Are you feeling overwhelmed with home-schooling right now?
I have got to be honest – the first two weeks were a blur. I wouldn’t say I’m a strict parent but my family does work best when there is a routine and so right from the start I made sure the kiddies were up early ready to learn. I had their worksheets nicely printed off and organised, ready to start the day. I also had a strong coffee and a list of tasks I wanted to complete for work. But by around half past ten the whole thing had fallen apart. I have two children – one in Year 4 and one in Year 3. Both children were unable to get on with their work without one-to-one attention and I felt myself spinning in endless circles trying to help them both whilst answering my own work emails. At half ten we broke for a brain break and I felt like I had done a full day’s work! I was stressed and feeling completely inadequate to help my children and do my own jobs – not to mention the mountain of dishes from breakfast and the washing machine still needed emptying! It dawned on me that I needed a new strategy! This wouldn’t work for however long we will be in this current lockdown for. In case you are like me, overwhelmed, tired and looking for a solution, I wanted to share with you five tips that have helped us as a family survive lockdown number 3!
- Planning is key. I never do anything without a plan and home-schooling is no different. I find a plan helps because it sets out what we have to do each day – so the kids are clear and I am reminded what our aims are for the day. One thing I have learnt is the plan is not set in stone – some days you will achieve more – some days you will just do the basics but as long as you are doing something then you are making a difference. Have a rough timetable set out with topics and time slots set in for meal times and brain breaks at regular intervals.
- Be patient – your kids may have reminded you already that you are not their teacher! I know mine have! Sometimes you will put something on the plan that takes a lot longer to complete than you thought, the kiddies might have forgotten what a 24 hour clock looks like or how to start that piece of creative writing. Take a deep breath and explain you are in this together and figure out the problem as a team. Even use teacher Google from times to time to help out with those tough problems. I always use incentives when we are working together – we collect marbles in a jar and when the kiddies have earnt enough marbles we have a family treat – like a move night with hot chocolate and marshmallows! Incentives really help to raise morale and encourage little ones to keep trying.
- Take time out for yourself – this situation at home all the time with your little ones is stressful. Treat yourself well. If anything the past year had taught me how important it is to look after yourself. Even if that means having a soak in the bath when the kids are in bed or giving yourself a pamper night and curling up with a good book. Take time for yourself to de-stress regularly.
- A bit of an addition to planning but have your goals set out clearly. One of the things I find is I am my own worse critic – I often tear myself down as doing a terrible job – but when I look back at my to do list I realise that I have gotten through 80% of the tasks I had set myself to do. So what if you didn’t get chance to encourage your nine year old to write an essay about epiphanies. (this was my fail from last week). We completed all the maths, English and science assignments set as well as creating a cardboard volcano and watching it erupt together. Don’t set your expectations too high that you feel you have failed! Celebrate your successes.
- Get out and about – I see a huge difference in everyone’s mindset when we are cooped up inside. Okay I know the weather has been cold and rainy – but just a ten minute walk to the field and back in wellies really does make a huge difference to everyone’s mindset and mood and I find it to be invaluable. Even shake it up a bit my taking a ball and playing a quick match of football or take bubbles to catch along the way. Any way you can try and give yourself a minimum of 20 minutes outside per day to de-stress and have fun.
I hope you have found this useful. Please do share your own ideas and tips to surviving lockdown – I am sure you have some great ideas to add. For now stay safe and take care!