“Mom, can you please help me with math?” “Dad, I know you’re working, but I need your laptop for my Zoom class.” “Mom, the internet is down. Can you fix it?” If I were to spend a moment in your home, chances are I would hear questions like these.
Just a few weeks ago, life looked completely different. We ran errands, ate at restaurants, visited with friends, worked in offices, and used toilet paper with reckless abandon. If someone sneezed, we said “bless you” without taking two steps back. Today we find ourselves home all day with our families, working, and completing school assignments all under one roof. Most moms never imagined they’d be googling, “homeschooling schedule.”
You’ve probably already heard the “This is NOT what homeschooling looks like!” argument, so I’ll spare you, but it’s true. It’s vastly different. If nothing else, homeschooling parents are excited. This is what they chose to do. What most families are currently experiencing is not homeschooling. This is crisis schooling. And when you call it what it is, your strategy changes.
You’ve seen plenty of homeschooling schedules.
Schedules can either be super helpful or a burden and the difference is in how you use them. A schedule can help us clearly see how we are going to finish Sam and Sally’s math at the same time while also thinking about preparing lunch in addition to hopping on a Zoom work call.
It takes all the swirling thoughts out of our heads and organizes them into a workable solution. Once it is completed, we use it as a guide and not as the law. If we are off schedule at one point, we should show ourselves grace and pick up on what is most important.
But there is a better way.
Do you look at your original homeschooling schedule and laugh at the naïve ambition? Here’s the basic gist that will help you in crisis schooling: When determining a schedule, create a detailed list of what needs to happen in each person’s day. Plug those values into a spreadsheet and move activities around so that certain things can happen simultaneously.
Here’s an example.
From the moment Sally wakes up, what does she do between rising and breakfast? How long does this take? Give each activity a value of either 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 1 hour for each person in the home.
If Sally does her math lesson from 8 to 9 a.m. and needs your help, that’s a great time for Sam to be working on something that doesn’t require assistance, like silent reading. Scheduling two different math lessons at the same time will only bring everyone to tears. Keep playing with the schedule until you find something that works for your family. Helpful hint: schooling doesn’t need to take place only between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Be creative!
This sounds simple because it is. A simple schedule is flexible and realizes there are humans (some tiny) with emotions and needs to be served. Your schedule should serve you, not the other way around.
What have you done to adjust to crisis schooling in your home?
Karlyn Sullivan is the founder of Homeschool U Consulting, which provides guidance and practical services to homeschooling families throughout their educational journies. Drawing on her experience of successfully homeschooling her four children, it is Karlyn’s desire to encourage and enable families to experience the rich education and family life homeschooling has to offer. Karlyn has experience in designing curriculum plans, writing transcripts, navigating dual enrollment, choosing classes, and making sure students are ready for life and college.