Throw it away. That’s right. Throw that pretty, color coordinated daily schedule away. It’s going to make you feel mom guilt when it goes up in flames. It’s going to create unneeded tension between you and your kids. Just throw. It. Away. I get that there are some people who genuinely do thrive off those types of schedules. But I’m willing to bet that isn’t the majority of the people sharing and printing out these schedules. Those people likely already have some sort of system in place and will just be tweaking it during this quarantine period.
People are flocking to homeschoolers asking how to structure their days, what to do with their kids. Some homeschoolers, the ones who fall into the category of thriving on very detailed schedules and plans, have amazing charts and calendars and resources at the ready. Others offer up a brief list of free educational resources and call it good. I fall in that second camp.
We keep a loose general schedule. We eat around the same times, and usually even the same few things. I expect schoolwork to get done, certain household tasks like dishes to get done, outdoor time to be had weather permitting. But aside from time specific appointments and activities outside the house, we do not set a rigid schedule. For one, my oldest very easily fixates. He does need a consistent set of things to expect in our days, but giving him a specific time for every activity is a disaster waiting to happen. If I set everything into a specific time frame and then for some reason need to adjust that, the rest of our day will crumble. For example, he knows he needs to get schoolwork done during the week, but I do not say that we need to sit in this specific spot at this specific time to accomplish it. I am not even extremely strict about how it will get accomplished.
Our average school day contains about one hour maximum of structured schoolwork. They are only 5 and 6 and since I can give them direct attention, it does not take long at all to get through their workbook tasks for the day. The rest of our learning happens spontaneously throughout our day. We read directions and talk about measurements in recipes. We talk about numbers, shapes, colors, patterns, and more while playing with lego bricks. We look up species of birds, bugs, and plants that we notice while playing outside. We learn about the importance of bees as spring approaches and they express fear of being stung during play. We talk about budgeting, meal planning, and price comparison at the grocery store. We play learning games on the computer, read stories aloud on the sofa, and I marvel at my 6-year-old’s correct usage and understanding of the word “biome” while they play Minecraft. We discuss entrepreneurship and business knowledge and the value of hard work and pursuing passions when I need to step into my home office to work on the blog or my shop.
Kids are natural learners. And they are genuinely extraordinary little humans. I know that having your schedule turned on its head can be scary. I know that taking on the responsibility for their education can seem daunting, even if it’s only temporary. But if you speak of and treat your children as an inconvenience during this quarantine, none of you are going to have a good time. Use this as a chance to hang out, watch movies, bake, play outside, read together, and just get to know these amazing kids you’ve been blessed with. I guarantee that you will be amazed at the amazing humans you are raising if you go into this experience with a positive mindset that this is a chance to connect instead of a horrible inconvenience to overcome. (And no, I don’t think this means you will all live in a fairytale world and no one will get on each other’s nerves. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost it and yelled loud enough for the neighbors to follow orders some days. We’re all human and imperfect, but your children are not a burden and mindset is 90% of the battle.)