Mommies, the announcement has been done and its official as a measure to prevent spread of the deadly coronavirus, we are going to have these kids home for the next half year before the schools reopen possibly in January. It is already crazy having them home and it can get crazier for the next few months. It is important that we try as much as possible to stay sane and positive before things get back to normal, which, I have a feeling it will take longer than we expect.
Before you freak out with the addition of one more thing to manage in your life; homeschooling, remember that these little humans are our priority responsibility. Let’s not forget as parents we are our kids first and most important teachers. We need to ensure that our kids turn out to be well behaved individuals, and now academics is part of this too.
So, how do we adjust to this new role of homeschooling? At this time our best ally is a routine. Children are used to structure in school, and they view being home as one big pajama party. Therefore, to introduce homeschooling, there is need to restructure their lives at home. Kids need to fall into a schedule or routine that will help us add structure to their lives at home.
Importance of Establishing a Routine.
We are anxious during this pandemic; we are uncertain about things and we are worried sick for the safety of our kids. The kids can read into our energy and it rubs off to them. A routine will not only give the kids a sense of order and normalcy, it will also help them and parents reduce anxiety and improve our mental state.
A routine will help the children know what is expected of them, what they should be doing at what particular block of time. With this prediction of what comes next, the kids will feel more secure and safe and in turn this will help us parents manage the kids calmly. When things run smoother it’s a win win situation for both parties.
A routine should not be perfect or rigid, it should be just a system put down to help make our lives easier and help us actually enjoy the world of mommy-hood.
How to introduce a routine at home.
- The first thing is to identify or figure out a routine that will work for your kids and you. A routine that will help you feel organized and will fit into the situation you are in now, whether you are a working away from home mom, working from home mom or a stay at home mom. For me I go to work every day but, with a flexible schedule meaning I can schedule time in the kids’ routine when am actually present to personally supervise them or teach them.
- Explain the routine to the kids. I made a visual schedule to guide the kids on what they need to be doing at each particular block of time. This way they know what to do and when to do it, when it is play time, snack time, nap time etc.
- Follow the routine and be consistent. Consistency is the key to introducing a new schedule at home, because at first it will face resistance and the kids are going to test the new system to see whether they can get away with not following the schedule. Sometimes, you may feel too tired or stressed to stick to the routine, but, remember the first days are the hardest but with each day of following the schedule life gets easier. So, push on and stick to the routine as much as possible.
- Use consequences. Let the kids know that there is a consequence in following or not following the schedule. Reward when the schedule is followed and delay a favorite privilege when the schedule is not followed. For me Alexander who is in Kindergarten was the hardest to fall in line, he was always throwing tantrums demanding for breaks to play or watch TV, I would take away his iPad time, TV time or give him a time out. And now am happy to report that he is the best at being where he is supposed to be at the time he is supposed to be.
- Plan independent activities. Plan activities that stimulates their little brains that they can do without supervision. This way they can do this while you are at work, or working at home or doing something else that needs your attention. Homeschooling does not mean spending each counting minute breathing down their necks and yelling instructions into their ears. Tamara being an older child, she is more independent and needs less supervision. I let her schedule her daily routine, but at the end of the day she has to show me what she had scheduled in the morning and accompanying dated work on how she completed the tasks. Based on what she has done, she sits for a CAT that I set on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This way I can assess what she is doing and her grasp of the topics she reads independently.
- Be resourceful. Learning should be fun for the kids. Find creative ways of engaging them. Find on Pinterest worksheets that are fun, engage them in activities that are within their short attention span.
This is how my kids schedule look like;
THE MUIGA’S DAILY SCHEDULE
|BLOCK OF TIME||ACTIVITY|
|7:00 – 9:00||Wake Up, get dressed, have breakfast|
|9:00 – 9:30||P.E/ Exercise/walk||Classroom|
|9:30 – 10:30||Story Time on YouTube Kids|
|10:30 – 11:00||Snack Time|
|11:00 – 12:30||Academics||Classroom|
|Spelling/Dictation||YouTube kids’ videos-focus for the week|
|12:30-2:00||Lunch and Break|
|2:00 – 3.00||Independent Work||Nap time & Play||Classroom|
|Focus for the week’s assignments|
|3:00 – 4:00||Snack Time & Play|
|4:00 – 5:00||Creative Arts||Chores and TV Time|
|Drawing or Painting|
|Help in Cooking or Baking|
|Play dough, Clay or Plasticine|
|5:00 – 6:00||Bath time, T.V time, Phones time|
|7:00 – 8:00||Dinner, Bonding with dad (board games/ UNO/Puzzles/movie)|
|9:00 – 9:15||Prep to bed and bed time story||Chapter book and bedtime|
Our Morning Routine Learning
We start our morning with self-reliance lessons like getting themselves dressed, brushing their own teeth and feeding themselves. We squeeze in some sort of exercise before the academics starts. This leaves the kids more energized, happier and mentally ready for the day. We use YouTube kids for indoors P.E or on a sunny morning the kids take a walk with their aunty Shiro. After the exercise Alexander and Andrew listen to a story with a moral lesson or a bible story from YouTube kids. This teaches them listening skills, vocabulary, improves their concentration and memory. After the story, Alexander re-narrates it to me, immediately after the story if am home or in the evening when I come home. We then practice tenses, storytelling and sentences construction.
At 11 am, when they are alert and at their best concentration, Alexander has his one on one with me or Shiro for academics. Each week we concentrate on a new topic to focus on. For example; days of the week, months of the year, parts of the body, domestic and wild animals and their sounds and homes, shapes, careers etc. The lesson for each day would be mainly based on the focus for the week.
Afternoon routine learning.
I set up self-engaging activities with minimal supervision. Here Alexander (who is in Kindergarten) will practice his handwriting which has greatly improved from this exercise, do math worksheets which he enjoys so much, and play phonics games from his iPad.
Evening routine Learning
This is when I squeeze in fun things like drawing and helping out during baking days. In the evening they enjoy TV and phone time to unwind after the educative day. When dadda arrives at day end, they engage in bonding and more brain stimulating activities by playing board games, UNO, puzzles or on a cold night they cuddle up and watch TV.
There you are mommy; this is the schedule that works for my household. The schedule is not restrictive it doesn’t dictate to the letter what they need to do each minute but, I give them a set of activities that need to be done within a certain block of time. This way everybody knows where and when to be and am loving this win in my life. I hope you also work on a routine that will work for your household. Or do you have a routine in place? Is it working? Do you want to share? Please comment and help us improve where we can.