What our Days of Schooling at Home Look Like
Typing that post title still feels weird. Talking to a friend of mine we discussed how different things will be after Coronavirus, as if time has split in half, there will be a before Coronavirus and an after. The middle is messy and chaotic and if the biggest worry you have is how to come up with a schedule for your kiddos that’s a blessing. That being said, it’s still a challenge to wrangle children that are used to schedules and routine. Here’s a peek at our schedule during social distancing and what our days of schooling at home look like.
Before Coronavirus, Peighton went to school full time and Millie stayed home with me but we had a babysitter come in two days a week so I could work with fewer interruptions. Since we began social distancing, our babysitter does not come and of course, Peighton is home from school. From the start, I thought the best way to approach this new normal was to start off the bat with a rough schedule and then tweak it as needed. Here’s what our rough schedule looks like.
I created this schedule in Canva the night before we implemented it. The next morning I shared it with the girls and we discussed each activity. I know this kind of thing doesn’t work for everyone but Peighton thrives on a routine and loves to know what is going to happen next. This helps very much with that. This is a rough schedule because we do not follow it to a tee every day (in fact today we’re doing a very limited version of this and spending the majority of the day on our patio enjoying the sunshine). Some days we spend more time outside and end up eating lunch later or maybe the girls were working hard on their morning work so we didn’t get outside until 10:30 – it’s okay! We just shift things down and if we miss out on the afternoon work, we make sure we catch it the next day. The only potential downside to creating a schedule like this is that you tie yourself to it – your children expect certain activities so make sure whatever you put on your schedule is actually doable for your family.
I should also note that up until this point we haven’t had any formal guidance from our school. Since we aren’t doing online school we have more flexibility in our day.
Here’s a glimpse of what this schedule and schooling at home actually look like for our family.
7:30 – 8:00 – The girls are waking up. They are great about getting dressed and grabbing their own breakfasts which are typically cereal. Sometimes they’ll ask for a hot breakfast of pancakes or waffles and I’m happy to oblige. While they eat, they watch a little morning TV while I’m getting ready for the day (this takes me little time at all – I just grab my Coronavirus uniform of leggings and a tee) and tidying up from breakfast.
9:00 – By 9 am the girls are at the dining table ready for morning work. Morning work consists of age-appropriate worksheets, flashcards, and journaling. Peighton works independently on worksheets (I print out the night before). It’s usually a combo of ELA and math. She also has a Highlights workbook for her grade that she can work on. She also does a journal entry a day in her journal. Another option she has for morning work is letter writing and she can write to whomever she would like. I work with Millie during morning work and we do alphabet flashcards. She traces them with her finger, says the letter out loud and the sound. Each day we also do a letter book from this set I got on Etsy. Millie also has a tracing book that she works on. She’s able to draw, practice her letters with playdough, and a few other fine motor activities. *Sometimes Millie cannot make it through the full hour of morning work – that is fine with me. When she’s done she grabs a book to look at or will play independently.
While the girls are doing morning work I can usually squeeze in a few minutes to check and answer emails and blog comments.
10:00 By 10 am everyone is ready for a break and head outside. Our neighborhood has been doing fun hunts like shamrock hunts, bear hunts, and egg hunts so we’ve really enjoyed incorporating those into our outside time. I try to stay outside for at least one hour and we’ll usually get in a nice long walk. Expend some energy, get some much-needed Vitamin D and just be out. We’ll go for a long walk, ride bikes or scooters, draw with chalk, do bubbles, etc.
11:00 Once we get back from our walk the girls usually head up to the playroom while I make lunch. Since it’s been so nice out they’ve been taking a few toys out to the patio and playing out there.
12:00ish We eat lunch together. My schedule says 11:30 but we discovered that the Cincinnati Zoo does a Livestream at noon our time and it’s the perfect thing to watch during mealtime.
12:30 Creative time is everyone’s favorite part of the day. I do not go overboard here. Creative time entails anything from coloring in coloring books to some elaborate craft we find on Pinterest. More days than not the girls come up with their own crafts out of our loose parts bin (pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, beads, etc.). They also love making crafts suggested in the zoo’s Livestream like porcupines out of playdough and toothpicks or a sock puppet giraffe. A few times a week we’ll do something more involved like a science experiment or baking a recipe.
1:30 Quiet time. This is just a little relaxing time for the girls while I catch up on any work that I need to do. Peighton usually reads or listens to an audio book. Millie usually watches Jack Hartmann on Youtube or will work on a Highlights search and find. If I’m all caught up on work, I’ll join them and read aloud our Harry Potter book.
2:30 Right after quiet time we roll into afternoon work. My schedule allows an hour and a half for afternoon work but typically the girls only last about 30 minutes which is fine with me. Peighton’s school day would typically be done at 3 pm anyway so as soon as they start getting restless, we head back outside.
3:00ish Our afternoon outside time mostly consists of music, bubbles, and a lot of giggling. Sometimes I’ll bring the play dough out or the loose parts and we’ll sit on the back patio. I’ll read to them while they create. This is usually my favorite time of the day.
4:00ish We usually pack it in about 4 pm so we can clean up and get ready for dinner. At this point, the girls are ready to go play in their playroom and I’m ready to catch my breath. This is when I usually scroll Instagram, catch up with a friend, or just relax for a few minutes before I have to start dinner.
5:00ish-bedtime Matt’s usually home about 4:30 and takes over with the girls while I cook dinner. We eat together, then after dinner one of us usually gets the girls in the bath while the other cleans up from the meal. After baths, we pick a show to watch together or we’ll play a game as a family (this is a real bright spot in our day).
I know that’s a lot and I haven’t quite figured out how to work from home with this schedule more than an hour or two here and there, however, I am taking this time to be really present with my kids so I am okay that I’m not able to sneak in more work time. This won’t last forever. I just get up a bit earlier and stay up way later. If you are schooling at home right now, I’d love to hear in the comments how you’re doing. I hope you give yourself a huge pat on the back because none of this is easy!
I hope this is helpful to you. I know we are all trying to navigate some uncharted waters and it’s new to all of us. I just want to encourage you and remind you that you don’t have to do it all or be it all. You’re enough right now and your kids think you are amazing!