Wondering how to do life now that everyone is home all day long? Here are my tips to staying sane and maybe even having some fun during this extended time at home:
Get up and ready for the day
It’s oh so tempting to treat this unplanned break as a vacation, but I encourage you to not fall into that routine. Now, I’m not interested in micro-managing every moment of our day, but I do know that I feel better about myself and my family if I’ve gotten ready for the day (for me that’s showered, real clothes, and hair and makeup done). My goal is to be ready for my day by 10:00 am.
And this goes for the kids as well. They need to change their underwear, get dressed in actual clothes, and brush their teeth in the morning.
It’s also really helpful to keep my house maintained. Now, I’m not talking about deep cleaned, but just orderly. This means every morning certain tasks are completed, including emptying the dishwasher, taking out the recycling, and vacuuming and sweeping rooms that we are in all day long. See more about how I accomplish this below.
Create a framework for the day
You will absolutely need some sort of structure to your day or you’re all going to go mad. Now, I intentionally didn’t say “schedule” as I find schedules to be constraining plus I have never followed one in my life so it’s just a recipe for failure.
Instead, I have created a general framework for our day. Okay, it’s probably best described as a loose schedule. Whatever.
I divided the daytime into blocks of time that certain types of activities are done, like meals, school work, and free time and then listed what the kids can do during these blocks of time.
Tip: I have heard from homeschooling parents that the time it takes to “do” school at home is way less than a kid spends in regular school, so that should make you feel more relaxed when blocking your time. In general, younger kids need 1-2 hours of school and older kids (middle and high school) need about 3-4. Obviously this is concentrated time, not working for five minutes and then flopping around the room or punching their siblings for the rest of the time.
Here’s our schedule right now:
9:00 — Morning High 5 (explained in my Child, It’s Time to Get Off Your Butt pack)
10:00 — School/Work Block
11:30 — Lunch Break
1:00 — School/Work Block
2:30 — Free Time Block, Snack
4:00 — School/Work Block (if necessary, otherwise it’s more free time)
6:00 — Dinner
I left a lot of time during the breakfast and lunch slots as I am committed to having a completely clean kitchen before moving on to the next block.
SCHOOL/WORK BLOCK OPTIONS:
- Homework (assigned by their classroom teacher)
- Read a book without comics
- Typing program
- Online class
- PE (walk around the block, do an exercise class)
- Watch a documentary or Great Courses video
FREE TIME BLOCK OPTIONS:
- Arts & crafts
- Build something
- Listen to music
- Work on a puzzle
- Listen to an audio book
- Play outside
- Play a game
I built in a lot of choices to these lists but I do have five things each kid must do every day:
- Do the typing program
- Clean their room
- Read a book
- Walk or scooter around the block two times (our loop is about one mile)
- Do something creative
Our primary goal for our three older kids is that they are able to type 50+ words a minute by the end of this pandemic thing. That’s honestly the only thing we really care about when it comes to their schooling during this time.
Make sure everyone is working
The more you’re home, the more your house is going to get trashed and I know that when my house is a disaster, I am not fun to be around.
The good news is that if your kids are older than three, they can help keep your home maintained. And the easiest way I’ve found to getting my kids ready for the day, working a bit, and keeping the home generally maintained is following the Child, It’s Time to Get Off Your Butt system.
This is a system that gets your kids (and you) up in the morning, dressed and ready for the day, and your home maintained, all without words coming out of your mouth or an elaborate color-coded daily schedule chart.
The most important thing you can do to manage your new schedule is to adapt it to fit you and your kids. Your children may need more structure than mine. You may need more structure as well. Just remember that you’re doing a great job even if you’re not dominating it in every area of your life.
If you’re more of a visual/auditory processor, I did a quick Facebook Live on how we are implementing all of this! Watch below:
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