I remember it so clearly, when the school shutdown began 3 weeks ago. We sat down with our kids and told them that while some sort “Distance Learning” would begin right away, it would take mom a few days to come up with a more structured routine that they could refer to on a daily basis. There were some beautiful, color coded schedules going around on Facebook right away that I could have used, but I knew my family needed a more flexible, more independent remote learning plan.
Or maybe I did? With 3 kids between High School and Kindergarten (yes, you read that right) I was not going to spend my time running from one kid to the other teaching one how to add and teaching another fractions and teaching another Algebra. We are living in unprecedented times and I don’t believe it’s time for traditional learning. We aren’t being called to replicate the classroom at home. We don’t have to be our children’s classroom teacher right now. I don’t about you, but that’s a huge weight off my shoulders!
If your school district is giving you any guidance, I am sure that’s already been made clear. They are also changing and making adjustments to their teaching methods. They don’t have a choice, nor do we. So, if you are doing what your school sends out or your own thing at home or a combination of the two, give yourself grace to figure out what works best for your child and your family. If not, it’s going to be an even more miserable few months.
By the way, a little PSA: The only advice I ever mean to give on here is that you should give yourself (and those around you!) grace. Ease up on yourself and look for the joy in the little moments. (Oh and take lots of videos of your babies and toddlers because you won’t remember a thing about that time in your life!)
So I am not telling you how you should do school right now or how you should navigate your family through this crisis. All I like to do is share what we are doing, in case it helps someone else in the same boat. If I can save someone the weeks of work I put into our independent distant learning plan, then I am happy to share. But please don’t think I am telling you you have to do things the way I do. Also, please don’t expect perfection from me- I am “in the works” after all!
But I am sharing a series of 3 posts for you to see what my family created. This first post shows our Independent Remote Learning Daily Schedule. I use it for my kids to visually see my daily expectations for them. If you have something like Dry Erase Pocket Covers (That’s an Affiliate Link. See my policy here) they can also check off each item as they do it and it’s a good way to track their progress.
Our daily remote school schedule may look formal, but believe me when I say it is full of choices and freedom for the kids to choose how and what they are going to learn that day. They can do their educational activities in any order and in any format. (If it isn’t already an option on our Choice Boards, then they need to clear it with me first.)
Each subject has lots of choices for how they can review or learn that day. For instance, with math, the kids can choose to play certain games (like Dominos or War for my Kindergartener) or they can choose to do workbook pages or they can choose to do online math (We came up with a huge list of those too!). There lots of ways for my kids to do their math right now.
Again, for us, the goal isn’t that they learn Trigonometry (I mean, they could if they figured out how to do it independently!), it’s that they keep the skills fresh, their brains working creatively and have daily a schedule they can rely on that keeps them busy. Because honestly, if we didn’t do this, they would want to play video games all day long. Seriously.
The kids can also go through the activities at their own pace. If they decide they want to play dominoes longer than the 30 minutes of math that I am asking for, then go for it! If they rush through their writing assignment, then stop right there. Flexibility and independence in their school day does not mean no effort. I push effort and doing work you are proud of whether you are doing a chore or writing a paper.
Therefore it’s crucial we touch base throughout the school day as they finish assignments and with any questions they might have. Obviously, my youngest child need more instruction and guidance than the older 2, but thankfully my middle son will help out occasionally. I can’t be absent with our independent remote learning plan, but I can walk out of the room and that’s something!
You can get a copy of our daily schedule by clicking download at the bottom of this PDF:
And if you want to get a copy of our Educational Activities Choices, head to this post, so I can fill you in!
Curious what educational websites we used during our remote learning? These 50+ free educational websites were our favorites!