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Big Kids

21st Mar 2020

Home schooling: 3 easy steps for getting started on your new home school routine

Trine Jensen-Burke

home school routine

Are you ready, parents?

I think for most of us, this week just gone sort of just became a ‘let’s get used to things’ kind of a week, no? Where we were just trying to come to terms with our new normal, everyone being at home together and the world having literally shifted on its axis.

However, from next week, my bet is that most of us are going to start to both crave and genuinely need a little bit more structure to our days – and get started on some sort of routine when it comes to both school work as well as our own work. I am in general a big believer in routines, and think that to both children and adults alike, they make us feel both more grounded and more in control.

And so – here comes a suggestion to a home school/work routine strategy – because, let’s face it, we might as well prepare as if this will be the new normal for quite some time, because I suspect it might be.

Before you inform your kids about the new routines, take a little while to actually sit down and think about what you work/school day at home will look like. What do you need it to look like? Are there anything that needs to be taken into account – for instance, are there any younger children in the family who will need a nap? What time is lunch? Do you have conference calls or work calls that need to happen? Is there something your children can do during this time to make it easier for you to manage this?

When you have figured the logistics out, you are ready to make a more structured plan, I think.

And remember, while it might feel a bit odd to write out a routine for just being at home, children (and you!) need a routine, they will miss it if it is not in place, and you will start to feel like there is no difference between weekdays and weekend – and you will need to feel like there is. We all will.

For instance, your daily schedule could look a little something like this:

One of the most important things you can do for your child (and yourself!) is to form a routine early. What will your days at home look like? Take a few minutes to write out a rough schedule. It could look something like this:

6AM-8AM: Wake up – spend your morning wisely. Snuggle with the kids, set your intentions for the day, do NOT look at news first thing – instead spend a few moments just gathering your thoughts and maybe even writing down your plans for the day.

8AM: Get dresses – everyone. Save the chilling in pj’s until the weekend. Make all the beds, and apply makeup (if you want to). In short: Act as if you were getting up to go to work – because you kind of are.

8.30AM: Breakfast time. Make sure everyone eats a healthy breakfast.

9AM: Get your workspace ready – make sure you have all you need, your phone, charger, pen etc. Do the same with your kids. Do they have everything they need? Tablet, books, laptop? Crayons, pens? Make sure you are all set for your first time-blocked work/school work slot of the day. For younger kids, who might not have a full two hours of work to do, have some quite Montessori-style activities lined up.

9.30-11.30AM: Work/school work

11.30AM: Lunch – eat together. If possible, take your lunch into the garden for some fresh air and vitamin D.

12.30-2.30PM: Another two hours of work/school work. For younger kids, this could be a time for garden play, or even some games while you get some more work in.

2.30PM: Break, a snack if anyone is peckish. Maybe cut up some fresh fruits for everyone.

3-4PM: Last bit of work for the day, older kids can do more school work if they have it, for younger kids, make this reading /looking at a book time.

4-5.30PM: Outdoor/exercise time. Head out for a powerwalk with everyone (make sure to stay a safe distance from others), let the kids cycle up and down the street while you run after them. The point is: Get some fresh air, you all need it.

5.30-6.30PM: TV/relax time while you make dinner.

6.30PM: Dinner

7.30-8.30PM: Games, TV, reading – just some slow-down time before bed. Younger kids might go to bed earlier, while older kids are allowed to stay up a little longer.

9PM: Some self-care for you, mum – maybe a bath, or just collapsing on the sofa in front of Netflix.

10.30PM: Bedtime.

This is just one example—your daily plan could look totally. Remember, the goal is just to have a plan, because having a schedule is much easier than trying to sneak in work throughout the day while you half-play with your child.

But – let’s all remember – keep your expectations low and realistic. We are talking about children, and everyone on top of each other at home, and, well, just trying to get by. If there are days when you think your children genuinely could do with some garden time while you get some work done – let them. If there are mornings when you feel like you need to fully concentrate on something without disturbance, put on a movie and leave them do it.

They’ll be fine. Trust me.

One of the beauties of homeschooling, even in these truly crazy circumstances, is that it gives great flexibility. If you had planned to do some reading with your child but suddenly find they are super into building a complex Lego creation, let them build. Honestly, having time off from school is a great opportunity for them to be allowed to play, and just remember – children learn through play. Play is vital – more so than any book and spelling and maths equation.

So, to summarize – have a plan. You will feel more in control. But also allow yourself to be flexible and remember that you are just human – and that no matter what, the kids, as long as you provide them with food and safety and love, will be OK. We’ll all be OK.