Are you finding yourself suddenly homeschooling this week (April 2020), something you couldn’t have imagined way back in, say, February?
Can I encourage you with this? There is no pressure here. You don’t have to do it perfectly. You don’t have to even do it well.
These are unique times and school is quite far down on the priority list right now. I’d put these higher:
- You and your family’s physical health
- You and your family’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health
- Whatever work allows you to put food on the table and provide financially
- Enjoying our kids and getting to know them during this brief window
The academics of homeschool come after all that. So if everyone’s stressed and your family just needs to walk around the block in the sunshine, do that. Those are the memories you’ll have when this is all over.
I am putting these checklists out there to help you, Moms and Dads. The goal isn’t to be a super-great homeschooler. It’s to reduce YOUR stress by giving you time to work from home where you’re not interrupted. It’s to reduce your CHILDREN’S stress by giving them some structure and routine, which gives them some stability and predictability in uncertain times. It’s to give you confidence so you can ENJOY this time with them.
Preschooler Survival Checklist Word PDF
Lower Elementary Survival Checklist Word PDF
Upper Elementary Survival Checklist Word PDF
Junior High Survival Checklist Word PDF
High School Survival Checklist Word PDF
(We do school Mon-Thurs. Friday is for housecleaning, nature walks & friends.)
Adapt these to use for YOUR family. And if they don’t work, throw them out! Checklists have been very helpful for me because they take that list of 100 things that needs to happen every day that’s in my head and it delegates it out, so there are fewer things in my head. And people get their work done. And they take ownership. And it brings some order and predictability, which lowers my stress level and decision fatigue.
Checklists to provide structure and help YOU out
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.
I focus here on chores, play, outside time, and then for school Reading, aRithmetic and some wRiting if possible. The 3 Rs. But the most important R is Relationship. I have to remind myself of that because I’m so task oriented. So for me that means sitting and reading to my kids, listening to monologues about texting and puppies or specific soccer moves. I have time for that these days and I don’t want to waste it. So I pray these are helpful to you. If not, do what works for you!
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.
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 climbing trees or 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.
Also, they are learning a lot when they’re cooking, playing, trying new things. As far as academics, I worried a lot, but I have seen over the years that focusing on those big 3 of Reading, aRithmetic, and wRiting (+ Relationships) pays big dividends in every other area. You can read about science and history and write about them too. You don’t need fancy curriculum. Books still work.
I pray for many of those daily treasures that take your breath away, those moments of surprising joy. Snuggling up with your child to read a picture book. Sunlight in their hair as they blow dandelion seeds. Laughter of all siblings playing together. I pray for many unexpected treasures during this brief breath of time.
Enjoy this adventure of homeschooling, 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.