Homeschooling at a Moment’s Notice

The one thing few parents of children who attend a traditional school want to hear: school’s closed. Could be 2 weeks. Could be the rest of the year. Thanks, coronavirus, thanks. Now, I’ve written a few times about thinking of homeschooling, so I’ve been taking this as my chance to see how it goes. Of course, I do have the guidance from his teacher who still manages to teach class virtually a couple of times a week. It’s just funnily chaotic to watch a bunch of Kindergarteners sitting at home attending school via the Internet. But it’s also so nice to see they haven’t forgotten each other or the bonds they’ve formed since August. Over the summer, I did what my mom used to have me do: workbooks. So, I wasn’t completely unprepared. I had letter practice sheets my husband and I painstakingly made last Spring, stickers, craft sticks, paint, construction paper, and oodles of lined paper perfect for beginning writers. I also had a Kindergarten workbook my husband and I decided to get a few months ago just so we could assess our son’s progress for ourselves. We’re control freaks like that. Anyways, I had some supplies on hand when schools not so unexpectedly closed. I’d been expecting it to happen all week, had even considered pulling my son out before the district made the decision for me. In a way, I was ready to homeschool. I just was not ready to have to homeschool at literally a moment’s notice. Friday morning, the school board held an emergency meeting. A few hours later, we received a call saying the district had decided to close. About an hour or so later, school let out. Homeschooling at a moment’s notice was going to be…interesting. Fortunately, the teachers had all had the previous afternoon to prepare something for the students. Of course, they only expected to be closed for 2 weeks (it’s looking like it’ll be a lot longer than that now), but at least we were given a launching pad. And I’m so thankful his teacher has been giving daily assignments and setting up virtual classes. She’s been providing books for us to read and fun activities. I really can’t thank her enough because, even though I was expecting it, I was still wholly unprepared. I spent that weekend preparing a schedule and gathering materials together. I took a look at the activities his teacher wanted the students to work on as well as what I had on hand and what I knew my son had to work on. I’m a planner, so I planned out our days. The craft sticks came in handy as I listed one item on each stick so I could put the activities for the day in a cup and he could pull them as the day went on. It’s been a week and has been working beautifully. Of course, he’s 5 and moans and groans, but, overall, he’s quite a bit more enthusiastic than I had hoped, even wanting to get started with school a half hour or more before I had planned. It’s a pleasant mix of online and paper learning, so the mix has been stimulating and interesting to him. We’re making it work and it’s been fun. Even his almost 3 year old sister likes to sit next to him and watch him work. I’m thankful, he hasn’t flat out refused yet, and actually enjoys his virtual classes. Is it too early to think I have a student on my hands? I must also thank some wonderful homeschooling moms and other bloggers for offering resources. It’s been amazing to find so much support and so many resources, especially since this school closure looks like it just might last the rest of the academic year. From Lisa R. Howeler: Scholastic Learn at Home Also from Lisa: Suddenly Homeschooling? Here are some tips and links to help you out. Sorry, she won’t be sending wine. From All Things Momma Blog (her daughter is just a bit younger than my son, so I’m really excited about the schedule she put together): Entertaining the Kiddo at Home From Moonspinner3 Books: Homeschooling and Writing for those children Also check out Miss Christina’s, especially if you have a young child. She’s a preschool teacher on lockdown in Italy, so started a fun blog sharing crafts and songs. A recent post even covered a craft you can do with toilet paper rolls. Since toilet paper has been a hot commodity, there will doubtless be plenty of rolls left over for fun crafts. Hmm…I wonder if that’s why toilet paper has been flying off the shelves? The one thing that makes me sad is that Kindergarten isn’t compulsory in California, but I chose to put him into a regular Kindergarten for the socialization. Of course, the academics are important to my husband and me, but it’s really the socialization I wanted for my son. Now he’s lost that, and I can’t help but feel sad. How has the sudden switch to homeschooling gone for you? If you’re a homeschooling parent, do you have any resources you can share? Also check out some advice from my best friend who currently lives in China and some things I actually like about having to stay home. Stay healthy and safe, everyone!