It was bound to happen eventually. After one closure for cleaning, and a few half days for teachers to figure out remote work plans, Pennsylvania’s governor ordered our county’s schools to be shut down for two weeks to halt the potential spread of the coronavirus. All recreational and public spaces and non-essential businesses (anything but grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations) have been closed too.
Eventually we are supposed to receive virtual work plans. But for the moment, I’m proceeding with the assumption that we need to homeschool the kids for the next few weeks.
Homeschooling has actually been a long-term interest of mine (fun fact: my public policy senior thesis at Princeton was on homeschooling policy). It’s not something I’ve personally wanted to do but I’m fascinated by people who do — particularly those who also work for pay.
Anyway, today after we learned the news I pulled together a “Homeschool binder” for the kids. Each child has a check list for the day of things they need to do. We’re going to specify that these should happen in the morning, and then the afternoon can be more for free play (including at least an hour outside). Each school-aged child will need to do an hour of independent reading. He or she will do 30 minutes of math practice (either problems they find through some of the math software they already use or learning subjects via online resources such as Khan Academy). Each day will feature one other subject for 30 minutes, with an orientation toward research. So 30 minutes of science research (tomorrow’s subject) means they’ll need to read about a topic of their choice and write down a few things they learned for me (which will double as writing practice). Those studying a language will do a few minutes of a language app. Those who play instruments will practice those.
The pre-schooler will get a few additional stories read to him. He will also do a few minutes of writing practice and math practice. He has specified that he wants to learn his times tables. I guess…why not? I also plan to bring out the Bedtime Math books and have him do the first two problems in each section.
The baby will no doubt learn all kinds of things.
I am trying to have a good attitude about all this — my goal is that when my children look back on this time they’ll think it was an adventure. I’m trying to think of ways we can have little adventures even if we’re basically not leaving the house. Picnic breakfasts anyone? Also, the big kids have volunteered to teach lessons to the preschooler, so that could be fun too.
Photo: Nope, he’s not really homeschooling, but I thought we could all use more pictures of cute babies right now.