After 2 weeks of school holidays here in Sydney, we are back to school, again from home. For some reason, homeschooling seemed to work well for us before (probably because of the fact that I had to stop working given government regulations, so I have all my time and energy for the boys!), so I’m hoping it will work again this term. In any case, I thought I'd share 6 things that helped me survive (and even enjoy) the first 4 weeks of home school.
1. Over the first few days, we set together a structure between 930 am and 3 pm, similar to the school routine. With set times for snacks (using the Alexa alarms), and trying to avoid TV until our usual TV time which is after 4 or 5 pm (while I cook dinner ) - no judgments here, we just try to avoid technology at home in general whenever we can (we don’t even have iPads), and I didn’t want to make an exception.
2. Adapting school activities according to their interests, like “drawing with Rob”, Spider-Man’s arts and craft, or even baking. Also not pushing my 6-year-old to do anything he wasn’t too keen on - but the other way around too: doing all the maths of the week if he was super interested and excited.
3. Quiet time after lunch for EVERYONE. 30min again with the Alexa alarm, everyone with a book (or playing in silence) and it’s like a recharge! I don’t know why we never tried this before. It isn't always successful but we manage to get there most days.
4. Trying to mix their activities when possible - this was probably the hardest, with 2 different ages and very different personalities! -I managed to involve my youngest in some school activities, when I couldn't I suggested something that “his teacher sent him”. He seemed to enjoy having something special and unique to do, and it was good to have him busy next to his brother so that both could focus.
5. Being flexible and leaving time for myself at the end of the day. Sometimes my husband managed to finish work earlier and took the kids outdoors, if not I'd just put on a movie and listen to a podcast with my headphones and a cup of tea (or a glass of wine). I was lucky enough to go for a walk around the neighborhood and do some yoga with a friend a few times. Even when we feel we don’t need to, it’s important to set limits and respect our own personal space.
6. Manage your own expectations! I kept remembering myself that there were no rights or wrongs as everything is new for everyone! It’s just a matter of finding a rhythm that works well for your family.
And remember, these are special circumstances, it won't be like this forever. Sooner or later we will go back to school, to the daily rush, to our routines, commitments, activities... enjoy the slow days together while you can! We can do it!