As we get deeper and deeper into the Global Pandemic fiasco, we realized we had to make some changes in order to adapt to the world around us, which led my husband and I have many conversations on changes we need/want to make in order to stay sane for our sakes and our kids' sake.
In the beginning, we thought this would be short lived if everyone would just take the necessary precautions but we see where that landed us. Now that we are over 6 months in, life as we know it is totally different.
As pre-pandemic homeschoolers, I did feel like we had a leg up on this "homeschool"/virtual learning thing because none of our core school plans had to change because of COVID-19. But what did change were:
The kids can't have their friends over
No more Science classes at Zoo Atlanta (the entire family really loved this)
No more field trips with other homeschoolers
No more dropping the kids off for date night
So that equates to having virtually NO breaks from parenting 24 hours 7 days per week. I never thought that this would be difficult because we've been homeschooling for a few weeks and I work from home. But what I didn't account for were all of the little breaks we received when they were in a class or playing with their friends or when we got a few minutes of adult conversation with other couples.
This began to feel a little stressful and slightly depressing. It doesn't mean, we don't love our life or our kids or don't appreciate that we still have the means to put food on the table. It really means, that so much around us has changed, and we should make some changes ourselves in order to adapt. So, here are a few of the changes we made to help alleviate stress within our family and to adapt to our "new normal".
Created a Weekly School Schedule
I really felt the need to get a little more organized with our school schedule for many reasons. 1. With so many more people choosing to homeschool, I feel that it's only a matter of time before stricter state laws are on the way. So I wanted to create a schedule to ensure that we are completely compliant with our state homeschool laws. 2. It also helps the kids become more independent with their schooling because they know what to expect each day and they can go and execute. You can check out our Daily Learning Schedule below. In addition to our schedule, we keep a log of all of the books the boys read each month.
Created Alternating Weekly Meal Plan
If you've ever had your kids in daycare or in school, they usually have a set menu and they just swap them out weekly. We did the same thing and it has been a game changer. It's reduced my grocery bill because I'm not just aimlessly buying what looks good. I have a goal and we eat out less because we already have a plan. You can check out one week of our meal plan below.
We're Making a Conscious Effort to be Outside More
Don't downplay our need for Vitamin D. A little sunshine can really lift your mood. Some days the kids will spend almost all day outside. On these days I'm grateful that we homeschool and our kids aren't stuck on a Zoom meeting for hours at end, especially our 5 year old.
We Send our Kids to Bed on Time!
It's so tempting to just let them stay up and hang out because it's not like they have to get up early and catch a school bus. But, when the kids are in your face ALL DAY, EVERY DAY…at some point, you have to shut it down and make some time for you and/or time for you and your spouse.
Take More Time Off
This one was specifically for me. I was working way too much. And this is work on top of homeschooling, spiritual activities, family obligations etc. I needed to take more days off just to decompress and I had to reduce the number of classes I taught on Outschool. My husband always tells me how nice it is when I take days off.
Prioritizing our Happiness
Sometimes we have things we should be doing but there are times where we have to prioritize our day or week and just do something that makes us happy. So much is already dictated for us (where we can or cannot go etc.), this helps us to take back more control of our lives.
Changed our Diet
During the pandemic, I did some reflecting on my diet and my body and I decided to go back to a plant-based diet in order to be at my best. Six months after my second child was born, I watched a documentary on Netflix and went cold-turkey vegan. I remember having such mental clarity and less fogginess and less mommy brain despite getting very little sleep each night. So, once again, I've ditched the meat, dairy AND bread and sugar and so far, I feel amazing!
Sometimes we caught up in thinking that we are not being "affected" by COVID-19 because we still have our jobs or because we have not contracted the virus (yet). But this pandemic reaches deeper than that. It affects how we think and move in this world and its okay to take a step back and make changes to gain or maintain your sanity and happiness.