I know life is VERY different all of a sudden for kids and parents who are schooling at home due to COVID-19 and social distancing. Not to mention many of you are trying to work from home. It has been beautiful seeing authors, illustrators, homeschooling families (and tons more) sharing resources for families. And I know that educators are working ’round the clock to put together home packets and online classrooms for their students. (They are AMAZING!) For the past 6 years, I have been homeschooling with my two kiddos, and I wanted to offer something from our days that might help, or at least, sprinkle some color into your days. Here’s some fun and practical things that we do weekly, plus some simple musings from 6 years of finding our way homeschooling.
RHYTHM, weekly and daily, is essential for us. It’s that “structure”, or container that holds us. We try to start by 9:15, but you can see we don’t conform anything to time so we can go with the flow. Somedays we start with an hour walk; other days we read for an hour and a half and don’t eat lunch til 1:30. But the order, the rhythm is still the same. It changes periodically (like last week when ballet, music, homeschool group days, book club, got taken off), and then it’s fun to rearrange to find a new sweet spot that feels good for everyone. The kids helped me make this Rhythm, and they love to check what’s coming. It feels grounding. We also include a breakfast and dinner menu which helps us a LOT!
Connection Vs. Collection. It’s not how much kids “do”, it’s how much they connect, both with YOU and with what they are exploring. Let homeschooling serve your family. Don’t serve it. You’ll go crazy and be unhappy. Less is more. (A mentor shared these quotes with me and I often come back to them.)
THANK YOU. We start the day sharing what we are grateful for and then we MOVE our bodies… we do yoga (for younger kids Kira Willey’s cd Dance for the Sun has been a longtime favorite), ride bikes, walk through the forest, jump on the trampoline, or our favorite – have DANCE PARTIES!
STORIES + BOOKS. We read Aloud together as much as possible. My 11 year old is a huge reader, and still, she LOVES this, as I do. Sometimes she reads to me when I wash dishes.
LETTER WRITING. Who would not LOVE to receive a hand-written letter full of love and cheer? Especially now. We write every week. Even for book reports, Tulsi writes letters to authors. <3
POETRY TEATIME (inspired by @juliebravewriter). Bake/make a little treat, set up a fancy tea party, and get out a bunch of poetry books and take turns reading. Calef Brown to Rumi and everywhere in between. Some days we write poetry, too. This is a picture from today. Check out https://bravewriter.com/ for loads of great resources.
QUIET TIME. Every day after lunch/outside time. My kids enjoy audio stories and drawing or playing quietly. And I get time. :) sparkle_stories is one wonderful resource, subscription or free podcast. sparklestories.com
CAFE NIGHT. (or lunch or breakfast) Your kid(s) are the chefs. Menu-making, math, confidence. Yumminess, and you get a night off.
NATURE. We spend as much time outside as possible, by the river, in the forest. We read and explore.
UNSCHOOLING Time. Some days we never get to “school”. Someone gets hurt and grumpy, a hen has an emergency health issue (last week), a goat breaks loose, a glass jar shatters across the floor, one kid is on fire with an idea completely different than anything I have in mind and I cannot stop (nor do I want) to put out their light, the sky is too blue and beautiful to be inside. And some of these days surprise me big time with how much spirit and connection and learning happens.
If you have more things to add or links to share, please do! I’d love to hear, and I bet others reading this will, too. Check out this post from a friend and fellow illustrator who also homeschools her daughter: http://www.penelopedullaghan.com/blog/2020/3/15/social-distancing-resources-for-parents
Wishing you all sweet days together and gentleness with each other. Sending love and blessings from the mountains.