How’s your school’s online learning going? Yeah, it sucks for me too.
If you’ve had days where you want to pull your hair out and throw the computer off the deck, I’m right there with you.
I love our teachers. Like seriously adore them. However, they were not prepared for this online learning thing (not their fault).
Top it off with teachers trying to teach their own kids at home and work with online learning systems they were not familiar with before this whole mess, and their lives are as crazy as ours.
This isn’t what I imagined “homeschooling” to be like
I love having my kids home. Summers are my favorite because of all the quality time we get. The days are unstructured, we read, we play outside, and we learn through life.
Last year, we did a three-week tour of three National Parks, and they still, a year later, talk about what they learned.
I always imagined if I did homeschool, it would look like our summers.
We would have formal learning moments, but much of what we learned would be hands-on, direct observation, and flexible to allow for changing moods and interests.
However, when trying to work with a school without everyone being together, I often feel like I am trying to push a large square peg through a small round hole. It’s not working for us.
So, what did I decide on the last two days that finally got us into a groove?
Ways we’ve made “virtual schooling” a little easier:
1 – We stopped stressing about doing ALL the assignments.
It’s weird. We are the type of people that do the homework because it was assigned. But that’s dumb. I would never do that in real life.
In my jobs, if I was given something that added no value, I would question it. I’m asking my kids to do the same.
If they are given a “worksheet”, and they fully understand the concepts or are bored by the subject matter because it is too easy, then we are skipping it.
Leaving an assignment undone feels weird for all of us. However, I would rather spend my time learning something of value than doing “busy work”.
I would also rather spend the time I was using to figure out tech problems just teaching them something. (We’ve had lots of tech problems.)
2 – We are modifying the assignments.
My kids had a worksheet yesterday that covered a specific concept. Rather than sit and work through a worksheet, we took a walk in our neighborhood.
On the walk, we thought of as many words as we could that fit into that learning concept. Then, we added the challenge of spelling those words.
Assignment done. We recorded that we worked on the concepts verbally and moved on. It would be the same in a real live classroom.
3 – We play outside.
By learning at home, we have the ability to enjoy this beautiful weather we were given, 2-3 hours at a time.
If they can’t sit still long enough to do an assignment, we go play.
There is so much to be learned outside. Spring is the air. We saw a pregnant doe yesterday and talked about how babies are born at this time of year.
We talked about the Pink Moon and what it meant.
We did all this while jumping on the trampoline, running, and playing.
4 – We make our own schedule.
If we want to sleep until 8 am, we do it.
We still make our required calls, but that’s about it.
Sometimes, on the days we play outside for 3 hours, we are doing school work from 5-6 PM, before dinner. That’s the luxury of learning at home.
5 – We work around our work schedules.
If I’m working, they can do independent work, read, or play. I try to be strategic about helping them with any assignments they need me on in the morning. Then, while they work through them, I do my thing.
There have been times where I tell them to do their best, while I knock out some work. If they can’t, then I tell them to read. Reading will teach them so much, even if they do nothing else the rest of this semester.
6 – We have a quick pick-up and reset every night
Every night, for ten minutes, we all do a super fast pick-up and reset.
Computers and devices get plugged in.
Assignments done on paper get hole punched and placed in a binder to save as proof of our work.
Clothes that somehow got removed throughout the day make their way to hampers, and snack wrappers find their way to the trash.
By resetting every day, it makes the following morning a little less stressful and ready to start. Last night, we all crashed early, so we did our quick ten-minute pick-up this morning.
7 – Start the day with a quick ten-minute exercise
No one really likes to wake up and immediately get started on work. (Well, I don’t like it.) I want to have my caffeine and get my body moving in some way. I DO NOT want to work out first thing. (If you are one of those people, I secretly hate you.)
Every morning, for ten minutes, we do quick stretches or maybe a kids focused ten minute workout. It’s simple, nothing too crazy, and gets our bodies and minds in line and ready for some work.
I fought it at first, seeing this practice as a waste of our precious time in the morning, but it has really helped us focus. Try it out!
Give yourself some grace
I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I’ve shed my share of tears the past few weeks as we navigate this new normal.
However, don’t be so hard on yourself mama if you feel like your kids aren’t getting the education you always hoped they would get.
This time we are in isn’t really homeschooling. It’s not really school. It’s kind of “crisis schooling”.
It’s 2-3 months out of a school year. Find your new normal with work or your usual daily activities and having them home. Then, incorporate a little more learning each day and each week as you find what works best for you and your family.
It won’t be perfect. Every assignment doesn’t have to get done. Do your best. We are all in this together, imperfect and all. (This message is just as much for me as it is for you!)