It`s been three weeks. Three weeks at home with two little kids. Yes there was a school holiday in there but somehow it just did not feel like a school holiday for anyone. I felt grateful for the timing - meaning we had a "no school" period already planned in there so that definitely gave us some "normality" ,especially for our four year old. But as we moved into the third week things started to feel like school should have begun and things should be back to normal - as it would be pre Covid-19. The biggest flag for me was my four year old`s behavior.
My sweet, friendly, polite little boy was not himself anymore. The aimless days of "holiday feel" had started to become boring, meaningless and long for him. He was no longer enjoying himself. In the midst of a tearful outburst he admitted that he missed his school, his teacher and his life.
Our kids really need us during this time. This whole experience has made me realize how important it is to muster up as much as empathy you can for your little ones during difficult times. Empathy always wins. They understand that something is not normal. Their acting out and out of the ordinary behavior is also not normal. It does not mean they have become little monsters - they just need a bit of extra love, understanding and our time.
Establishing a routine every day has been a total game changer especially for our older one. We try to mimic the school day as best as we can which gives some familiarity. We wake up, get dressed and have breakfast, brush teeth and wash face and get all cleaned up as we would for school. We do our "exercise" outside which includes everything from sprints in the garden or up the driveway, racing bikes around the house or star jumps or some ball games. This really lifts their moods and helps them get rid of their energy. We then start "school". We have set up a little area in our lounge to do our "school work" which involves arts and crafts, alphabet and number fun.
Here are some websites I have found very useful to help with printable resources and ideas:
Little kids have a very short attention span and it`s important to try and remember this. We try and turn most of the learning into a game but nothing really lasts longer than five minutes. Songs are a hit and we always start the day with one. Ones with actions are fun. If you find yourself getting frustrated, opt for crafts, painting and making stuff. We manage "school" for most of the morning including a tea break and play outside, some more "work" and then lunchtime. The rest of the day is "free" as it would be during normal school days.
The idea of our homeschool is not to ensure they pass an exam at the end- it`s to get through this lockdown and come out alive at the other end. This is my aim anyway and it seems to be doing the trick so far. We just all need something to "do" everyday and this seems to be providing the structure we need and something they can look forward to everyday. It warms my heart when Ollie is excited to do his work.
The introduction of our home school has made a big difference to our little ones and I hope it can help you if you are struggling with aimless days of bored kiddies.
We will get through this, one step at a time.