Coronavirus Homeschoolers

Hi all,

So due to the nationwide school closures in the UK (announced today), my wife and I, and all the families in our church are now looking at homeschooling our children from Monday (23rd March) until possibly September!

I love to put together a homeschooling tips sheet for church families (and for personal use!!!). What are your top tips for homeschooling?


We are working on some resources in the coming days that people can utilize!

I’m just glad I do not have school-aged children right now…Homeschooling is one of my greatest personal fears. :rofl:

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Here are some resources I’ve come across in the past few days. One of the curriculum companies we use put out a blog post about this – they do mention some of their products, but focus on many things that can be done from home with just the supplies you have:

For art enrichment, my kids have enjoyed “Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems”

Bushel and Peck Books is also offering some free resources:

Were you looking for tips more along the lines of “how not to kill each other when you’re not used to spending the whole day together”? :wink:


Have a plan for what you want to accomplish each day, each week, each month. Then you can be flexible, but still meet goals.

Do the harder, more boring stuff in the morning when everyone is fresh and motivated, and save the easier, more fun stuff for after lunch.

If you have multiple kids who need individual attention, try to work out a schedule that keeps different kids doing what they can do independently at different times, so the parent can give one on one attention without the other kids just waiting around.


Another tip is to remember that boredom is a necessary stimulant for creativity, and it is not your job to entertain your children all day just because they are home with you.

If kids tell you they are bored, say, “That stinks. I’m confident you can figure out something to do.” And go back to your own work.

Some of my friends are pulling their hair out trying to figure out how to keep their kids “occupied” all day and asking how I manage. I understand the need to provide some kind of structure and guidance for some of the day, but most homeschoolers are not driven crazy by their children because their kids know how to play or otherwise occupy themselves independently when they are done with school, even with screen time limits. Everyone else’s kids will figure out how to do this too if parents stop enabling them and filling up their days with endless “activities.”

Also you definitely should expect them to help more with all household chores, since everyone being home more makes more messes.


This, definitely! I’ve heard it referred to as “the gift of boredom.” We make sure to provide lots of art supplies and other things for our kids to use throughout the day (crayons, markers, colored pencils, scratch paper, sketch pads, construction paper, tape, etc.) but it’s up to them to use them when given some inspiration (and we do try to teach them to clean up their own messes in the process, but we’re still working on that :wink: ).

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My mother always said I wasn’t allowed to say I was bored or she’d find something for me to do. I read a lot of books. :rofl:


I should probably add that phrase into my “Mom playbook!”

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Massive thanks to everyone for their helpful replies. This is really helpful - for me as we try to manage having a 6 and 3 year old at home and still try to me work commitments and as I think about how best to support families who are doing the same.


I’m having the same struggle with a 5 and 7 year old at home. For the first couple of days, they really liked the novelty of working in the new classroom I set up for them in a corner of my home office. Fortunately, their teachers sent us home with about 3 weeks worth of papers and assignments. But after a week now, the novelty is wearing off and its hard to keep them focused on their work, especially while I’m in call-in meetings most of the day.

While it is a challenge, we are grateful to all be together, and grateful to still have our jobs.

@Laura thanks for those suggested resources. We tried the Mo Williams lunch hour this Monday, and the kids enjoyed it.


How it it going now, @LM77 and @MOls?

I have a 6 and 8 year old at home and can relate to the difficulties described in this thread. I feel like we started to get into a routine by the third week, and then Spring Break hit. (I’m not complaining, we really did need a break.)

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We are learning through this and respect all of you habitual homeschoolers still more (though both My wife and I had some homeschooling as MK’s/ missionary kids). My wife is doing a great job…The only problem is that she discovered enough material posted by my son’s teachers that we missed earlier that we have to skip Spring Break (it was too light before, so he is taking it in stride). It is a bit of a challenge to me to help him with math, as it was never my strong point. Good for you all, doing it all the time. We are learning discipline, among other things.

Here are some activities you may not have run across yet in your efforts to educationally entertain during this time!


Thanks for asking, Kathryn,
In our 2nd and 3rd week of homeschooling our kid’s teachers ramped up their online teaching, so my kids got to start almost every day with a 45min Zoom video lesson. It was fun to see their friends and motivational to get the encouragement from their teachers about doing their work. The 2nd grade teacher also started sending work using Google slides, where she could see my daughter’s progress in real time and write in little comments of encouragement. The teacher also started sending a daily schedule, which also motivated my daughter to stay a bit more focused. This helped me feel like we were staying on track with expectations. As parents, we were having a hard time knowing how much work to expect the kids to get done in a day. Its still challenging balancing homeschooling with work responsibilities and call-in meetings, but that additional support from the teachers has helped a lot.


To say it has has been an adjustment is a bit of an understatement! I’m still working with all my usual pastoral care commitments and my wife is still trying to complete the first year of her full-time PhD, etc. But I think we are getting somewhere now.

We do all our 6yo’s school work in the morning, focusing mainly on Maths and English (and a bit of science). We also alternate which who does school work on which day so that both of us can get some work done. Fortunately, with no mid-week church programs, I have the time to help out in this way. Not everyone is as fortunate to have a flexible employer.

Technically, he is on school holidays for 2 weeks, but now that we are in a bit of a rhythm with his schoolwork, we’re just going to press on. I fear that if we stop for two weeks, we’ll never get him near the dining table ever again! And we might not want him to either!!!

Another challenge is that our 3yo is getting rather jealous of all the attention (Ie. schooling) his brother is getting and so has started acting up. But I guess that is understandable.

Thanks for asking.


Toddlers and preschoolers can make homeschooling older children difficult. Some things I’ve learned over the last 10 years of homeschooling…

  1. Start with the younger child. Do something they think of as “school”, which can include reading picture books, singing songs, doing art, counting small bits of food (we use chocolate chips for math), etc. Basically, you’re focusing attention on that child before doing anything else. This need only take 15-30 minutes, tops.
  2. Include them in the older child’s lessons! I’ve rarely had to teach my third child anything. He has soaked up the older children’s lessons from very early on. I didn’t even have to teach him to read. One time I was doing a little bit of basic literary analysis using a children’s picture book to explain some basic concepts like setting, climax, etc. I asked my oldest child (8 at the time) what the climax of the story was, and he didn’t know, but my 3 year old chimed in and answered correctly! That child is almost 11 now, and I’ve combined him with his 13 year old brother in most subjects.

My current youngest is preschool age (she just turned 5 this year), and she has some kindergarten work she can do when she asks to “do math” (which is usually reading). I don’t require school of her, but I have something available to do if she is wanting to be like her big brothers. When my 3rd son was 3-4, I used to have some K-2 level workbooks around that he could “do school” with. Really it was just coloring or scribbling. The real learning at that age is helping Mom with chores, reading books, going out in nature, asking Mom lots and lots of questions. :slight_smile:


This is amazing advice! What a great idea. Thank you.

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We are on Spring Break this week, and I’m already dreading the throwdown we will have on Monday when it is time to return to schoolwork!

So glad you and your wife can work together that way. I assigned my husband to do most of my kindergartener’s work with him in the evenings. :slight_smile:

Agreed, our kids’ teachers are being incredibly supportive too. I was kind of hoping they might apply some of our unused snow days to shorten the school year, but alas saw today that the academic year is still planned to end on June 5.

I saw you were on the FC event on Monday! So fun.

Not sure how useful or appropriate this might be but I found it an interesting visualization of the pandemic’s spread.


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