About Blue House Kids
Annika is 4, Maddie is 9, and Joseph is 12. During coronavirus, we are hunkered down at home. I normally work from home, but they are normally in school and daycare, so having everyone home is a challenge. The older kids have their school Chromebooks, so are connected to their school and all the school district’s electronic resources (math games, online books, etc.) But for the most part, it’s an analog day. Here’s how we are doing it…
- Meet: We start our day at about 9am with a meeting to kick things off. At this point I’ve been up and prepping/working for 3 hours, the girls have had breakfast, and Joseph has been awoken. The meeting gives an official start to the day and the kids have a chance to show off whatever they accomplished the day before. I let Joseph sleep in the first two days, but then he asked that we wake him up for the meeting, so now we do.
- Poem: Maddie suggested to start the meeting with the pledge of allegiance, since they do that in school first thing, but I have always found it a bit creepy, so I suggested reading a poem. Annika picks a random number, Maddie picks a Shel Silverstein book from the stack and reads the poem on that page.
- Morning Show: Next, we watch Maddie’s school’s morning show–two administrators or teachers do a 10-minute video each morning where they say hi, tell a joke, talk about the weather, etc.
- Recap: Then each kid gets a turn to show off what they did the previous day, I check the worksheets, or they share what they wrote or drew.
- Agenda for the Day: I give that child a checklist of 5-6 tasks that I write up that morning–usually lists a math worksheet, English assignment, art, reading for 20 minutes, and other activities. The idea is to keep sanity and establish a routine. If they learn something, great. I keep assignments easy. They each have a folder. When they have assignments coming from their teachers, we’ll add those into the mix.
- Art: I put “art” as the last item on the list, which gives them something to look forward to, and me time to think of something to do later in the day. They are then off to work on their stuff, I work…they wander back around about lunch time, then do something outside…and about 4-5pm they are back asking about the mystery art project. They have taken the “F” from the four/five o’clock timeframe and combined it, so now we have Fart Time, which they think is hilarious and ask for Fart Time daily. Even weekends. (What have I done?)
That’s our day while sheltering in place, keeping social distance, coughing into our sleeves, washing our hands, and staying away from grandparents. I hope you find a routine that works for your family. It’s not easy, but I find that having a few anchor points during the day, interspersed with some flexible time, is good for kids. And, it gives me time to get work in. Good luck out there, guys. Hang in there!
Why a Blue House?
I lived in a house in college that everyone knew as “the blue house” with 8 other ladies. The “Blue house girls” along with a few other close friends that make up this awesome group of my friends, who have all still managed to keep in touch some 20 years later, despite being across many states. We had a Zoom chat/happy hour mid-March to reconnect in this bizarre time we’ve found ourselves in. We all work, some of us are married, some of us have kids…we talked about challenges and ideas and frustrations. The initial thought of putting a few of the things I have been doing with my own kids into a group email to share somehow turned into this website. I showed my kids and they want to help with ideas now too. Plus, it’s been a project to focus on for me!