Who would’ve thought that back-to-school 2020 would look nothing like back-to-school 2019?
Not this family. Probably not yours either.
But, you know what? Change is about the only constant right now.
As you’re navigating your back-to-school preparation, I wanted to share what’s been working for our small homeschool pod. I think there will be tips that fit virtual school as well, and maybe even hybrid programs.
Make a schedule and stick to it
Last spring, when we suddenly flipped into virtual mode, I spent a weekend planning out the rest of the year. The first order of business was to come up with an educational schedule that could accommodate the reality of two working parents. We took a high/low tech approach to this.
Don’t reinvent the (curriculum) wheel
Our spring semester was very much an experiment. Our 1st-grader would finish the take-home packet within a day, leaving us to figure out what the rest of the week was going to look like. Additionally, our preschooler needed more mental stimulation than a packet could provide. On Sunday mornings we would ask the kids what they wanted to learn about during the week, and then we would spend the day pulling together the resources to make that possible. More on that in a bit though.
I bring this up because as parents who aren’t trained educators, we were anxious about whether or not we were missing important educational milestones, or if we were even going in the right sequence. On the other hand, it was exciting to teach them things that most schools don’t cover, binary math and cursive writing.
When we committed to homeschooling in the fall, we decided to get expert guidance to ensure we hit all the essentials. We looked into several, and then chose the curriculum that worked for our needs. We're now sprinkling in some additional topics that pique the kids’ interests.
Get it together
I mentioned pulling together resources above. This was another one of those sanity-saving practices. On your planning day(s), gather all the supplies you’ll need for the week. I used a 3-tiered file organizer and a bunch of sticky tabs during the spring experiment. I tabbed each day’s work on either their worksheets or sections of their workbooks. This was empowering for them, and saved me from answering many questions throughout the day.
Now that we’re doing an actual curriculum, it still remains important to plan the week out and gather the right materials, especially since our pod incorporates two grades. Our file folder has evolved into a full cupboard, but we still have tabs for the work to be covered.
We’re going into our 6th week of homeschooling now, and have hit a stride. Getting there all started with planning. The time spent dedicated to picking a curriculum and getting organized has paid off during hectic weeks, and allowed us to really enjoy it.
Hi, I'm Bobbi and while I'll generally be posting here, I'll occasionally invite others to share as well.