So you have found yourself an accidental Coronavirus Homeschooler! I would venture to guess that you are a fabulous mom and are well positioned to homeschool your kids any time, even during a national crises such as the Coronavirus causing school after school to shut down. If you read no further, just read to your kids and get outside with them. If you want more details on how you could become an accidental Coronavirus homeschooler, read on.
I’ve been a homeschool mom for all of my kids’ lives, so I have read a book or two on the topic. I typically do get lots of questions about how we do things, and those have ramped up in light of changes in our educational outlook due to so many being forced to become accidental Coronavirus Homeschoolers.
You can successfully get through the interim while the schools are closed and enjoy your kids.
Whether you’re excited about the prospect of homeschooling while the Coronavirus has the kids at home or fearful about how you’ll cope, I’m here to tell you “Samesies”. Homeschooling is basically parenting on steroids. You already parent them. You can homeschool them too if you find yourself an accidental homeschooler.
Some days you knock it out of the park and find the beauty in everything and everyone. Other days, you end up back under the covers at 9 a.m. deep breathing and hiding from the kids. The cool thing we have these days is so much connection. We have on line groups for every kind of homeschool that’s out there, from unschooling to classically educating, to Classically Unschooling! Yes, apparently that’s a thing.
I homeschool for a lot of reasons. Chief among them is that I love being around my kids. Because it affords us a lot of opportunities and joys that one doesn’t have in a traditional school setting, we get to have a freedom we wouldn’t otherwise have.
If you’re accidentally suddenly Coronavirus homeschooling, here are some tips, resources, and ideas to make the experience better!
What to do when you’re an accidental homeschooler
- Get outside. Seriously. Some days for me, I don’t manage it. Some days, it’s just a walk down the lane to the mailbox. It’s important for you and it’s important for your kids.
- Limit screen time. What we do is leave the TV off until after 5 pm, and they have to clean up the main living areas of the house first. On days when I have to work a lot, and I let them watch more Netflix, there is a high correlation of bickering and fighting. (Then I send them outside.)
- Find focused activities. For me, that means looking at Pinterest and choosing one science-y activity per day that appeals to me with easy to find supplies. Lately, we’ve been doing rainbow science experiments, because it’s March.
- If someone is grumpy, reset. Eat a snack. Drink water. Coffee break. If the kids are little, and even if they’re not and you can convince them, put them in water. Send them outside.
- Try to find joy and opportunity in this extra time with your kids.
- If you have multiple kids, encourage them in their relationships and friendships. We for a while did a “Love Rocks” jar, and when the kids were caught being loving to the family, they’d get a love rock (a literal rock!) to add to the jar and when it got full, we’d do something special together as a family. As an accidental Coronavirus homeschooler, you’ll be glad to take some time on character development.
- When someone asks a question, run with it! Youtube is an amazing resource. Whatever they’re curious about, take it seriously and expand.
- Set a definite routine.
- Make the kids help with all the chores. One thing about homeschooling is everything is messy much more than if they were gone six hours a day.
- Don’t let them snack all day. Unless you want to. Then do. We have a snack at 10 and 2. We joke that the kids are “homeschooled hobbits” because they would eat all day if they could.
- Be as positive as you can. Be patient to yourself. As an accidental Coronavirus homeschooler, this is all new to all of you!
- Read out loud until you just can’t anymore. Even to kids who can already read.
- Cuddle! Even (especially!) with kids who are too big for your lap.
- Tea Time and poetry – Offer your kids tea or a fun snack/drink mid afternoon and enjoy listening aloud We adore the anthologies of Nature Poetry, Animal Poetry, and Sing a Song of Seasons.
- Keep your sense of humor- When you need a break ask Alexa to tell you jokes. Write jokes, read jokes, act like a fool or throw a dance party. Sometimes we all just need to let loose and find a way to savor or shift the mood of the day!
- Challenge your kids to memorize something. Whether it’s Lafeyette’s rap from the Hamilton musical or all of the states, it’s good for their brains (and will keep them entertained!)
- Don’t be above prizes (aka bribery!). You likely would be better motivated to do a job if you knew you were getting paid, your kids aren’t that different!
Sample routines for an accidental Coronavirus homeschooler
A day in the life of a homeschooling mom of four I would love to introduce to you my friend Sarah. Her kiddos at the time of this post were 8, 6, 4, and 2, and she’s also a farmer’s wife.
A day in the life of a homeschooling mom of five The kids were 20 months, 3, 5, 7, and 9.
Recommended Resources for the Accidental Coronavirus Homeschooler
Since some of you will need to continue teaching your children, you may like some helpful things to do so. Amazing Educational Resources is an absolutely comprehensive list of always free, and companies who are offering free memberships now due to school closings. It can be overwhelming, to look through everything, so I’ve highlighted some our preferences here.
Xtra Math – A math facts fluency program that helps students master basic math facts
Happy Numbers – Mastering math is about more than just getting the right answer. Students need to understand the reasoning behind their actions, having the flexibility to respond to challenges along the way.
Google Lens- A free app that lets you lookup what a plant is by taking a picture of it. It also has a bunch of other cool features! Google Lens lets you search what you see, get things done faster, and understand the world around you—using just your camera or a photo.
Magic School Bus- watch episodes on Netflix and then go to Scholastic and do experiments.
Your online library – if you aren’t quarantined, put a bunch of books on hold at the library and pick them up. If you must stay home, find out more about your local library’s offerings. They’ll be happy to help you.
The Good and the Beautiful – paid curriculum with free PDF downloads for curriculum K-5
Ambleside Online – lots of literature and poetry, a perfect easy to follow list for an accidental Coronavirus homeschooler.
What do we do all day? Answering that question in abundance, Erica has amazing book lists on any topic, any age group imaginable. Say we want to read about social justice, she has a list for that. What if we’re working on celebrating Pi Day (3/14)? She’s got a list for it.
SeTerra.com – A fun, interactive geography game you can play online or on an app. It also has printables. Free.
Geography: A Visual Encyclopedia explores every aspect of our world with beautiful photographs and information. A quintessential guide to earth.
Art for Kids Hub – This YouTube station offers approachable, simple art instruction from a father and usually his son. Grab some paper and a pen or pencil and enjoy! You feel like a real artist. (Sidenote: you are!)
Ambleside Online I can’t recommend Ambleside highly enough. Chock full of art, literature, poetry, folk and classical Music with links to everything, you’ll love this resource whether or not you’re an accidental Coronavirus homeschooler.
Cosmic Kids Yoga – Videos on YouTube with imaginative story telling through body movements. Fun for younger and low elementary aged kids. Free.
Watch any chef show.
RaddishKids is an at home cooking camp offering a free meal kit right now to those suddenly finding themselves homeschooling.
Literally Everything for all ages:
EasyPeasy Homeschooling is an entire free curriculum for all ages! It’s entirely on line and easy to follow. If you have kids who are independent readers, you can set them up for the morning here, and get some work done!
At Busy Toddler, you’ll find many great and simple ideas for you to incorporate learning for the littlest learners. She also has a preschool play site.
When we were homeschooling preschoolers, I found Hubbard’s Cupboard to be ideal. As an accidental Coronavirus homeschooler, you can put the book lists on hold at the library and it offers great activities for crafts and science that are seasonal as well.
Modern States works like a global digital public library of great college courses.
If all else fails, think of what you’d like to do and do that instead. Don’t think about it as a list you have to check off. Think of yourself as the leader of wonder. Your job is to show your kids curiosity, a willingness to find out. Help your kids learn how to find the answers to their questions. As I tell all people who are curious about homeschooling, “If you love your kids like I know you do, and read to them, you’ll be fine.”
Thank you to all of the generous homeschoolers who contributed to these lists and took the time to write out what they do all day.
This post contains affiliate links.