To say I was shocked when I read the announcement that Michigan was closing all schools until April 6 is an understatement. To me, it was a wake up call that COVID-19 is not something to be taken lightly. If scientists and doctors are recommending that we take this drastic of a measure to prevent the virus from spreading and overwhelming our medical system, I’m respecting that. But, man, my heart sank and my stomach dropped, when I saw that school closing announcement. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY KIDS FOR 3 WEEKS AT HOME? (*I realize I’m lucky my kids are old enough to stay home alone and I work from home. My heart goes out to everyone scrambling for childcare and wondering how they will feed their kids.)
For us, our spring break begins the day school can commence so really, my kids are missing 4 weeks of school. I immediately told them this would not be an extended vacation and we would be homeschooling. The one problem? I’m not a teacher and never have I had a desire to homeschool. I have seen several suggestions on social media on how to navigate this crazy time. I’m rounding up my favorites here, as well some things I plan to do with my children for the next month. I have no idea how this will go down, just trying establish some type of routine.
I’ve seen many homeschool schedules going around on social media. My kids are 10, 13, and 15 and this schedule from rageagainsttheminivan.com was my favorite. Some of my children’s teachers (grades 4, 8, and 10) assigned homework and on-line work on their last day at school. I plan to adjust this daily schedule to work in the “real” work that my kids have. Really, my number one objective is to not let them turn into sloths. 🙂
On-line Educational Resources
My son’s 4th grade class always begins their day with a Podcast and I’m thinking I will do the same. Loved this round-up of the 18 Best Podcasts for Kids in Elementary, Middle, and High School.
We already knew Alexa can help us out with pretty much everything, but did you know she can help homeschool your kids, too? This is a great round-up of the skills and games Alexa can “teach” on math, English, science, history, current events, geography, and languages. I think the kids, especially my 10 year old, will think this is cool.
Our local library is also closed, so thank goodness for Amazon! Reading is soooo important and I think this will be the easiest part of homeschooling to manage. Here are a few books I ordered for my kids.
Later Elementary Books
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Middle School and High School Books
The Guardian series by A.J. Messenger
In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn
All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire
Dear Edward: A Novel by Ann Napolitano
Definitely going to use this downtime as an opportunity to teach my kids some lifeskills! What a better time to learn basic cooking skills, laundry skills, and organization skills. I’m not sure what we will cook and bake, I want the kids to help me decide. Thinking cooking can count as a math and science lesson, too. Double win!
The silver lining in all of this is we are going to have lots of Q.T. in our future! The older my kids get, the more I appreciate when I have all my birdies in the nest! These are some of our favorite family games: Exploding Kittens (order the Party Version for more than 4 players), Rumikub, Mexican Train, Uno Flip and Five Crowns. I just ordered Code Names after reading good things about it. Debating if I should order Catan.
Games with a Basic Deck of Cards
Also, don’t forget how many games you can play with a basic deck of cards! We love Rummy because all 5 of us can play it. Euchre is big in the Midwest and our girls know how to play so definitely taking this opportunity to teach our son. My husband and I love to play Hearts and Spades so I want to teach the kids these games, too.
A puzzle table is another good way to encourage time together and time off electronics. Take over your dining room table that you never use anyway (ha!) or set a card table up in your family room. This puzzle and this one are so cute!
Give Yourself Grace
Let’s be honest…while I have the best intentions of sticking to a schedule and making sure my kids remain productive throughout this break, I have no idea if it’s going to work. They are already fighting me on it with eye rolls and arguments. They are definitely viewing this as an extended vacation and want to get together with friends. I have no idea how to navigate this. My friend sent this NY Times article about playdates and Coronavirus. I’m hoping having somewhat of a plan in place will help us.
Another idea I have is to have them write a 3-5 page research paper on COVID-3. Oh my gosh, even as I type that I can hear their groans. But, I’m hoping it will help them understand why school and sports were cancelled. They aren’t going to take my word for it that our everyday life needs to change in order to “flatten the curve”, so maybe researching it will curb their arguments with me. Maybe they can teach me a few things like what the heck social distancing is. Just saying it sounds depressing! But, I can also totally relate to this…
We Are In This Together
Let’s support each other and share ideas throughout this crazy time. Never in our lifetime have we experienced anything like this. Let’s take it day by day and try to remember what we CAN control. I know I’m looking for all the ideas I can to help survive the next few weeks. I plan to be active on Insta-stories with any good tips I come across. If you find anything worth sharing, please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can message us on Instagram or Facebook.