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Homeschooling During COVID-19: A Pediatric OT Weighs In

Now that we are on the verge of school closing throughout the nation, we are all faced with this challenge: homeschooling during COVID-19. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve considered driving to Florida so at least we could hunker down some place warm, and be outdoors all day. The kids can swim and play, and I could just stick my head in their sandcastle and pretend this isn’t really happening. I know that idea might not be the most responsible one, but I’m worried about my own sanity. The idea of homeschooling is my personal nightmare.

Then I rein myself in, and know that we “can do this”, and do our part to limit the spread of the coronavirus. I am a pediatric occupational therapist, activity planning and being organized is my jam. I am hoping that having a Monday-Friday plan with my boys will help me manage my crazy feelings and let my kids see that this is all under control. We will get through it. 

So what’s my plan? I’ve got some suggestions to help us with homeschooling during COVID-19:

  • Outdoor Time. “Open Air Treatment” helped 102 years ago with the influenza pandemic, and it makes sense. Some fresh air and sunlight will help us physically and mentally to combat some symptoms and stay healthy. They also act as a natural germicidal and disinfectant. On a regular day we need to get outside to survive, so this will be amped up. Maybe this is an opportunity for my own experiment with 60 minute recesses ….. 
  • Establishing a Schedule. We know that kids crave routine, and do best with a clear understanding of rules and expectations. While I don’t plan to have a clock out everyday with hard-set times to do things, I will establish a rhythm to our day. Below is a colorful schedule that I will use as an example to guide my family. No photo description available.
  • We had my oldest write down his daily schedule at school. Then, we condensed it into a morning block of work with some time outside thrown in. In the afternoons I plan to have some “field trip” time to an outdoor setting to hike, look for animal tracks, bird watch, identify trees, or just play. I will follow some of these social distancing recommendations , even though it just stinks. 
  • Limit Technology. While it’s not my favorite activity for the younger crowd, I feel like we will need it to see us through. Obviously, I know that older kids will have learning modules online, and we are so grateful for that. My kids can’t think this is a free-for-all and have unlimited TV time for the next 2 weeks or more. I will let them earn some family movie time, or follow some educational shows and try to tie it to their learning. 
  • Stock Up. (Lord knows it won’t be on toilet paper, because that ship has sailed). Today I visited our library today and the staff was SO HELPFUL. I have a stash of books for everyone, including audio books and some fiction reads for myself. I will reference this list of podcasts for some ideas at ‘quiet times’ to take the pressure off me as the full-time activity planner. They don’t know how long they will be open, and suggested that there is flexibility with the typical fines/checkout rules until this is all over. There are several online educational resources that are offering free access. I’m tapping into my stash of puzzles and random birthday presents that I hoard throughout the year. I will give myself permission to do what we need to do to get through. 
  • Set Some Goals. I want to get my kids to be more independent with chores, for one to ride his bike and another to tie his shoes. Snow storms were a perfect time for potty training in my house. I will try to embrace these stay home days! I can work on what I never have time for during our regularly scheduled programming. 
  • Family Meals. I am always wanting more time for these! Since sports schedules, lessons, and now my own clients are cancelled, we can have 3 meals a day together. We will bake from scratch, involve the kids in food prep as much as possible, and finally teach them how to wash dishes. 

I keep reminding myself that this is temporary. That this ‘lockdown’ is whats best for society. And that social distancing and limiting our exposure will help preserve the heath of our loved ones. Lets just do our part and get through this!

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One Response to Homeschooling During COVID-19: A Pediatric OT Weighs In

  1. Avatar
    Cara April 14, 2020 at 6:35 am #

    This is great! Its been really tough the past few weeks, things are changing drastically. This feels like the new normal. Sad but true. Anyway, it still feels good to be in touch with a community online that helps each other out. You did a great job on this article! You might want to check out https://alldigitalschool.com/ too! I think its going to be a great add to your list. I’ve been using this for a while now. Anyway… stay safe!