I’m not sure about you, but home schooling twins was never EVER on my radar!
But thanks to COVID-19 you will be adding another hat to all the others you wear. You already wear many hats – including cook, nurse, business owner, cleaner, cleaner, meal planner, partner, lover, friend and more. Thanks to COVID-19 you will also be adding “teacher” to the list.
I just wanted to reassure you, don’t freak out, you CAN do this. You aren’t on your own. Schools will be helping in anyway they can. They are providing you with guidelines, worksheets, learning platforms, tasks and so forth. Depending on the school you may even have access to online webinar style learning, where your childs actual teacher will run classes from their home.
It is important to each school will probably do things slightly differently, so please make sure you stay in close contact with your school and your teacher and follow their directions.
This is an anxious time for everyone; however, health is a number one priority.
Please respect what the health authorities are asking us to do. Please do not allow your children to roam around and mingle with their friends. Social distancing will only work if we all stay home as much as possible.
Three positive things resulting from home schooling during Corona Virus shutdown
- Quality family time. Use this time to make a special childhood memories where the parents cut loose and let them have some extra fun, rather than a time of stress, conflict, and potential childhood trauma.
- One huge advantage of home schooling is the flexibility. If you get caught up working on a science project, and everyone is enjoying it, then you can just keep doing it.
- This will be an eye-opening opportunity for you to get a first hand insight on how your children think, act and learn. Time together could be a real gift and an educational advantage (if you have the time and energy to make the most of it).
Our 5 top tips to help you with home schooling twins and triplets during the Corona Virus shutdown
It is challenging to raise children, manage a household, and get work done. Adding teaching your children to this can be quite overwhelming. Here are our 5 top tips to help you with home schooling during Corona Virus shutdown.
Talk to your family
Take the time to sit down with your entire family and discuss how this shutdown will affect all of you. Speak clearly and be honest, but ensure you are calm and reassuring. You need to discuss not only CoronaVirus and how they and your family can stay safe, but also about how the school shutdowns will affect you all. If either parent is working from home at the same time, then you need to discuss how this will all work.
See THIS article from UNICEF about how to talk to your child about CoronaVirus.
At the end of the day, do a quick re-cap. Home schooling has the benefit of flexibility. If something didn’t work, then discuss ways you can change it so things are smoother the next day. Nothing is set in stone. Remember, this is new to all of you. There will need to be adjustments made from all sides until you find a comfortable groove that suits everyone.
Create a schedule
Kids thrive on routine. Don’t expect the kids to do their do their school work on their own. Create set hours for certain activities, such as school work, free time, access to technology, chores etc. While one of the benefits of home schooling is the flexibility, there is still a certain requirement for structure and routine. Bear in mind that the break from the normal schooling routine may cause anxiety in some children. Take time to acknowledge that this is a different situation from normal and reassure them.
Get the kids involved in helping create the schedule. They will feel more invested in it if they have been part of the decisions. And don’t forget to schedule in some breaks. You will need them as much as they will.
A schedule will also assist in setting and achieving expectations. Ensure you schedule in time for YOU to do the things you need to do as well, particularly if you also need to work.
Remember to schedule some time aside for YOU to look over their work for tomorrow. While its perfectly OK to not know the answer, it is probably best if you don’t just google the answer right in front of them!
Here is a sample schedule that you can adapt to your own family needs.
Its very rough, and doesn’t have to be set in stone, but if your children have some idea of how their day is expected to pan out they will be more settled, as they know what is expected of them.
Before 9am – Do as you would normally do for a school day. This includes getting dressed and brushing your teeth. It is important not to use the opportunity to stay in your pyjamas all day. Treat each day as a normal school day. You could even make lunchboxes up, as this would prevent the kids constantly asking for food.
9.00-9.30am – do some exercise. Go for a walk, do an obstacle course in the back garden, do some yoga, dance to music in the loungeroom, bounce on the trampoline or something. Kids need some exercise before they sit down to learn. It helps get the “wiggles” out. Do PE with Coach Joe HERE.
9.30-11.00am – learning time, with a short break for morning tea. I suggest you make this session technology free. Whatever you do DO NOT FORGET TO FEED THEM! They will turn feral!
11.00-11.30 – Break time. Have a snack if needed and some play time in the back yard.
11.30-12.30pm – Creative time (writing, find-a-word, crosswords, drawing crafting, cooking, lego, colour by numbers, knitting, playing music etc). Use this time to learn a new skill, there are loads of you-tube videos that will teach you how to crochet, how to design a maze, design a comic book or even learn to play the piano if you have one. This doesn’t have to be stressful, and they will probably be able to do this without your assistance, allowing you to get in and get things done.
12.30-1.30pm – Lunch and play time in the back yard.
1.30-2.30 – Learning time. Incorporate online resources though I-pads and computers in this session. This will give you a break, and allow you to get on with your tasks.
2.30-3.00 – Chore time. Have a snack if needed but use this time to get the kids to help you get some of the daily jobs that need doing done. Bribe them if you need to to do their chores with the promise of the next couple of house being free time/down time.
3.00-5.00 – Free time/Down time, i.e play in the garden, movie time or i-pad time or whatever your children usually do after school when they are home.
Set aside some different places for learning and working
I acknowledge that this can be hard, particularly if you have a smaller house/apartment and/or a large number of children. Bear in mind that your children are used to moving around between classes, so having several learning areas may be useful. Particularly if you are working with children doing different work.
You may find a change of environment will help. Think outside the box.
- Maybe Science lessons could occur in the local park, keeping the kitchen table for Maths and English lessons.
- Set up a reading nook in the corner of your bedroom with spare pillows and a couple of blankets. Or allow your children to use on your bed as a dedicated reading area.
- Do you have a shady tree in the back garden and a camping table? Maybe your children could do art there.
- Do you have a relative who is good at explaining things? Maybe you could organise a video call and they can take over the teaching for half an hour?
Five guilt free ideas for when YOU need some time to do things
Maybe you are working from home yourself, so you need time to reply to emails, make phone calls finish reports etc. Don’t feel guilty. You still need to do what you need to do. Here are some guilt free ideas for when YOU need some time to do things
Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation for kids. Interactive adventures which build strength, balance and confidence, especially for kids aged 3+. A huge variety of yoga videos, with everything from Frozen yoga to Star Wars yoga. And its all free on You Tube HERE.
Documentaries are perfect for people of all ages and many are suitable for kids and families. Nextflix, Stan, Prime etc have a huge range, if not you can find them on the web easily enough. Documentaries children entertain and entrance while allowing kids to explore and learn about new subjects. Maybe ask your children’s teacher for some themes they will be studying, and start with those first.
Set them a task to create a scene. They have 30 minutes to build it (you can set a timer) and then they need to tell you the story about what is happening in the scene. Or build letters or numbers out of Lego.
Audio Books and Podcasts
There are hundreds of podcasts for children out there these days, most of which are free.
Your library will have access to a huge range of FREE audio books that you can download. And best of all, you don’t need to worry about returning them, as once the 14 day period is up they will delete from your account.
Call on family to help.
Call a grandparent via video call and get your children to read a book to them. Or get them to read a book to your children.
Online educational programs and aps
Today there are more educational resources available on the internet than ever before. You can use these to compliment your children’s learning journey.
Be warned, some are UK or USA based, but they are still useful. Be warned, while some are free, others you may need to pay for. However, most online programs have a free trial period.
We found so many that we have put them in a separate post, which you can find HERE.
Twenty simple activities to do around the house
- Board games
- Jigsaw Puzzles
- Re-cycling box craft – your recycle bin is an untapped haven of craft bits!
- Cooking and baking
- Acting out a book
- Obstacle courses
- Measure how big your house or garden is in steps/feet/strides
- Plant some herbs or vegetables
- Nature walk in a local park
- Make a puppet and pout on a puppet show
- Painting & drawing
- Elastics or Skipping games
- Card games
- Make musical instruments
- Chalk drawing on the driveway and fences
I hope this helps. The main point I want to make is DO NOT put additional pressure on yourself to be the worlds best teacher. As long as they are doing a couple of hours of learning, then just relax and go with the flow. We are all in this together, so reach out be it for ideas, support or a whinge.
You’ve got this.