Monday, March 16, 2020

Free-Schooling Schedule During The Corona Break

I sat in bed and watched the news screen: we were already on spring break for two weeks, but was extended until at least the middle of April. An additional two weeks. I was cool with doing our fun activities during the two week closure, but four weeks??? That's a lot of learning time they're missing out on. But I'll be honest, I'm not equipped to teach math. I'm not equipped to do a strict schedule with my kids. I had to fight the urge to start planning immediately. Instead, I waited until morning. I was able to gather my thoughts a bit more, check in with other parents, and from there I quickly developed what the next several weeks will look like for us.

I plan to utilize the boy's white board (even in it's rough, used state) so the kids can easily keep track of how our days will go.

Before I get into any of my details, I will preface this and let you know that our schedule is all child led. Meaning everything we'll be learning is at the request of the kids (both my own and daycare kids). I will be "teaching" a variety of ages at once. It should be, well, interesting. Luckily I have nine years of experience emerging various ages groups into activities. I'm not nervous about it at all, I'm more so interested in keeping the kid's minds going. I am also big on maintaining some sort of normalcy for the kids. That is hugely important during this time. I don't like to call this homeschooling, but rather free schooling (I strongly dislike the term unschooling, but this is pretty much that).

I asked the kids what they would like to do during their time off and this is what we have:
  • free art (glitter glue, scissors, markers, googly eyes, feathers)
  • build a city with recycables
  • drawing
  • learn music
  • science experiments
  • social studies: continents, other countries, maps
  • Spanish
  • learn to do laundry
  • paint the new playhouse
  • plant a garden
  • watch "smart" (educational movies)
  • go for walks
  • play outside: play games

Our schedule will look something like this:

8 - 10 a.m. - wake up, breakfast, get ready for the day, free play
10:00 - snack and music time 
10:30 - 11:30 - school time (social studies, science, art, science, music)
11:30 - free play outside (weather permitting)
12:00 - lunch
12:30 - read to them 10 minutes 
12:40 - 3:00 p.m. - naps/rest for younger kids
                               math worksheets
                               reading and writing
                               rest for bigs
3:00 - snack
3:30 - physical activity, hands on learning, free play
5:00 - 5:30/6:00 - daycare closes, online learning for my three 
6:00 - 7:30 - dinner, showers, chores
7:30 p.m. - bedtime (no sense in lying, this could happen anytime between 7:30 and 9:00 depending on the weather and moods)

Here's an example of our first week of free schooling:

Tuesday March 24, 2020 (3/24)

8:00 - 10:00 a.m.  - wake up, breakfast, get ready, free play
10:00 - snack with music (Joshua Tree album by U2)
10:30 - free art
11:00 - social studies: the 7 continents and the world's oceans, identifying them on maps, news talk (answer any questions they may have about what they have seen or heard)
11:30 - free play outside (weather permitting)
12:00 - lunch
12:30 - read to them (we haven't agreed on a group book to read)
12:40 - 3:00 p.m.- potty breaks, naps/rest time for younger kids, math worksheets, flashcards, reading, and writing (for bigs)
3:00 - snack
3:30 free play outside (weather permitting)
5:00 - 6:00 p.m. - daycare closes, online learning (they each have websites to choose from from their teachers)

Wednesday March 25, 2020 (3/25)

8 - 10 a.m. - same as previous day
10:00 - snack with music (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album by Elton John)
10:30 - 11:30 - science (experiment, tbd), social studies (review of continents and oceans, identifying on the map, quiz)
11:30 - free play outside (weather permitting)
12:00 - lunch
12:30 - read to them
12:40 - 3:00 p.m. - repeat of previous day
3:00 p.m. - snack
3:30 - karate lessons
5:00 - 6:00 - online learning
6:00 - 7:00 - dinner, go for a walk as a family

Thursday March 26, 2020 (3/26)

Free day. Outside play as much as possible. Basketball, flag football, jump ropes.

Friday March 27, 2020 (3/27)

Take a walk on the bike path
Scavenger hunt along the way

As I have in the past with summer, the kids will decide the weekly menus and help write a grocery list. This is something I started last summer and it works great for all involved! I am forever thankful I've had nine summers to prepare for our "free schooling." I wanted to give the kids plenty of free time as well because their free time does not involve screens at this house. Instead, I encourage them to be outdoors as much as possible and work together in play and games. I know the kids are anxious to get our "fun activities" underway, but I have reserved those for summer because these same kids will be with me for three months soon enough. As usual, this is a rough routine and schedule we'll be working off of. I am not opposed to switching things up if it's not working, trying something new, or switching days around (especially since some of these are weather dependent). 
Stay strong to all of the mommas who find themselves at home with kids and all of the daycare providers taking kids! Create fun, good memories rather than focus on the negative right now.

You know me: I have to write it all before I type it. A brand new notebook and lots of ideas and plenty of time to dream and think...this could be dangerous.