Homeschooling when Life is Upside Down

As if 2020 weren’t complicated enough, we added purchasing a new (old) home and moving to the mix. The end goal will certainly bring more stability to our lives, but the process of getting there has been chaotic to say the least.

Through it all, we’ve learned a few things about homeschooling when life is in major transition, like a move, the arrival of a new baby, or a multitude of other situations, either expected or unforeseen. Here are our best suggestions to keep learning going even when everything is upside down.

  1. Audiobooks. Turning on a great book will entertain children during a busy time, and also is the perfect way to teach even when you can’t be the teacher. Exposure to books, yes, even audiobooks, is a hugely important aspect of education, and a day reading (or being read to) is never a waste! This is the primary way we “schooled” during the week of our move when we were packing, loading, unloading and getting settled.
  2. TV. Wait, what? I’m typically a big fan of dialing back screen time, but when life is topsy turvy, sometimes it’s a huge blessing. We were deliberate in choosing educational programs, and learned a lot of science and history by watching shows. My kids especially love learning about animals and geography, but there are documentaries and other educational programs on basically every topic imaginable, so the sky’s the limit here.
  3. Use car time. I found it challenging to gather my children during our move. Everything just felt so chaotic and out of whack. But when we were driving, we were together. So we’d use that time to talk about what was happening in our week, discuss current events, review what we had been learning, and definitely to get in some good audiobook time on longer drives.
  4. Make use of online learning. My preference is always learning together in person, but some of the online resources we use get even more use when I’m less available. We like typingclub.com, code.org, i-ready.com, abcmouse.com, pbskids.org, and prodigygame.com to name a few.
  5. Physical books. Toddlers to teens can spend time with (and learn a lot from) a good stack of books. Keep it simple. Keep your kids reading. When life is really crazy, that might just be enough.
  6. Take a break. With the exception of a few of the craziest days, we tried to fit in language arts and math at a minimum. But even those formal lessons dropped off when we were really busy. And we felt completely ok with that. Other subjects like history and science took a longer break from formal lessons (though we were still covering them through the books we were reading the programs we were watching.). It’s ok to take a break, and that flexibility is actually one of the best parts of homeschool!

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