Are you finding yourself suddenly homeschooling this week (March 2020), something you couldn’t have imagined way back in, say, February?
Trust me: a checklist will save your sanity
My top tip, other than to focus on the 4 Rs (Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic, and Relationships) is:
Tip #1 – Have a Checklist for Every Child
This puts the responsibility on your children’s shoulders to complete whatever YOU require of them before they drift off to play soccer or text people or whatever.
You can do this today, Moms (or Dads). Sit down and write out what YOU want your children to do each day. If the schools haven’t told you yet, you can still assign some things. Write or type it out, put it in a page protector, and tomorrow they can start checking off their items with a dry erase marker. It will be messy this week. It will be messy for a couple weeks. But some structure is better than none, and you can modify as you go. Just say, “This is your new checklist this week.”
After 10 years of homeschooling (that’s not that long in homeschool years), this is probably the one thing that has brought the most peace to our home and days.
Here are samples for children of different ages. I hope this gives you ideas on how your children can learn and you can not lose your mind. I pray you will look back on this time as a gift.
Preschooler Survival Checklist Word Template PDF
Lower Elementary Survival Checklist Word Template PDF
Upper Elementary Survival Checklist Word Template PDF
Junior High Survival Checklist Word Template PDF
High School Survival Checklist Word Template PDF
If you need ideas for bedtime Read Alouds, I love Read Aloud Revival’s booklists. And if your family has never listened to the Little House books read by Cherry Jones on audible, start with those. You can’t go wrong. The Long Winter is perfect for quarantine.
Working from home?
And if you are trying to figure out how to get work in while homeschooling, here’s a parent survival schedule that fits in working from home.
That’s basically what I did when I was writing my book.
You wouldn’t want to keep that schedule forever, but it works for a few months.
Full disclosure: As neat as this all looks on paper, real life is a lot more chaotic. As I was working on this my 4-year-old was running around like a maniac, interrupting every 4 seconds, and spilling smoothie on the carpet. It happens.
The key advice I did not follow was, “Assign the youngest child an activity or pay for it later.”
REMEMBER: School at home happens a lot faster than school at school. A child can accomplish a lot in 20-30 minutes of focused effort. If these schedules look too easy to you, try them. If they work great and you are bored, add in more reading. But if you get these basics done daily you’ll be AMAZED at the progress your children make. Don’t worry if they have some downtime. Enjoy it.
Strengthening their reading, writing and math will boost every other area come next fall. They will probably make great progress if you focus hard on reading, writing and math. My kids did. I worried a lot, but I have seen over the years that focusing on those big 3 (+ relationships) pays big dividends in every other subject. You can read about science and history and write about them too. You don’t need fancy curriculum. Books still work.
Enjoy this time, friends! And enjoy your kiddos.
NOTE: if you’re wondering… my real name is Taresa Neale. When I wrote the book in 2012 the kids were younger and I wasn’t sure I wanted to put all those embarrassing stories about them out there to the world, so I used the pen name Charity Hawkins. Also, I completely made up a lot of events and people (the mother-in-law) and I didn’t want people to think those parts were real. So if you got here via a podcast, and were confused about the name difference, that’s the explanation.