Introduction: How I Went From a Stay @ Home Mom to Teacher in 72 Hours
Hello! Whew, talk about 4-6 years of college schooling in 72 hours! I went from being a stay at home mom 5 days a week doing the menagerie of cooking, cleaning, baking, washing clothes, dishes, floors, you name it I do it, .......to a full time teacher of 6 children ages Pre-K to 8th grade!!! Yikes....I was a high school graduate with decent grades, but honestly not a brainiac, techy, genius, scientist, math-pro, or historian whatsoever....
So...How on earth am I to teach these poor children of mine how to:
- Figure out Ratios?
- How to explain to my first grader why Hugo needs or even wants 559 watermelons?
- Teach my 8th grader about Aztecs in Ancient Rome?
- Or...How to explode an orange from a Mt. St. Helens experiment?
This is my experience and I will attempt to tell you how many of you can succeed if I can...no laughing!! Promise??
- Semi silent alarm
- Stash of power bars and healthy snacks (aka twix, snickers, almond joys....)
- 12 cups of coffee
- Space Blanket ( I will explain)
- Chain armor (this too I will explain)
- Slow Cooker
- Art supplies: anything you can use for creativity from around the house...noodles, glue, cardboard, tape, paint, food dye, oranges, grass, leaves, rocks, socks, old shirts, flower, sugar, etc......anything really!
Step 1: Dooms Day
Covid-19, Corona Virus, black clouds, heavy weighted voices, dooms day, toilet paper shortage, no water, underground bunkers, and then finally QUARANTINE, NO SCHOOL FOR 6 WEEKS ( that quickly changed to rest of school year), what!!!!!???
No School? Really.... What does THAT even mean? Wait, you must be joking. You are outta your minds! I will not become a teacher. I am not even that smart!!
"You have a ton of patience because you never use it!" my wonderful Dad reminds me. Oh yeah, and that too.
Soooooo....I decided (was forced) to become a sunshiney, patient, pretty school teacher in 72 hours.
I had the weekend to attempt to grasp the situation I was in. At least I was not alone! Well, actually I kinda was since very quickly here in WA State I was in lock down with not a soul to shake hands with, hug, or kick if I felt the need. I took stock of what I did have....food, clothes, necessities, good health for my husband, children, and myself, phones, vehicles and a nice safe place to live. Church was closed, no appointments for non-emergencies, no work, no school....oh yeah, back to that.....
Step 2: Fuel
I sneak out to the kitchen where the lights are all off and make a pot of nice strong coffee. A whole pot. 12 cups.
I breathe deeply inhaling the caffeine....er..the aroma.
I choose a pretty cup and fill it.
I then begin to assess my kitchen, living, dining areas (aka classroom) for ideas on how to place the students (my kiddos) so they will be the least distracted by each other and fight, mess around, etc.....
I get distracted by my "power bars" aka snickers bar and quickly get in my "protein" for the day. There. Check mark. Done.
I begin to clear away any clutter and make nice clean surfaces for them to work on.
Step 3: Semi-Silent Alarm & Self Talk
After 1 week of trying to get up out of bed and into the shower without waking my 2 year old daughter who thinks I am disappearing before her eyes if I take a shower and will scream in high octaves until I return....
I set my phone alarm to a pleasantly quiet tune for 5:30....sneakily tiptoe into the bath room...
I shower, dress in nicer clothes because it makes me feel good about myself, put on comfy and cute shoes, comb my hair, and talk pleasantly to myself in the mirror cheering me on. "Patience, kindness, you are a super woman, Hoorah! YMCAyyyyyyy!!!" I sing....all the while grinning crazily nice and happy at myself because I read somewhere that after 5 minutes of smiling your brain will tell you that you are happy! Try it, it works because I look so silly that I start snickering and laughing at how goofy I would look if anyone looked in at me!! They would think (know) I was crazy for sure!
Step 4: Chain Mail Armor
Deep Breath. Let it out. Deep Breath. Slow down, do not hyper-ventilate. Climb into my (imaginary) chain mail. Ok, ready??? NO, NOT READY YET. Need another cup of caffeine first. Maybe more protein??
Deep Breath......exhale.....Deep breath......exhale...In through the nose, out through the mouth.
"I am a brave warrior/mother/teacher....I am here to waken the teenager dragons....YMCAaaaay" I whisper to myself.
"Get up for school" I try to holler, but it comes out in a whisper. Clear my throat, slow my beating heart, steady my breathing...
"Get up for school" I imagine myself saying in a pleasantly sunshiney "teacher" voice....but it actually comes out in a high pitched squeak.
They hear me anyway and begin to groan, stuff their heads under pillows, and ask why I sound so weird??!! Nevermind, sigh.....
SET A SCHEDULE. A NORMAL SCHOOL DAY SCHEDULE.
Step 5: Preparation
While my middle schoolers are getting dressed, showered, fed, groomed, etc, etc, etc, what on earth takes so long???
I clear off the dining table....leave the fruit basket for my math lessons later in the morning.
Clear off kitchen island.
Make sure chairs are where they need to be.
Drink another cup of coffee. Protein? Definitely.
Where are the students?
Oh....they are already in the living room flopped into various chairs and uncomfortable positions with their chrome books open and they are working so hard!!!! Or....better check again....
"Check your emails from your teachers, and begin your daily work please!!!!"
The teachers from our schools have been amazingly supportive and great at sending work with great directions and are there to answer all questions remotely. I have to say I am greatly relieved.
My 8th grader misses her friends and socializing, but school wise she has done much better working from home.
My 5th and 6th graders have discovered www.tinkercad.com They are busy getting their assignments finished so they can keep learning how to use that so they can attempt to enter the contest here on www.instructables.com. They are enjoying it very much!
as well as the free audible sight for audio books during the covid quarantine @ www.audiblestories.com. These have been life saver for me They work hard so they can spend some time doing some learning games or listening to the free stories on audible.
Step 6: Space Blanket...
Oh yeah, that thing....not what you were picturing....
I meant your own "QUIET SPACE" blanket...You know, a huge soft squishy fleece one?
That's for when the day gets out of hand, there is bad attitude from you and/or the students...
No, I do not take this huge thing and take down any troublemakers, though I am sorely tempted.
Unroll it and lay down, get comfortable, oh and get a pillow.....
Use this for yourself. Your thinking spot. Cool down spot. Coping tools. Time out. This is a "teacher-mom" break. Your corner, your space, your time to be nice to yourself corner.
TAKE TIME TO HELP YOURSELF.
TAKE A TEACHER IN-SERVICE DAY, NO HOME SCHOOL!
(art from my daughter above)
Step 7: Task Force
I am learning that keeping my "students" on task is a full time job.
I have learned to get them up at a normal school time is very helpful as well as setting a decent bedtime. I usually wake the older middle school kids up around 7:30 am, and have them be in bed by 9:30 pm and sleeping by 10:00.
The primary school kids go to bed at 8:30 and (hopefully) asleep by 9 ish.
I let my middle school kids work without the littles around to bug them for as long as possible....
Once my littles are up and ready for the day, they each grab their chromebooks and log on. (These were kindly provided by the school district.)
I log on to my email which shows lessons to work on from each of their teachers. I print worksheets as needed. I get very overwhelmed if I look too far ahead, so its best to focus on each day one student at a time.
They have used several great websites for their learning such as:
Though these are my favorites because they actually do a lot of great work and brain stretching. I am sure there are many more out there that are great. These are FREE at this current time!
NOTE: I am getting no compensation for recommending these websites and these opinions are truly all my own from my own experience.
I have noticed my 3rd, 5th, 8th grader need to practice their multiplication facts, so....I printed off several old school paper tests for practicing on. Found several online tests to challenge them with that are online and timed. It has really helped!! For my pre-k student I continue to drill him on his letters, sounds, recognition, counting and recognizing numbers. Many fun games have helped him alot! He has now started working on his sight words, which has astounded me!!
Step 8: Challenge Day
This is a very fun, messy, crafting day.
On days when the kiddos are absolutely done with school work, mentally or physically, I have a challenge day...
This involves the art supplies I mentioned in my supply list, and must be made using things we already have around the house!
- I assign a random project to each child such as:
- Sew masks for healthcare providers
- Make a gnome
- Make a birdhouse
- Make an apron
- Make a recipe you have never tried before
- Make etc......
That's it. They come up with a design, plan it, make a materials list all on their own and begin to gather materials from around the house. If they need help, they can ask and I will provide it if I think they need it, but otherwise I encourage them to think outside the box. It has been very fun!!
This morning my first grader made a puff ball pet with google eyes and wrote a story about it and sent it to her teacher. She was so pleased! I was as well. It turned out cute. The puffball is a girl and her name is Addeline. She likes the color blue. She likes to eat pizza. She likes to swim. She is very colorful!
Step 9: Slow Cooker for School??
Yes. A Crockpot or Slow Cooker www.amazon.com/Rival-Kitchen-Housewares is a great tool. Since school takes up a lot of my usual "mom" time, I needed to use my resources at hand to help out in that department. I google slow cooker recipes and find one that I have the ingredients on hand for. I usually have some sort of roast in the freezer, so a recipe like pulled pork works good and is liked by my family. I have made many different things and have been wanting to do some experimenting in this as well, just for fun!
TIP: Find your recipe and get your Slow Cooker meal ready and started before everyone else is up. 8 hours later your healthy supper is completely ready and I feel like Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart, Annie Oakley.....uh, not her. She was a cowgirl.
Anyway, we eat healthier if I do this as well. Otherwise the frozen pizza becomes super tempting, and a salad??? What's that??
Here is a fun food recipe link:
Step 10: Encouraging Thoughts
So....this has been my way of life during the week for the most part. I have had good and bad days as all humans do. I have really appreciated my children's teachers' and am thankful to have them! They are heroes and more in my opinion! Especially after attempting this whole homeschooling thing!!
Some encouragement to pass along to other mom-teachers who are in the same boat:
- Do the Best YOU are capable of!
- Take Care of You as well.
- Take a "teacher in-service day" if you need to.
- Laughter is a huge part of coping. Mess up, laugh and move on!
- A strong mother is a wonderful thing to be. Show patience and love.
- Here is a link to a wonderful piece of encouragement that is amazing by Dr. Emily King.https://www.facebook.com/dremilyking/posts/2567028...
- Ask for help from your childrens' teachers for tips on teaching, coping, etc.
- Take a field trip. Get creative.
My best advice from my 3rd grader's teacher was to do the BEST I CAN! If I can get solid work from him for 60-90 minutes daily then that is good enough! WOW. Now I do not need to feel like he will go to 4th grade a complete failure. He likes that he can work hard for a period of time and then enjoy something outside or a craft, or even bake some cookies!
Step 11: The Outdoors
- Visit your own backyard.
- Drive into the hills and walk around.
- Go for a boat ride.
- A scavenger hunt in or out of the house.
- A picnic in your own backyard? It is very fun to eat somewhere else sometimes!
- Planting something like flower seeds, veggies, or potatoes can be a great family event as well! You can incorporate science with this like documenting what is happening to the plants daily, soil condition, weather of the day, etc....Make it up as you go....
The main thing is to HAVE FUN, LAUGH, GET OUTSIDE, STAY HEALTHY!!!
I hope you have enjoyed this silly tutorial. It is all true but slightly exaggerated in some parts I am sure you noticed!
I just want you to know that if I can do it, ....You CAN DO IT too!
Participated in the
Work From Home Speed Challenge