1. Don’t try to replicate school at home.
You don’t have to follow a bell-regimented schedule– yay! This can be a great time to allow your kids to immerse themselves in projects and explorations. A veteran homeschool parent shares some thoughts here: https://www.squarepegssupport.com/blog
2. Create an environment where kids (and adults) can experience a connection with their work called Flow.
Regular school days don’t allow time for flow. You have an amazing opportunity to help your children find true connection with the joy of learning. Flow is when we are engaged in work we care about that meets us at the corner of interest and challenge. Find out more here: https://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_flow_the_secret_to_happiness?language=en
3. Engage in radical self-care.
We’re all stressed about the big changes going on in the world, and if you are a parent with kids at home you are also responsible for young humans. This is a big challenge, so be kind to yourself. Find ways to engage in self-care with your family. Some great ideas were shared by Shelly Harvey, a member of the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented, during a recent Facebook Live talk about managing stress. For more information about this series of free presentations to support parents and families during this time, see www.mcgt.net.
4. Remember that your preferred working style and your kid’s preferred working style may be different, and that requires careful and respectful negotiation.
It’s hard to work in close quarters with someone who has a very different working style. Are you a fan of a neat environment, or do you take a more relaxed approach to tidying up? Do you like a little noise while you work, or is silence your friend? Do you work best alone, or are you a social learner? How do you manage multiple styles and preferences that may appear to be incompatible? Some ideas here: http://www.davidsongifted.org/search-database/entry/a10844
5. Find ways your family can make a difference.
Service to others is one great way to counteract feelings of hopelessness and insignificance. Right now, according to the CDC, the biggest thing we can do for our communities is limit our interactions to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. It’s a big job, but it doesn’t really feel like action. What else can you do? Some folks are sewing masks for healthcare workers. https://www.allinahealth.org/-/media/allina-health/files/mask-sewing-how-to.pdf. Others are helping chronically ill or elderly neighbors by doing grocery runs or helping with yard maintenance. People are doing car parades to show support and love for members of the community who are missing out on birthday celebrations. Communities are scheduling times to clap for health care workers, sing with each other, or exercise together, all while keeping a safe distance by staying in their own front yards or windows. Donations to food shelves are stepping up. You may be able to loan out your extra tech to help folks who don’t have a way of connecting with the outside world. This can be a time to connect with loved ones over video chats or by sending letters. Yes, the WHO says it’s safe to send letters: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/statements/usps-statement-on-coronavirus.htm
Courage and strength! Stay well.