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The Homeschooling Adventure
Something we’ve come to realize during this whole staying-at-home while “patiently” waiting and hoping for a cure, is that this whole homeschooling thing is pretty darn cool. There have been some adjustments we’ve made to help our kids’ experience better. This isn’t some profound thing that you don’t already know, but we’ve had to go back to some older routines to help them improve their daily life.
Back to Basics
Over the past few months, we have slacked on the amount of television our kids were enjoying. We always relegated TV time to late afternoons, but we didn’t stop it from the traditional “only on the weekends” during the school year. It was summer. It’s been social distancing. We thought, “What the heck?” Well, now that school is back and Marshall and Adelaide have adjusted to their daily routines, we’ve decided to dial back the television.
Oh, also, their sleep has been fairly out of whack. I’m pretty sure it’s been like this since March from Daylight Saving Time, but let’s not get started on that lovely peach of a system. You can explore our true feelings here. Anyways, it’s fair to say that perhaps, just maybe, all the extra TV has been destructive to their sleep schedule. It’s possible. In fact, when we decided to go back to TV only on the weekends – BOOM – it’s like Meghan and I have performed our very own magic trick.
They’ve been able to get to sleep much easier the past couple of weeks. Plus, more sleep is huge for their homeschooling and overall well-being. It’s safe to say that in our efforts to try and alleviate this funk we’ve been living in, otherwise known as 2020, we might’ve forgotten that some of the simpler routines have a significant impact on their well-being. Less TV time has allowed them to refocus on other activities they love.
Great Activities, Less TV
Drawing. Playing with cars or dolls. Dancing and listening to music. Oh, Christmas music has totally been playing over the past week, because why not? Reading books. Reading comics. Playing board games. Heck, I even modified a game that they should not be playing, because they thought it looked interesting and wanted to play with me. So, yes, I modified the rules to Tiny Epic Galaxies and that’s been a game we’ve been enjoying. Not only is there some basic arithmetic they must apply while playing, there’s the fun element of rolling dice and strategy to get their brains thinking. It’s been a blast. (Homeschooling extracurricular for the win!)
Have I mentioned our kids love to be silly? They will randomly call Meghan and I down to their playroom for a play for them to perform. Let’s just say that there are epic battles between stuffed animals, and there may have been a time where some cannibalism took place after one of those fights. Believe me: No stuffed animals were harmed during the production of their theatre.
Our children are doing as much as they can to keep themselves occupied, especially when mommy is busy teaching or daddy is writing another book. So, as far as other technology, they are allowed limited time on their watches, which has games, picture and video recorders on them. Additionally, our kids were extremely lucky to be passed down a pair of Nintendo DS’s from their cousins. Holy cow, do they love these things. As someone who grew up playing video games, it warms my heart to see them playing some Super Mario Bros.
TV Time for Homeschooling, Sort Of
So, how do we try to balance out that special love that our kids have for TV? We turn to YouTube for this – and I make it a part of their homeschooling. Our kids are taking Earth Science and Geography and Cultures. What better way to introduce kids to volcanos, mountains, the layers of our planet, caves, and so much more than with intro videos from National Geographic. They’re extremely entertaining, well filmed, and give the kids a vivid look into these amazing things as they learn about them in school.
While we’re learning about different countries throughout the world, I’ve also been sharing videos that highlight cities and they can see what these places look like. More importantly, we’ve been watching food tours from various YouTubers, so the kids can literally see what they’re eating. And you know that instantly makes them want to visit. It’s incredible to have them watch these videos and then have this connection or wanting to have a connection by visiting these incredibly beautiful places where they can taste such delicious looking food.
Another series our kids will be watching as they travel will be Somebody Feed Phil (or Phil Rosenthal’s previous I’ll Have What Phil’s Having). If anyone needs pure goodness and happiness and loving other people and food, this is the show for you. Our kids have watched little bits here and there, but we will watch episodes based on their current destinations while in class. As I’ve heard Phil say before, and I’m paraphrasing, connecting with others is through their food. Sharing something wonderful helps to connect us. Love this show.
So, this little bit of educational video content is a nice balance to give them some viewing during the week.
We Are Learning as We Go
If you are homeschooling or if you’re doing the whole virtual thing, give yourselves a break. This is not easy. It’s a work in progress kind of thing. Does that sound familiar? Anything like parenting? So, let’s consider this a completely new part of parenting. One we’re all experiencing for the first time together. There’s a lot of incredibly difficult things happening in the world, and it can be so overwhelming that it seems like it’s too much and the TV gets shut off. We disconnect from social media.
And that’s okay.
Find a way to get into a rhythm with yourselves, your partner, and your kids. Do what you need to and realize there isn’t a perfect answer. Sit back and relax. Read a book. Rewatch a favorite show. Sit outside for some fresh air or go for a walk. Meghan and I have spent a significant amount of time every day for the past four months. This means less time for other things that are also important: writing for example.
At the end of the day, take a moment to realize these adjustments we’re all making is something we must deal with. Hopefully, our adjustments we’re sharing today will help you in some way or give you a sense of relief to know you’re not alone.
If you have any ideas or activities you have found to be helpful for your family, please share with us. We’re always looking for new ways to make our kids smile.
Thanks for listening, friends.