So your kids are home from school for the next month. What are you going to do? How will you keep them entertained? Will they fall behind in school? Take it from this homeschool mama of two, all of these things can be avoided with a little prep and a good measure of organization. I’m not talking crazy and elaborate projects that tie you to a table helping for hours. I’m talking about some good planning leading to you not losing yourself in kid chaos.
Kids are home from school for a month, now what?
Stick to a schedule
You will never convince me otherwise. Kids like expectations to their day. My kids know breakfast, school work, art, etc. and when each thing is coming. When you set the expectation for your kiddos it will help keep them from coming back over and over with “I’m bored” and “There’s nothing to do”. It also allows for you to plan when you need to get your own things accomplished.
This past week we flew a kite. It was simple, cheap, and fun. Get some bubbles or chalk. Play hopscotch. Throw the ball. Go for a walk or jog. For us, it is one of the best times of the year for getting to spend time outside. Going outside lets the kids get out pent up energy and the fresh air is great for you. The heat isn’t stifling yet, and we’ve even had a breeze as of late.
Our kids get online time that isn’t, as we call it, “brain dead”. There are so many free educational sites and games that are available for kids to get their screen time and still have to think. For example, for science we use mysteryscience.com. There are several free lessons available. A video plays and they usually have an easy project or follow up that they give directions on how to complete. If you want a subscription, there are even more options. We personally use ABC Mouse for my younger and Adventure Academy for my older. The kids have to complete educational tasks to get to do other fun things on their “journey”.
I know I said no spending hours glued in project assistance mode, but Pinterest really has some easy projects that kids love. They also have great science projects, game ideas, cooking projects, and so much more. We may do one Pinterest idea a week. Sometimes they are great and sometimes they are a most definite #pinterestfail, but we always have fun and make memories while we do it. That’s what it’s really all about y’all!
I know that we are trying to fill this, but kids really do need some free time. Our free time consists of me being able to get things done without interruption. The kids should not have to ask “Can I?” They have the option of playing with toys, playing board games, pretend play, etc. All things that are at their disposal and they are able to do themselves. They great thing about this is that you get to set the parameters. They could have access to one specific toy bin or shelf. They could get to spend time in a playroom or however you are set up. It’s about what works for you.
There are so many FREE resources for worksheets, coloring sheets, etc. The local library is a wealth of books and dvds. Where we live, they also have educational tablets. I have made youtube lists of educational videos that we watch. Disney + has Nat Geo with so many interesting shows. One of the great things about the digital age is that if you want your kids to learn, you have only need to hop online. You can also find many Facebook groups of homeschoolers to join that have pre-built lists of all kinds of resources for parents. They don’t care if your kids are only home for a month or if they homeschool full time. They welcome you to the information.
This one is important Mommas because we cannot spend all day running kids from project to project to be a non-stop source of entertainment. We have things to do too! We have a quiet time every single day. When my kids were smaller, they napped. They now have additional options. They can read, they can draw or color, they can listen to music. Anything that allows for some quiet to enter your home and you to get that break that you may really need to re-center and gain focus, where there may be chaos.
Finally, use the TV
We don’t sit in front of the TV for hours on end, but there is certainly nothing wrong with sitting the kids at the TV for a movie or a couple of shows. Go ahead and sit down with them! I find that when my kids are not sitting in front of the TV constantly, they grow to be much more appreciative of the time they are given. They are selective on the shows or movies they choose to watch. They pay attention to what is on. It is a treat instead of a constant background noise.
As a homeschooling mom, you come to realize that there has to be balance. A balance of entertainment, of getting things accomplished, of managing your house and the kids. We constantly have things that need to be done and sometimes the biggest thing you can do for yourself is just realize that the day doesn’t always go as planned. Don’t be afraid to phone a friend. It doesn’t matter if it is for ideas for rainy days or just to have some good conversation with another adult.
Don’t be afraid to just kick up your feet with the kids for a movie. If a project fails, laugh and take pictures. We have some pretty great fail memories. Let go of expectations, whether they are from others or yourself, and find what works for you!
At bedtime, I always ask my kids what their favorite part of the day was. Sometimes they do say it is something big that we did as a treat. Most of the time, my kids list simple things that you wouldn’t think about: Popsicles outside, flying a kite, messing up our baking project, or playing a board game. Through the eyes of a kid, the simple things sometimes mean the most. That is what it’s all about!
Baton Rouge Moms Ambassador -Erica Mautner
Erica is an LSU alum, with a Master’s in Business Administration. She recently left her career in banking to be at home with her 2 boys, Fisher & Sawyer, full time. They have started an adventure in homeschooling. Erica likes to travel, take photos, and attempt crafting projects with her boys. She also likes to attend LSU football games with her boys and husband of 11 years, Cody, who proposed while tailgating fall of 2008.