It is the year 2020. The year that will go down in history as the the year that the world shut down. It will be the year that changed our perspective of how fast an economy can fall. The year that toilet paper was the first thing off of the shelves as everyone stocked up.
Or as my friend put it as the year when, “Everyone is doing what they can to prepare for the maybe’s of the coming months, and things are getting unreal!” Unreal is a great word for it, I have felt I have been in a foggy dream the past couple days, just waiting to wake up.
It is also the year that many families are being forced to teach there kids at home, and all extra curricular activities are cancelled.
What does this leave us? Well I guess that is up to all of us
I hope you choose to have lots of family bonding time!! If you are a working mom (you are amazing), change whatever you need below to make it work for you and your schedule. A lot of the things below are adjustable to fit different families needs and circumstances.
As a homeschooling mom myself, I am here to help and to give all of you moms out there a huge confidence boost right now.
You got this!
It is time to get intentional! It may not be easy at first, but you will soon see the joy that comes when you become an intentional parent. Hard things shape us into becoming stronger, better human beings and ultimately happier.
Whether you have packets coming from your schools, or if you are winging it, this time can become a cherished time that your kids will look back on for years and years as a time to remember. Without the many distractions from various activities and obligations, your focus can be on your family…your kids!
They need you!
#1 – Hold a family meeting
The first thing you need to do is have a family meeting and begin by asking your kids what they think about everything going on in life. Including your kids in this kind of discussion helps them feel a part of something important. You might be surprised at what they have to say.
The focus of this meeting should be about how to best utilize their time now that school has been cancelled. What do they want to gain from this experience and what is the best way to move forward?
Here are some questions you can ask them to get their minds going.
- What do you want to learn about?
- Is there a treat you want to learn how to make?
- How can we help others during this time?
- What goals would you like to set during this time you are out of school?
- Should we create a schedule that works for our family of what to expect each day?
#2 – Don’t try to replicate public school in your home
Don’t do it! I tried it and failed miserably. You don’t need desks or a designated school room. The world is your children’s schoolroom right now. You also don’t need to be doing school work for 7 hours everyday. Trust me! 🙂
#2- Pick a family read aloud book
Oliver DeMille once said that if you are reading to your kids out loud, your kids are already received a great education. A family read aloud can be SOOO beneficial for you and your kids. Don’t forget to have discussions about different parts of the book. Having family discussions about things that matter has become a lost art.
We want to raise kids that have an opinion about things and are knowledgeable about important topics. By having family discussions about these things it provides great mentoring opportunities. Your children learn from your example. Remember, books are not created equal. Check out this post on how to find good books.
#3 – Get outside and be in nature
There is so much to learn from being in nature. When our lives are so busy we rarely slow down enough to just be still and let our minds ponder about things that really matter. When you are out in nature it fills a part of your soul that you don’t get anywhere else.
Your kids benefit on so many levels when they are outside. Start a nature journal, buy some water colors or colored pencils and sketch the things that you see.
A fun activity that you can do for nature study is to have each of your kids separate and sketch something in a certain area. After about 20 minutes have each of you come together and then try and find the plant/area/weed/tree etc that each child drew. My boys love this activity so much!
#4 – Do a morning (or any time that works) devotional as a family
This time is golden for our family and a time we LOVE. We read scriptures together, recite the pledge of allegiance, and work on something that we are memorizing (we memorize poems, scriptures, songs etc). We then learn something together. This can be something from a book you are reading together, it could be an animal you saw on a walk, or how something is made.
The options are endless.
Find something that interests you and learn about it together. Get a journal for everyone in your family and begin the research. You can do this a couple ways. If you have older kids you can have everyone do some research for 10-15 minutes and then come back together and talk about what you learned. Have your older kids take notes and sketch their findings.
If you have younger kids, find a fun YouTube video on that certain subject and watch it together. Take notes as you go, and you will find your kids start to take notes and emulate you. I have one child who just copies what I write onto his page.
We love to include pictures or drawings about what it is we are learning about. We learned the difference between crows and ravens one time, so we went online and found some tutorials on how to draw both and included those drawings in our journals. You can also print out pictures and glue them in your books.
John Muir Laws says there are 3 languages to include when you sketch. They are the language of words, numbers and pictures. This is my favorite part of the day.
#5 – Play games
There are sooooo many fantastic fun games out there that teach so many great things. A few of our favorites is:
A lot of these teach math through numbers on dice. Others teach commerce, like Settlers of Catan. The list of fun games go on and on. These are just a few of our favorites! Not only do they use their head, but they create fun memories that last forever!
#6 – Limit Screens
I have been both moms with this one. My older kids watched A LOT more TV than my younger kids. I can tell you from first hand experience, nothing great, unique or creative every happened when my boys were watching TV. When we began only watching TV on the weekends (even that is limited), my boys began to create, to think and to play!!
It is hard at first but you may be surprised at what happens. Try this 30 day no screen experiment!
#7 – Provide incentives
If your kids are like mine, they don’t choose to read over playing outside riding bikes. They love to read, but they love playing outside even more. That is until I provided an incentive. All I did was provide a snack that they can choose to eat while they read everyday. My boys are begging to read everyday now and all it took was a unique snack that they normally don’t get.
This book tracker is a fun addition to add to your home! If you are unsure how to teach your young kids how to read, check this post out to help you get started.
What should be your focus?
This time should be about focusing on the hearts of your children. We live in such an information age that if you want to know when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, you can just look it up on the internet in minutes. That piece of information doesn’t shape your children into a wonderful human being.
However, the things of the heart will. We need to focus on nurturing the hearts of our children and fill their minds with stories that move the heart. Stories of great people who have lived a life a greatness. Whether that person is George Washington, or Om-ka-stoe from a historical fiction book, each time you introduce one of these great characters to your children, you are helping them stare in the face of greatness!
This year you have a unique opportunity! During this time when many of the activities that keep you incredibly busy are now cancelled, you can choose to take time and be still with your children. Read together, play together and pray together. You are creating memories that will be instilled in your child’s memory forever. These memories will help them through difficult times that they may have in the future! Make it count!