Helpful Hints for the Sudden and Temporary Homeschooling Parent

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5 hints to make your days pleasant while homeschooling your kids. Get a sample schedule as well as a list of helpful resources.

Kids during homeschooling

by Kimberly Irish

From one Babywise mom to another, I want to begin this post by giving you a bit of encouragement.

By following the -wise principles, you have developed children who thrive on a routine, but who can be flexible as well. And parents, this is the moment for flexibility, right? 

Over the next few weeks (or who knows how long, really), you’re going to get to spend a lot of extra time with your kiddos, and I hope you can see that this time is truly a gift.


Read: Things To Do With Your Kids When You Are Stuck at Home


If you take on this challenge with a positive and decisive attitude, your family will likely look back on this time in their lives with fondness and great memories!

I am a Babywise mom through and through: I began using Babywise with my firstborn, who is turning 10 in two months (whoa, that was fast).

I have four children, and have used the -wise principles with each of them. I have homeschooled for the past five years, and I have learned a few things, but I certainly can’t claim to know it all!

Helpful hints for a new homeschool mom pinnable image

Making the Day Pleasant When Homeschooling

I do have some great experience in educating my children at home, and making our days pleasant (for the most part). I hope you can find something here that inspires you and gives you great ideas to use with your family!

Hint #1: Keep the right Perspective.

It can be super easy to feel overwhelmed with the sudden prospect of being the educator of your children.

You don’t remember what you learned in elementary school! You never got a degree in elementary education!

So how will you manage teaching math, and science, and PE, and history, and writing and, and, and…. 

Here’s the answer: you don’t have to do it all.

Your children’s teachers will likely be sending home lessons and activities for your children to complete at home. And if they don’t, there are plenty of free resources out there for your children to use (see “Practice your Skills” in the resource list below).

Here’s another little tidbit: schooling at home will take far less time than you imagine. You can get a lot more done in a lot less time with one or two students than you can with a classroom full of students (I was a teacher before I was a mom– I know this for a fact!).

This will not be your life forevermore, so take heart. 

boy during homeschool

Hint #2: Be Present.

Sloooooow down! Even though everything around us has come to a screeching halt, many of us are still rushing, rushing, rushing, at least in our minds.

Take a breather, drink a cup of coffee, and soak in the quiet moments.

Circumstances will look very different from one family to the next. Some families have stay-at-home moms, who will simply adjust their routines to include their kids’ activities and education, much like what happens at home during spring break or summer vacation.

Other families have parents who will need to work from home, while also balancing daily tasks such as cooking and cleaning, and teaching their children and keeping them entertained.

Regardless of your family’s situation, it is important that each child feels that he or she is receiving your undivided attention several times throughout the day.

When you are spending that time with your children, put down your phone, turn off the TV, and really listen to what is being said. You have a fabulous opportunity right now to be an incredibly strong influence on your children, because you might be the only influence on them for a while!  

Hint #3: Be Positive.

Similar to the previous hint, this is a reminder that you are the main influence on your children during this time, and you will set the tone for the day.

Look at this time as an adventure to remember together, and try to have fun along the way.

Remember that your children might be feeling scared or anxious about this entire thing, and who can blame them? Take the time to explain in simple words that we are practicing social distancing to protect the people we love and to help the doctors and nurses to be able to give their best to every person who might get sick.

Express excitement and joy over getting to spend some extra time together. Your kids will love the opportunity to spend more time together as a family, as long as it’s fun! 

Hint #4: Be Productive.

This is a grand opportunity to work together as a family to get a lot done!

Some ideas: spring cleaning, chore training, decluttering, rearranging furniture, cooking freezer meals, planning future vacations, working in the yard, learning new skills, writing letters to friends and family, reading books, and playing lots of games!

The sky is the limit!

Use your creativity, your passions, and your interests to round out your day with fun, free activities that don’t require a bunch of new supplies. Check the “Expand your Mind” category in the resource list below for a lot of great, free resources for learning new skills and exposing your children to new ideas to explore as a family.

Keep in mind that the children will be much more likely to engage in an activity and enjoy it if you engage in the activity. Take some time to have some fun and learn something new. You never know what new hobbies you might pick up! 

Four children walking down the road

Hint #5: Be Prepared.

This is where the practical stuff comes into play. In this section, I am going to provide a schedule that my family follows every day, and you’ll get an idea of how you can structure your time to meet the physical, emotional, and mental needs of your children each day.

I am also going to provide a very long resource list, broken up into several parts. Take some time to look through this list and find something that looks interesting to you.

Don’t try everything on Day 1. There simply wouldn’t be enough time for that! 

Our schedule: I have a 10-year-old (4th grader), a 7.5-year-old (2nd grader), a 4-year-old, and an 18-month-old. 

7:30 breakfast

8:00 chores and music practice

8:45 circle time (Bible, scripture memory, hymns, folksongs, and art study)

9:15 outside play

10:00 2nd grader lessons (all other kids play outside under 10-year-old’s supervision)

10:45 4th grader lessons (all other kids play in the basement together) 

–4th grader helps me make lunch while we read her lessons–

11:30 lunch

12:30 outside play

1:00 18-month-old’s nap; reading time for everyone else

1:30 4-year-old’s nap; read aloud with older 2

2:30 rest time for older 2

3:30 snack time

3:45 outside play/afternoon activities

6:00 dinner, then bedtimes

Hints for the sudden and temporary homeschool mom pinnable image

Practice Your Skills

And now, the big list. It is truly astounding what our children can learn from the couch in this day and age.

They don’t have to spend their entire time home watching Disney+ and fighting over the last roll of toilet paper (I kid).

Find some resources that look interesting to you, because as any seasoned homeschool parent knows, your excitement about a subject goes a long way toward their excitement about a subject. There are resources there for a vast array of interests, and they’re suitable for most age levels. 

Scholastic at Home

“Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin!”

Xtra Math

“Help kids master basic math facts.”

Seterra

“Learning geography doesn’t have to be boring. Do it the easy way with Seterra! In no time, you could learn to locate every single country in the world on a map.”

Khan Academy

“We’re a nonprofit with the mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.”

A Bunch More

Here’s the entire list of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings.

“The entire list of educational companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings.”

Expand your Mind

For Toddlers/Preschoolers (while mama needs to work with the big kids)

40+ Best Indoor Activities from Busy Toddler

Hoopla, Libby, and Tumblebooks– resources from your local library! 

Google Lens

Look up the name of a plant by taking a photo of it! Learn all kinds of new and interesting facts about the world right outside your door. 

Art for Kids Hub

“Here you’ll find all kinds of art lessons for kids, including how to draw for kids, even painting and origami for kids.“

GoNoodle!

This is a great resource for movement, play, singing, activities, and having a great time! Need to get moving? GoNoodle!

(Virtually) Tour a Museum!

“Experience the best museums from London to Seoul in the comfort of your own home.”

Take in an Opera! 

The Metropolitan Opera is streaming incredible performances of some of the most notable operas of all time for free each night. 

YouTube

**Be careful with YouTube. Don’t let kids watch it alone. BUT do utilize it- there is an incredible array of information and new ideas to present to your kids available for free. Some of my favorites are:

Mystery Doug: Mystery Doug is a weekly video series for elementary teachers based entirely on questions that real students ask.

Science Max: Have you ever done a science experiment and wondered “What would this be like if it were HUGE?” Welcome to Science Max, the exciting new series that turbocharges all the science experiments you’ve done at home.

Prodigies Music Lessons: The easiest way to teach young children music! Our kids youtube channel is full of interactive preschool learning videos that get kids singing, hand-signing and playing their first instrument. We sing about the musical alphabet, about Solfege, about scale numbers and colors! Your kids will learn how to play their favorite preschool songs and you’ll be amazed at how fast their musicality will develop.

Createful Kids: On this channel, kids learn to draw, paint, sculpt, and more. We focus on learning art skills & history while building creativity. We do this by giving kids choices in what they create. This promotes individual thinking and expression. Our videos are, step by step, and easy to follow with art teacher Ashley Krieger and kids.

Find Kimberly’s beautiful photography at https://www.weeirishphotography.com/

Kimberly Irish headshot

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