Homeschooling at a Moment's Notice - my son went to a regular school, now I have to homeschool him. It's been a big adjustment

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!

10 Comments

  • thelonelyauthorblog

    You and your husband had work books and practice sheets ready. It was truly forward thinking. Yu prepared for the apocolpyse long before anyone of us suspected something like this could happen.

    Please keep you and yours are safe.
    Be well.

    • kat

      I had a suspicion since my best friend lives in China, so I got lucky. I hope you and you’re loved ones stay healthy and safe!

  • degreesofmaternity

    Kat – thanks for sharing other parents who are creatively finding ways to instruct their children, whether already homeschooling or suddenly finding themselves in a newly-commissioned role of “teacher from home”. I’ll be checking them out. And, I totally feel your pain on the whole socialization front. I homeschooled my son for first and second grades and was honored for the experience to do so, but I always felt that that socialization piece (which I feel is so important) was lacking. There was only so much fun little old mom could muster up for a 7 to 8 year-old. And one of the first things my son said when he found out he wouldn’t be going back to school this year is that he was going to miss his friends (not the homework, of course:)).

    • kat

      I really feel for all the students who now have to learn at home. So many of them actually liked their teachers and classmates; having to be forced apart from them must be difficult. My son keeps asking when he’ll get to go back to school. It’s kind of heartbreaking. Socialization is such a huge part of childhood, but kids tend to bounce back better than adults, so my fingers are crossed that everything will be just fine.

  • ourlittleredhouseblog

    I don’t have any links to share but I have heard that there are zoo sites where kids can watch live cams of animals everyday since the zoos are closed. There are also virtual tours of museums to explore. You have to research that and maybe have virtual field trip days to all these places. Maybe get the whole class involved with the field trips and talk about your favorite parts through social media for kids.

    • kat

      I hadn’t thought of doing virtual field trips, but that’s a fantastic idea. Thank you! I have heard that many zoos and museums are doing tours and live cams, but haven’t been organized enough to track them down. I will, though, because I think we’ll need to get “out” sooner rather than later.

  • Lisa R. Howeler

    Thanks for the links to my blog, though I’m sure others have much better information than I did. I’m working on another post with additional links for tomorrow or Wednesday. Sounds like you were ready to go in many ways and I think it’s awesome your son’s teacher is able to meet with them virtually. As far as I know, none of the school districts in our area are doing anything like that and our governor just announced that schools will be closed for two more week past when they were going to be.

    • kat

      Actually, so far, your’s has been the most comprehensive with a wonderful wide variety. I look forward to the additional links; there are just so many hours in a day that need to be filled, and kids have the attention span of a fly, so I need all the resources I can get! I tried the Scholastic link with my daughter today. We did a pre-k activity about rabbits and she was riveted, so I really appreciate that one. I love that there are so many activities for differing ability levels. My son’s teacher is definitely one of those who loves what she does and we appreciate her so much. We’re also closed about a month longer than we were supposed to be and I think many more districts will be the same. It’s a steep learning curve for teachers, parents, and students, but, hopefully, the well being of all is taken into consideration. I’ve read a few accounts of parents struggling with homeschooling and of schools providing little more than worksheet packets, but, as time goes on, I am hoping the districts are able to provide students with the education they need and deserve.

      • Lisa R. Howeler

        I hope the districts will step up or do the best they can do and I think that in most cases they will. I think a lot of parents might discover that homeschooling isn’t so bad but that to do it they have to let go of the idea that it has to be exactly like public school. It doesn’t and it won’t be. As long as there is a consistent effort to learn some students might thrive even more in a homeschool setting than they did in public school.

      • kat

        Yes, that’s true. I imagine a lot of parents are about to find out quite a bit about how their student learns. It’ll be interesting to see how parenting and/or teaching might change going forward, if at all. Maybe homeschooling will get a huge boost or maybe schools will finally get the funding they desperately need.

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