Like a lot of parents around the world, my kids will be home from school for at least 3 weeks but most likely more. One of those weeks would have been spring break and the getaway we planned is not happening.
With growing cases of COVID-19 in the US, many schools have closed. Most companies are allowing their employees to work from home. And a good portion of people (like myself) already work from home.
So, there are many households walking that fine line between homeschooling and working. Here are the 10 things we are planning to do to allow the kids to learn and us to work while taking advantage of being homebound.
1. Practice social distancing
I’ve been reading articles about the coronavirus and what we should be doing to help keep the virus from spreading. This article on Medium helped me understand social distancing. But I wasn’t sure how far I should take it. Then a friend sent me these two articles, like this one, which made us decide to keep a distance from others.
It’s not easy to stay away from friends and change our lifestyles, especially when we have more time than ever with so many events canceled. But I feel responsible to my community to do all I can to help lower the number of cases, so our healthcare system is not overburdened.
So, we are sticking together in this house except for walks outside and trips to the grocery store (me). We are talking to our kids about why we are doing this and being there for them as they mourn no baseball, seeing friends, and canceled events.
2. Batch cook
I braved the grocery stores on Friday, the day we heard about the school closures. I’ve never seen anything like it! I made sure I had lots of food to batch cook and enough frozen items to keep things interesting.
Hopefully, the stores will stop looking like this!
3. Make a daily schedule together
One thing that schools do very well is scheduling time for learning. So we sat down together Sunday to make a schedule of our days together.
This wasn’t easy to do and there was lots of push back but we finally settled on times to do school work, get outside, be creative, free time and screens.
Feel free to download the PDF I created.
4. Include outside walks and physical activity
Finding ways to get fresh air and exercise is a priority. So as stated above, we will have two times each day we get outside. This can be a walk or walk/jog, bike riding or just playing outside in our backyard.
I’ve decided to take a break from group exercise classes at the gym where I usually strength train. So, I’ll be doing exercise on YouTube (yoga too). I have some dumbells but will also be doing exercises that use bodyweight. I did this upper body workout with Big A on Monday.
I just found out Corepower yoga is offering free classes online.
5. Cook, bake and come up with new food ideas together
Life gets so busy it can be hard to consistently get kids in the kitchen. My attempts can be met with, “but I have homework,” or “I have to practice X.” But with everything on hold, this provides an opportunity.
So, we will be spending time cooking meals together. It’s a great time to come up with new ideas for lunches and dinners. These will need to be simple because trips to the grocery store will be limited. But we have the basics, which is really all you need.
See podcast #23: Kids in the Kitchen with Katie Kimball
6. Clean as a team
This goes hand in hand with number 5. With fewer demands on my kids, we can do more cleaning together. For example, I often finish breakfast dishes after they leave because my daughter starts school so early. My son is always running around trying to get ready for school and tends to leave a trail of mess.
So, we will clean together after each meal and pick up after ourselves all day. It will be clean as you go.
7. Work on neglected home projects
Without events to go to on the weekends, there’s finally time to dedicate to home projects. On Saturday I went through both my kids’ closets with each of them. I plan to do my own as well and finally go through the last boxes from our move over two years ago!
Then there’s organizing photos and making photo albums. And what about all those videos? These more extensive projects take time and attempts are usually interrupted by life events. I have my list of home projects and will be tackling them with vigor on the weekends.
8. Spend quality time together
One potential positive to come from this is families can turn inward. For the teen totally into his friends, being home provides an opportunity to connect to his parents. The kid who’s been troubled at school may open up about what’s going on.
This time together reminds us of what is important, and it gives us the ability to take a step back in our lives and reflect. Once we move past this, children and adolescents are more likely to appreciate what they took for granted like seeing friends at school every day
We are going to spend time playing board and card games. We are making a list of movies we want to see for our nights together. We’ve already laughed (and cried) a lot together.
9. Utilize technology
There has never been a better time to stay connected through technology. We will use Facetime to see and talk to friends and family. And Khan Academy has free courses to extend learning. There are free resources at Scholastic.com for students of all grade levels. And go ahead and learn anything over at YouTube. There are also virtual tours of the world’s best museums.
Zoom is offering their online conferencing service for free teachers, which is something my kids’ piano teacher is offering her students.
Although it’s not as good as the real thing, technology can be a godsend during times people are stuck at home.
10. Catch up with friends
You know what it’s like to play phone tag with someone until you finally give up. But now that most people are home, why not catch up on the phone? I admit that I text more than talk on the phone these days. But I will spend some time connecting with friends and I will encourage my kids to do the same.
I wish all of this wasn’t happening, but I believe there is always something good that can come from a crisis. I’m simply trying to make the best of my family hunkering down at home.
If you are home with kids, what are you doing to help make it work?