Here we are: grappling with a pandemic; hoarding food like squirrels; cleaning like fanatics; fending off despair; if we can, working from home; and, if we have kids, struggling to keep them occupied, positive, and educated (sort of). My husband and I both have backgrounds in education, and yet we are totally out of our league when it comes to homeschooling our four and six-year-old kids while also juggling our very busy jobs.
Our kids aren’t old enough to self-direct their own learning, and we can’t be the focused teachers we wish we could. That’s a recipe for feeling crappy about ourselves as parents. Who needs that stress? The pandemic alone is enough.
So, what to do?
A few things we’ve tried that are helping
My husband and I have designated mornings as “school” to keep our kids on a semblance of the routine they were used to. We’ve created projects they can pick from during “school,” like math games with dice, painting pet rocks, and writing practice in write-on wipe-off books. Sunday afternoons are now dedicated to sorting out and setting up enough projects to (hopefully) keep them occupied for the following week — all collected from the kids’ teachers, our parent friends, and scouring the internet.
Based on the daily demands of our work schedule, my husband and I take turns with adult supervision during “school.” That looks like us on our laptops with headphones on mostly ignoring our kids, but we’re there if they get stuck, distracted, or start destroying things. It’s not nearly as great as real school, but it’s working for us for now.
We’re all doing the best we can.
Inspired by this article, our kids’ grandparents and auntie “teach” a 30-minute class each week. We’re still figuring it out, but so far that’s looking like story time, drawing, and a lesson on evolution (Way to go, mom!).
Afternoons are free time, which means it’s kids choice of nap time, educational videos the school recommends, online math games, or free play. This may sound substantive, but it basically means we give up on trying to manage anything. 🤷♀️
Some of our favorite resources
We’ve discovered a wonderful world of online drawing classes, exercise classes, read-alouds, math games, and more. Here are a few favorites:
- Star Wars Kids Workouts
- Cosmic Kids Yoga
- Happy Numbers math games
- Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
- Art for Kids Hub
- Tumblebooks Library (with a Spanish option)
- Teachers Pay Teachers
I am so grateful for these tools. They help me feel like less of a failure in a time when I can’t possibly ace everything but shouldn’t beat myself up about it. We’re all doing the best we can.
Introducing Cooper Professional Education Story Time
In the spirit of helping parents and caregivers feel better about themselves, here’s a little treat from us to you: Cooper Professional Education Story Time, a collection of our favorite children’s books, read by our faculty, designers, and staff — rich entertainment for your kids, a moment of respite for you.
Teresa Brazen reads Mabela the Clever by Margaret Read MacDonald, a retelling of a folktale from the Limba people in Sierra Leone
Jaya Appenteng reads The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Teresa Brazen reads Mama Lion Wins the Race by Jon J. Muth
Shannon McGarity reads The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Teresa Brazen reads Leo: A Ghost Story, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Christian Robinson
Phil Hall reads reads Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack
Teresa Brazen reads The Rumour, written by Anushka Ravishankar and illustrated by Kanyika Kini
Christian Linsey reads The Thinking Book, written by Sandol Stoddard Warburg and illustrated by Ivan Chermayeff
Phil Hall reads How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
Gustavo Burnier reads Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
Michelle Hernandez reads The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
Keep on keepin’ on, parents and caregivers. We hope this helps!
Teresa Brazen is the Managing Director of Cooper Professional Education.