While we were trying to navigate the idea of the kids being out of school for an undetermined amount of time and how it would fall to me to facilitate their learning at home, we played out a few different scenarios to see what would work best for our crew.
The options looked a little something like this…
- Running a mary poppins style itinerary with a time blocked schedule and everyone around the dining room table working in harmony (wishful thinking at its best)
- Adopting a montessori inspired method of giving them just 5 tasks each day they could choose at their leisure and check off once completed (seamed reasonable)
- Completely abadoning any sense of control over them or our new normal and just letting the day unfold as it would (simply go with the flow)
The first option was far too ambitious and impossible to keep up, what with three littles, in three different grades, and three different learning styles to contend with (I think this model lasted a solid day).
The third option resulted in way too much media time, online gaming, all day snacking, sibling rivalry and a maxed out mama by days end (should have seen that coming).
So, what has been working landed us somewhere in the middle. It was obvious routine was keeping us all grounded and from completey going off the rails. We simply needed to find a balance we could all live with.
Just enough structure for the kids to accomplish the goals set out by their respective teachers, balanced with some pockets for play, creativity, movement, and the ever essential downtime.
I decided to create a roadmap for what our Weekday Routine could entail and came up with the following.
8-9 Morning Routine + Reading
Kids wake up, wash up, read quietly in bed or around the house. We also aim to get dressed and eat breakfast during this first hour of their day.
9-10 Meditation + Movement
This is where we will move our bodies with a little yoga, stretching and do the activities their physical education teachers have suggested.
930-11 Home Learning
Our distance learning program sent by their teachers begins. Teachers send daily assignments for Writing, Math, Science + Social Studies.
11-1230 Free Time + Lunch
Time for a break. The kids enjoy a little free time to play, go on media or go outside. We’ll also eat our lunch during this time.
1230-130 Get Creative
My kiddos love to craft and create. Anything goes – painting, drawing, sewing, building, working with clay, or even baking in the kitchen.
130-2 Time to Tidy Up
Clean up our craft materials and clear our workspaces (aka the dining room table), they can also put away toys, make their bed, put away laundry, etc.
2-230 Practice + Progress
The kids all enjoy sport and love to stay active. So I carved a little spot into their day where they can focus on skills + drills that compliment their sport.
Since I’m a visual person, I also created this playful infographic using Canva. You can print this one to follow yourself or create your own here. We’ve posted it on the fridge and now my littles are able to follow the path to complete their daily tasks and reach the “you did it” finish line.
Keeping the kids in a routine should help them transition back to school a little more smoothly and definitely keeps our world a little less chaotic around here too.
The kids also loved the checklist idea as it gives them a sense of accomplishment with each task completed. So I downloaded this printable worksheet which is part of a free kit from Big Life Journal. I inserted them into a page protector so we can resuse them daily with dry erase markers. We just update the workload sent by their teachers each morning.
We are officially into week two of our weekday routine (and home learning) and it seems to be going well. I have even found some time for myself during their breaks and downtime where I can read emails, sneak in some writing, or check off an item on my own to do list.
I have no idea if this method is going to hold and it certainly won’t be perfect, but what I have found is that when I feel like I’m coming apart at the seams having routines and rituals to keep us all focused is a good thing.
P.S. Big Life Journal has created this awesome Stay-At-Home Care Package full of games, activities, projects and boredom busters for kids of all ages. The kids and I are big fans of their Big Life Podcast, journals and printable worksheets.