How To Survive Sudden Homeschooling in 2020 – part 2
Continued from part 1…
Open up a conversation with each other about what it means to ‘infect’ another person. What is the difference between a viral infection and a bacterial infection? Educate each other while getting to know each other. How does your family communicate knowledge, skills, & values? For younger children, providing for their basic needs may be the main focus. For older children, involving them in conversations and household needs could deem essential during this trying time.
Speaking of dynamic conversations, we created a conversation jar before clever places manufactured fancy ones on pretty stationary. Each person brought a key question to the table at supper time. We would place the questions in an empty bowl or glass. Everyone would go around the table picking a question from the jar. The family member drawing the question had to answer it first. The question then proceeded around the table until all had a chance to answer that particular question. Then, the next family member would choose a question & the rotation continued. My family loved it so much we implemented this when we had guests over for a meal. [It’s a fantastic way to get to know each other.]
Maybe instead of having every electronic device on all day, there is a designated time to agree to just unplug. Yes, people hear that all the time. Unplug! What does that look like? Rally together. Have a ‘family meeting’ to decide the best time to do this. We often held family meetings esp. with our older ones. It’s a fantastic way to get to know that teenager. Maybe unplugging is only 30 minutes at the dinner table. It’s a start. And no, it cannot be while that son or daughter is sleeping in until 8:00 am. Sleep doesn’t count as unplug time.
I’ve been in homes where there is a TV ‘on’ in every room & gaming system in every bedroom. Why would a young person ever come out of their room if all of their electronic stimuli are being met isolated in his/her room? Our home only had one TV & one gaming systems for over a decade. It taught my bunch to stay together, work together, & come together. I am in no way saying there shouldn’t be these things in a child’s bedroom. However, sometimes we have to create an environment to bring the family together even if it’s by default. Get creative!!!
For smaller children, we would cycle toys. There were a few toys that stayed out all of the time. And there were toys stored in bins that rotated. A young munchkin typically has a short attention span. So, we would have bins A, B, & C. While A was out, B & C were stored. When it was time for B to come out, A was packed up for storage & C remained stored. Likewise, when C came out, B was packed up for storage & A remained stored. This gives that sweet munchkin a new set of toys while limiting ‘all’ of the toys being out at once; cutting down on clutter. Plus, it’s like Christmas each week.
Give each other permission to quarantine individually. Obviously, this is not a call when one might be in the middle of reprimanding that 13-year-old for leaving his/her wet towel on the floor. We were infamous for implementing ‘space’ for each other when needed. Once, my then 14-year-old verbally announced that he had woken up on the wrong side of the bed, was in a foul mood, and needed to go back to his room. We let him! Fortunately, he emerged a while later with a much better demeanor. We were all happier for it. Maybe it warrants creating a buzz word when someone needs to remove himself/herself from the moment.
When the weather is nice, go outside. Decide which outside activity is best suited for you or your loved ones. For younger ones, there might need to be a geographical restriction with a time frame. For example, “Play in our yard only for the next 30 minutes.” I saw an Instagram post last week where a father & son roller skated through their house on their hardwood floors. It was a scream!
Everyone cooped up at once could possibly be the time to start that potty training adventure. It could even be getting your older child to shadow you in observing those much-needed cooking skills. He/She might be leaving for college next year & need a few tips on how to properly operate the washer & dryer. Too often, kids leave home not knowing many basic fundamentals. I, recently, took my youngest to chat with my insurance agent. He learned a lot about the specific coverages on an auto policy. These are life skills young people so desperately need. Take this time at home to impart your wisdom & direction to them. They are a captive audience.
A sense of community will not be lost during this time of social distancing. Use the weeks ahead to capitalize on dialogues, make the most of creative restructuring, & connect with each other. Please don’t look at it as a radical adjustment or an imprisonment. It’s quite the opposite! It’s a new adventure & a new normal! Let’s show our families we not only know how to make the best of it. We are loving each other well through it.
Making the bed: Rewards or demerits for whoever doesn’t make their bed or makes it by a certain time of the day.
Laundry – done right: Maybe there is a monetary reward for doing everyone’s laundry, folding it, & putting it away (in the right place).
Make a tent: Everyone can get into this one. If you don’t have blankets, sheets are fabulous. One could even plan a picnic inside this tent. Flashlights are fun here, too.
Cards: Not only are there designated ones, for example Skip-bo & UNO, a deck of cards is amazing.
Musical Instruments: This is an awesome time to practice!!!
Coloring: Most of us have access to some form of computer, printer, & coloring tools. This is an awesome time to just color. Put on some great music & relax.