Welcome back to Day 3 of Blogmas. I am so excited to be cruising right along… 22 days to go. Yesterday, I talked about holiday traditions of my childhood and our new family traditions. So today I am going to tackle a question I myself didn’t really think about until Mid-October or so… “How do you handle Online School during the holidays?”
Some of you have followed me for a while, and there was a time not that long ago that I was considering homeschooling. I had preschool all planned out. It was going to be exciting and fun and we’d get to take from the week of Thanksgiving until the 2nd week in January off. I had it all planned out and I was so amazed at how well it seemed to be working, until I actually started. When the girls didn’t want to do stuff, or things got crazy and we missed a day here or there, I knew I needed some back-up with school.
When I signed The Oldest up for Kinder with Connections Academy I was not even thinking about how hard it would be to try to do school in the midst of holiday chaos. I know a lot of people will say, “Don’t all kids have issues with school during the holidays?” and most teachers might even say they have a harder time keeping the kids attention during this time of year (maybe, if you’re a teacher, feel free to weigh in here). However, it seems I have a 5.5 year old and almost 4 year old who are very aware that they have full control of themselves and I can not “make” them do anything. So, we flail around most days and eventually get some form of work done. I didn’t think about it until Halloween started getting closer and I saw just how distracted they were getting.
After a few days of brainstorming, I came up with some guidelines that we will live by this holiday season.
3 Tips For Online School During the Holidays
1. Lower Your Expectations
This one was the first step I found to getting through these long crazy days with at least some of my marbles still rolling around in my brain.. I had to lower my expectations for the school day, attention span, and also for holiday activities. Kids are excited this time of year, and all the activities and extras mixed with their imaginations about the big day, they won’t be able to focus nearly as long as they could in September. With less focus means it takes longer to get through lessons and also longer to learn a new skill. This means possibly a longer school day, or less busy work if she grasps the concept. I am also only scheduling activities and outings on weekends (Fri-Sun). We will still do something each day with out Acts of Kindness and an activity of sorts from Zippy Apple our elf, but the main outings and activities that require a lot of prep, will happen on the weekend when we have more time to devote to said activity.
2. Change Up Routine/Add More Breaks.
We were starting the day off with some PBS Kids and breakfast and then into lessons, now I try to add a fun activity between breakfast and our first lesson. Play Doh or Legos or Coloring all have their place in helping with fine motor and problem solving, and once they have had some fun, we do 1 lesson, then another break and so on and so forth. Creating more breaks and more times for them to move around or just relax for a bit means the work that we actually get done is better quality.
3. Plan, Plan, Plan
Once I lowered the expectations and realized I was going to need more breaks, I was able to start planning. For us, we have 4 hours of therapies a week and 2 hours of live lessons we have to plan around, plus getting all lessons done on time before Winter Break. I now have a plan for getting through a certain amount of lessons per day, if we get through those lessons, we are done. I have 2 days a week with more free time than the others, and those are the days we get the most lessons done, and the other days are planned out according to the amount of appointments we have that day. I am also working some of our fun holiday activities into lessons. Making cards works on reading and writing, and baking works on math and science.
So there are my tips for getting through online school days during the holidays. If you homeschool or do online school and have any other tips, feel free to drop them in the comments below, and come back tomorrow for DAY 4 of Blogmas 2017 which will be all about our first weekend of the holiday season.