’t know after that, you will help with.
As mentioned above, Kindle Unlimited has tons of kids picture books and chapter books you can pick from to give your kids something to read.
For younger emerging readers, I would highly recommend getting the BOB books on your Kindle app.
My kindergartner loves them! I have not found any other series of books for beginning reader that does such a good job of building confidence and sticking with short vowel words that kids can actually sound out at this age.
Math is sadly a very perishable skill, and kids can easily start losing whatever progress they have made during the school year.
Thankfully, there is an abundance of resources available to keep your kids math skills sharp – without you having to be a math professor.
I personally love online math programs. They are such a fun change of pace for kids during the homeschool day and require minimum prep for parents.
Khan Academy is a completely free and reputable online math curriculum that may be perfect for your temporary homeschool routine.
If you are just looking to keep up with math facts and skills, look into Xtramath and Math Playground. They are free, fun, and a great option to help keep math skills on point.
5. Pursue Interests
This may rock your kid’s world because they are used to being told what they are going to learn every day.
A huge benefit of having them home with you is asking them what they wished they had more time to learn about in school.
What interests them? What gets them excited in school? Do some research and explore these topics online.
Google and Youtube make it too easy now to dive deep into whatever we’re obsessed with.
If you can think of it, an article or video has been made about it these days.
I encourage you to also search Pinterest and Google for any free unit studies, lesson plans, crafts, projects, or resources that go along with your topic.
Your goal should be to show your child that learning is fun, especially when it’s a topic they are really interested in.
****If your child stares at your blankly and says they’re not interested in anything – don’t quit on this. You know your kid. Encourage them to come up with something, or tell them that you’ll come up with your own topic 🙂
Tips to Implement and Stay Consistent with Your Temporary Homeschool Routine
Okay, so you may be saying this temporary homeschool routine looks fine and good, but how in the world are you going to get your kids to go along with it??
I mean, homework is hard enough, how are you going to handle all of this new stuff??
1. Make Sure Expectations are Crystal Clear
Start out in the morning by telling them exactly what your plans are going to be:
“Okay, today we’re going to read together – I’ll read then you read, knock out some math, do some journaling, and then spend some time looking into [whatever your kid is interested in].
If possible, I would even post your schedule so your kids have a visual and they turn over every card as they complete a subject.
I find this to be highly effective – even with my kindergartener.
Kids want to know when it is over, or they’ll constantly whine, “Are we done yet?!”
Here is a picture of the schedule posted for my 3rd grader’s homeschool day:
Scroll to the bottom of the post to get your own routine cards for free!
2. Keep it Short
Don’t forget that school does not need to take 8 hours if you don’t have 25-30 kids in your class.
This temporary homeschool schedule should take anywhere from 1-4 hours a day depending on how old your kid is and how engaged they are.
When they know the lessons are not going to drone on all day long, they will be much more likely to sit down every day with a good attitude.
3. Never Show Anger or Impatience
The second you start to feel your jaw tighten, shut down the lesson and move onto something else.
Nothing good ever comes from anger in the classroom.
If it helps, try to imagine that you are actually your child’s teacher and handle every situation the way you would expect a teacher in a classroom to handle it.
You wouldn’t tolerate your child’s teacher yelling or rolling their eyes at your kid, so you shouldn’t do that either.
When you can talk about it calmly, go back to the subject and attempt to work through whatever the issue was.
4. Group Lessons However Possible
If you have multiple kids, do your best to do your lessons together as much as possible.
By no means are you expected to sit with each child and go through this whole routine over and over again!
Think of your temporary homeschool as a one room school house – all ages learning together!
5. Take Regular Breaks
It is recommended to take a break every 45-50 minutes, but don’t make that a hard rule.
Read your kids and see how they’re doing. Some kids may sail through the school day and need no breaks.
Other might need breaks more often.
Tailor it to what they need and you’ll both have a much better day.
6. Have a Positive Incentive Planned
This is, in my opinion, the key to homeschool happiness.
Your child’s teacher likely already has something in place, and you should too.
Think of what would motivate your child:
- A special treat at the end of the day or the end of the week?
- Extra screen time?
- Being able to stay up a little later?
- Not having to do a certain dreaded chore?
- A small amount of money to go towards something they are saving for?
- Pretty stickers that go on a chart?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with finding out what motivates your child and capitalizing on it – it is a reward earned for hard work – not a bribe.
When my daughter was in public school kindergarten, her teacher offered an ice cream to every kid on Fridays who had turned in their homework all week.
I could not believe how much this motivated my daughter!
I have personally gone through a few different incentives with great results with my kids.
Our current reward is a huge box full of junk food that I never normally let them have. If they have 5 stickers on their chart (which means 5 days of all their work completed WITH a good attitude), they get to choose something out of the box on Friday night.
I even have a “Star of the Week,” which is the child who I thought worked the hardest and/or had the best attitude. That child gets to pick first from the box – they get so excited to see who I announce every week!
Whenever I have an issue with my kids not wanting to complete work (or do any work), I just calmly say, “Okay. That’s fine. You won’t be able to pick from the box on Friday with your sister though. As long as you’re okay with that.”
Works every time. Not getting a treat is bad, but it’s much worse to have everyone else have a treat without you.
7. Manage Your Expectations.
There is a 100% chance that you will have difficult days and you and your kids will be frustrated.
That is normal and it is okay.
It doesn’t mean this won’t work and it doesn’t mean you can’t cut it as a homeschool parent.
Every homeschool mom I have ever met has had difficult and frustrating days, so don’t imagine your temporary homeschool will be any different.
It will take a little time to carve out the details of what works best for your individual family and your temporary homeschool routine.
Recap Temporary Homeschool Routine + Free Printable!
Alright, take a deep breath and remember that you have got this!
There are families around the world who are going through the same thing you are.
Regardless, I know you are feeling a tremendous amount of pressure right now, so I decided to put together something for you!
I am combining my Incentive Chart Printable and Routine Card Printable to help you with your temporary homeschool routine!
The Incentive Chart will help you to track your child’s progress every day towards a reward and keep you all motivated!
Here is a picture of my kids decorating their Incentive Charts:
The Routine Card Printable will give you a flexible structure that will help keep your kids focused. I provided all the subjects I normally teach and I left a few blank for you to write in whatever you like.
You can get both of these printables for FREE today when you subscribe (unsubscribe anytime – no SPAM ever!) to The Simple Homeschooler!
You can expect Monday morning emails full of homeschool encouragement, tips, support, resources, and laughs!
You will also be able to reach me by email and I will do my best to answer your questions and support you and your temporary homeschool!
Sound pretty good?
Fill out the form below and get your free Routine Card Printable today!
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I love your routine, especially the incentives. This is really a good way of motivating them to finish their tasks.