The New Normal
So my dining room is no longer just my dining room. It’s also our homeschooling room where this guy works on his school work for hours each day and I pretend to be a teacher.
I feel like I’m more of an administrator/guidance counselor/cafeteria cook/janitor than a teacher. Fortunately I haven’t had to do much explaining of math and German, more directing (cajoling) and persuading (threatening) my kids to do their work all whilst I keep the “school” clean and organized and prepare meals. Then I head to my second job in the afternoon after school lets out.
While my son works at the dining table, my daughter works at her desk in her room. She’s more of a self-studier and prefers to be alone while working. This works well for us as my kiddos tend to bicker with each other when in the same room for an entire morning. I do of course check in on her and bring snacks.
The kids do school work all morning while I direct them and do housework. Then in the afternoon they play and I attempt to work in my office.
I have no idea how long this confinement at home will go on, but it has helped to change my routines to adapt to the new situation.
New morning routine. I love that at the moment we aren’t waking up to an alarm! My kids wake up early enough naturally that there is no worry we will sleep the whole morning away. However, once I do get out of bed, I’m making sure I stick to a routine. This includes showering, getting dressed in “real” clothes (casual but not actual yoga clothes) and putting on a pair of earrings. I make the kids get dressed as well just after they’ve eaten breakfast. We could all easily stay in pyjamas all morning, but by about 10AM I would feel like a miserable sloth. I feel better when I stick to a routine.
Meal planning. I’m having to get used to everyone being home for three meals a day and this can easily make me feel overwhelmed. Our family has agreed that we will only really cook one meal per day: dinner. Everyone gets breakfast for themselves (cereal, muesli, toast) and we have easy lunches such as sandwiches. Dinner is the proper meal that we cook and we are doing a rotation of who choses what we eat. One day my daughter chooses, then my son, then me, then my husband. We have to decide at the beginning of the week so we can plan and make sure we have the necessary ingredients. The kids are happy they are getting their favourites like pizza and spaghetti bolognese and mom and dad are choosing healthier options to ensure balance and variety. Letting my kids make decisions and help prepare the meals always seems to make things go more smoothly.
Get everyone involved with cleaning. We have made Saturday morning our new Cleaning Time! I wish I actually felt the enthusiasm that I say this phrase with on Saturday mornings! My kids are old enough that they have to take on a big role in keeping the house in order, and my husband too, of course. Me cleaning the house alone is just not possible with the added role of teacher on top of my regular work. We had a family meeting and chose/assigned everyone specific tasks that will need to be done every week. Loud dance music is my secret weapon for getting everyone working, plus of course the promise of a fun treat afterwards!
Laundry routine. If you don’t already have one, I can highly recommend developing a laundry routine. Chose a theme for each weekday, such as delicates on Mondays, towels on Tuesdays, kids clothes on Wednesdays. I have been doing this for years and the best part is that you don’t use any brain power deciding what needs to be done, you just follow the schedule. Once again, get everyone in the house involved!
I wish I could say I have developed the perfect relax and unwind routine to finish off the day, but I’m still working on the evening routine. The kids are staying up much later than usual and we’re trying to limit screen time during the week since it’s still a “school night” which makes it hard for my husband and I to manage to sit down and relax together. Not to mention that we both often have to finish work up in the evenings. And date night is obviously not happening (where would we go?!) so let’s see if I can figure this one out….
In the meantime, stay sane and healthy!
In case you missed it, read my post on setting up a homeschooling/ work from home space here.
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