A pandemic brings unique challenges to each of our families.
We might all be paddling on the same rough waters, but we’re all having a very different experience in our boats on the waters.
So, we all have this one benefit from this forced slow down: we’re offered a blank slate to reimagine our lives.
Here’s how to create a pandemic homeschool routine.
It is when we have the greatest shake-ups that we can reimagine our lives and even our family lives too.
We can reimagine our children’s education.
- What was your initial goal when you began homeschooling?
- Why did you choose it?
- Decide what value you saw in it.
- What have we learned along the way is yet another freedom in homeschool?
- What is an education for my child anyway?
We can observe our children, learn how they learn, and ponder what an education is anyway.
So let’s reimagine your daily existence.
What do you want for your family?
Instead of trying to fit everything into our world, like a full-time job at home with full-time relationships at home, and full-time school at home (all the things we included in our world before the Great Paralysis): we can determine what we want to include in our days going forward.
How do we want our lives to look?
What do we want to include in our day-to-day? Write it down.
How do you want to experience life?
I start my day with quiet and alone time. Usually, I read my Homeschool Mama daily affirmations. These affirmations help me remember what I’m all about, why I chose to be a parent, and what my intentions are in homeschooling.
Begin my day alone.
I begin my day with the kids at 0830 (on a non-pandemic day, now I let them sleep into whatever time they naturally wake). We keep the same activities during the day, but we remain flexible. (A skill we all learn as we homeschool, flexibility.)
A morning routine with the kids.
In the morning, we do a lovingkindness meditation and a little stretching or yoga and read a chapter of a readaloud. Then everyone grabs their studies, heads to a different part of the house, and hunkers down with their writing projects, math workbooks, ASL online class, or Latin study books, and we work until lunchtime.
Mandate outdoor time.
Everyone takes turns walking Violet, our Great Pyrenees dog, throughout the day. They also check our laying hen’s food and water and feed the cats. This outdoor space has never felt more valuable. It’s our outdoor home that keeps us sane, the great outdoors with many ongoing projects (like the goat barn build presently in progress).
Get outside: somehow, someway, get outdoors for a little fresh air. Learn backflips on the trampoline. Just kidding, just bounce. But get on that trampoline with your kids. Amazing exercise. Or turn on Spotify dance list and get your boogie on with or without the kids.
Create fun memories.
When we create fun memories with our kids, doing things we love or things we would like to dabble in: art projects, attacking any Pin you’ve pinned on Pinterest ever (with the kids), or searching for snails to keep a snail terrarium (it’s a thing my eleven-year-old did).
Include household chores.
Just this little bit of unhappy time, even just twenty minutes a day, helps put the kids’ free time into perspective. (And your home gets tidied, cause you’ve probably noticed, a lived-in home is a lot less clean and tidy.)
Include study time.
But practice flexibility.
- When a child asks if she can take a break for a day after she’s spent eight hours working on the second draft of her college history essay, say yes.
- If a child tells me he’s bored spitless and asks if he could just watch the Backyard Scientist videos all afternoon, I can say yes.
- If he heads toward the piano again to practice his first-ever piece, The Entertainer, I’m not going to tell him he has to get to his studies. He’s still learning.
Limit screen time.
Use screen time intentionally. If your goal is to have separate, quiet time during the day, limiting your kids’ screen time to that time of the day means you’re guaranteed a quiet time when they’re using screens.
Get active exercise every day.
Just fifteen minutes. Sleep issues decrease, anxiety levels decrease, and tension is released: stuff we definitely need right now.
Listen to your kids.
Let your kids show you what they need. That means you’re asking, you’re watching, and you’re listening.
Consider your teenagers.
What do you want in your relationship with your teenager?
- Give them a wide-berth.
- Enable them with as much independence as you can.
- Give grace. (It’s easier to give grace than get on every unkind, ill-placed comment that comes out of their mouths.)
- Learn to observe their testy behaviour, not absorb their behaviours. (Advice lifted right out of my experience, today).
What do you want out of your relationships?
Now’s the time to look closely at all our relationships and determine what we want in them. Now’s the time to reevaluate how we want to engage each of them, what we want out of them, and how we can better contribute to them and show up.
Big Emotions Journal for the Homeschool Mom
Introducing the Homeschool Mama’s Toolbox, a set of resources designed to help homeschooling mothers deal with big emotions and specifically address their thoughts. Your brain and thoughts are important tools that need to be regularly sharpened, and the Toolbox is here to help you do just that.
Incorporating mindfulness practices into your homeschool is one of the most effective ways to separate yourself from your thoughts and be present. The Toolbox includes three questions from Dr. Amen, author of Change your Brain, Change your Life: What am I feeling? What is the thought behind my feeling? What is the story behind my thought? These are questions that you can practice regularly to get the most out of them.
The Toolbox also encourages a daily meditation practice to help you distance yourself from your thoughts and just be present. Guided meditations such as Guided Meditation on Controlling Negative Thoughts and Guided Meditation for Inner Peace & Calm can help you get started.
Additionally, the Toolbox offers a Thought Care Checklist to help you deal with challenging situations that may arise in your homeschool. By considering alternative perspectives, you can reframe your thoughts and deal with the situation in a more positive and constructive way.
With the Homeschool Mama’s Toolbox, you can learn to influence your thoughts and create a better reality for yourself and your family. Download the Toolbox today and start sharpening your tools!
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