It seems that the Coronavirus has impacted many areas of our life. One of the most significant maybe the school day. Regardless if your child attends a public or private school, it feels that overnight they are now homeschoolers. This transition will be big for your child(ren) and you as well. You now have another role to play, teacher! We hope that the following will make the transition easier for everyone.
Make a daily schedule. This will help give your child structure for the day and know what to expect, but you don’t have to schedule each minute. This will help set boundaries and expectations teaching your kids that this isn’t a staycation but are working from home. Things to consider when creating a schedule:
Decide how much time needs to be spent on each subject. Look at all of the school assignments and decide how much time needs to be spent on each subject each day. This will be greatly different from their normal school day.
Add a Home-Ec to the schedule and teach like skills like laundry, loading the dishwasher, cooking, how to groom the dog, gardening.
Physical Education. You can find fun yoga on youtube (Cosmic Kids Yoga is great!), walk the dog, or have a dance party. Doing these things with you kid will make you both smile and it teaches the importance of being active and healthy as an adult.
Schedule breaks for fun! Overnight home becomes school. Having breaks will keep the atmosphere fun and the day moving. These breaks could be structured (your idea of what to do or give your child choices of how they spend this time.
You may want to consider listing screen time. This can be earned, but having it listed may help your child know that they will have time for screens. Remind them that you aren’t going to make them do math during lunch, because math is for math time. Similarly, screens are only for screen time.
Schedule lunch and snack breaks.
Create a behavior plan to track progress on completed work. This could be as simple as counting how many math assignments need to be completed this week. Then write that number on a piece of paper and put it on the fridge. After your child completes one assignment, they place a sticker on the paper to track their progress. When all assignments are complete, praise your child! You can also do a special fun activity (see below for ideas).
You can also use a plan to help with behaviors. Being at home with siblings all day can be a challenge. Creating a reward system for behaviors may help encourage good choices. Create a few concrete rule (show kindness to all family members, give your best effort on all assignments, complete chores, etc). Then create a way to track each rule. You could do this by breaking the day into segments or just ask that all items are finished by the end of the day. Because kids have a concrete thinking, this needs to be visual. Making this into a sticker chart will help your child be more successful and makes it so much more fun! Make sure to reward the behavior so that it will continue. Reward what you want to reinforce!
Set up a special place that your child will work. This doesn’t have to be anything huge, but by making it fun will help motivate your child come Monday morning. Create a name plate for them (write their name on paper with brightly colored markers and fold so it stands up) and give them a cup for pencils and markers.
Name each day (Monday – stay in your PJs, Tuesday – crazy sock day, etc.) Let your child pick what the name of the day.
During frustrating moments, encourage your child to use their words. Prompt them to use an “I statement”. “I feel _(feeling word) __ because ___. Can you please?” Then encourage your child to take a break. You could put a few pillows and stuffed animals in a place to create a calm down corner.
Use timers for projects that are timed based. This will help make the abstract of time more concrete for young learners.
Reach out to your therapist if you are experiencing difficulties. We can problem solve and give specific recommendations.
Special at home activities:
Create a table hammock
Have a scavenger hunt (inside the home and in the back yard)
Play hide and seek (parents play too)
Play board games
Have a dance party
Do art projects! If you don’t have art supplies order watercolors and a few brushes on Amazon, most kids love to watercolor.
Schedule cuddle reading time
Create thank you notes and mail to loved ones.
Teach the importance of giving to others and go through all toys to give away
Set up a tent in the house, basement, or in the backyard
Create something with LEGOs
Create a fairy garden (yard sticks and hot glue)
Rearrange a bedroom
Cook or meal plan together
Take a walk or a hike
Use the classroom directory provided by teachers and encourage your child to reach out to their friends via email or snail mail to start a pen pal relationship