You Are Not Alone | Navigating the Transition to Homeschool | Sarah Keenan

So many of us, whether by choice or due to school closures, are facing schooling our children at home.  It seems daunting.  It may seem particularly difficult for those of us that work a full time job, also now from home.  I have been getting lots of messages about homeschooling, scheduling, and balance.  I feel you.  While there is no one-size-fits-all in this circumstance, I want to share a few of the tips that the Keenan Crew employs to maintain accomplishment, sanity, and some level of organization.

You’ve Got This, We’ve Got This

This may sound like a typical Motivation Monday post.  But, this is what it means::  Get connected.  Join local Facebook groups, follow other families that are in your shoes, get in touch with your school districts, and spend a little time understanding what resources are available to you and your family.  Knowing that you are not alone, understanding what others are doing in their homes and determining what solutions your local schools are providing makes navigating this new journey not so scary.

Routine

In our home, we laughingly call it a flexible concrete schedule.  (Grab a short version of my Family Planner files below).  With multiple children at multiple stages with different learning styles, strengths, and frustrations I would be foolish to believe that any schedule could remain 100% intact throughout the day.  But, creating a daily plan built on a typical routine serves as our platform for expectations and goals during our school and work day.  For example, a simple daily plan might look like this::

  • Get Up
  • Family Breakfast
  • Get Dressed, Make Beds
  • Schooling
  • Snack Break
  • Outside Play

More on our typical daily routine later.  But, you get the idea.  Your routine is not detailed.  It is a simple outline for your day and the organization of routine allows more time for fun and family activities.

You Are Not Required to Bring the Classroom Home

Homeschoolers do not typically school for an 8 hour day.  Take time to sit with your partner and older children to determine what everyone’s needs are.  This is uncharted territory.  Create an environment that takes everyone’s needs into consideration.  It may work best for you to school your children in the morning, giving them more independent work in the afternoon and even when you need to take client calls or return your boss’s email.  Or, maybe your work needs to be accomplished in the early hours of the day.  Pull out the art box and let the kiddos create a special project for their grandparents while you check off your work to-do list and plan to school in the afternoon.  Creating a schedule that fits your families needs is key.

Have a Dedicated School & Work Space

I will be showing you the organization of our school and my work space over the next few days.  Your schooling area does not have to be an entire room dedicated to school and work.  But, having a designated area where all children are school focused helps the motivation of daily work and lessens the distractions of electronics, toys, outside noise, and the kitchen.  Having one place to organize and store school work and utensils is also helpful.

Include Work as A Family Team

Chores such as laundry, cooking dinner, preparing breakfast, cleaning dishes, and keeping house can be included in your school and work day.  In our home, we have a chores list.  We are all responsible for making life happen here.  Ask children, even young children, to work in teams to make beds, clear the table, and fold laundry.  We are all in this together.  Ask your children to help support the changes in your environment.

Give Grace

This is an uncertain time for everyone.  While we are hope that this weird and scary time in our lives is short lived, we are faced with these transitions that are difficult for everyone.  Giving Grace to yourself, your children, and your spouse is going to be one of the greatest gifts that we can give.  Allow time for these transitions.  Stick to routine, but be flexible.  Take time to celebrate the extra time you have to spend at home and with your family.  Being kind, compassionate, patient, and courageous in this season is a lesson that we are teaching our children that is far greater than any book knowledge we can give them.

Take Time with Your Crew

These are unique times.  I do not have any illusion that this is not a devastating season in our lives.  But, with a break from the normal hub-bub of our daily, busy lives this is also a rare opportunity to connect, laugh, hug, and create memories with our families.  Challenge each person in your home to come up with two items to add to a running list of family activities.  Then pick one or two each day and mark them off.  Here is a little bit of what is on ours::

  • Make Friendship Bracelets
  • Paint Flower Pots
  • Cornhole Face-off
  • Family Movie Night
  • Take a Hike
  • Start Our Spring Garden
  • Bake Muffins
  • Make Headbands
  • Bonfire with S’mores
  • Dance Party
  • Spa Day
  • Make Dreamcatchers
  • Workout- everyday 🙂
  • Karaoke

It is not a secret that my entire sanity is built upon organization.  I am a list maker of all list makers.  Most of you are far cooler than me and likely have the ability to survive chaos without the need to make lists just before bed and review them, again, first thing in the morning before anyone else is awake.  But, in the event that you are looking for a way to outline your families new daily structure, grab this abbreviated version of my Family Planner HERE for free.  I will tackle how I use each of these documents in future posts. ❤️

I’ve seen this quote circulating social media.  It has brought peace to some of my stress and anxiety.  So, I want to leave you with it today.  I am praying for each of you, for our communities large and small.  You are not alone.  Please reach out to me anytime with questions or to share in this transition.

With Grit & Grace~
Sarah Keenan

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” ~Kitty O’Meara

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sarah keenan photographer knoxville asheville wedding family

meet sarah

CENTRAL AND EAST TENNESSEE WEDDING + FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

I have an affinity to all things light and airy.  I love color, sunshine, romance, and laughter.  I love inspirational quotes, meeting new people, flowers, and the idea of finishing a great book.  My go-to drink is coffee.  My outlet is dance.  And, aallllll of my free time is spent with my crew, including our German Shepherd, Gaia.   

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Hi there!  I am Real Estate Photographer, Sarah Keenan.  Raised in East Tennessee and a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and all that offers runs deep for this gal.  Having worked in photography for over 14 years, I am excited to be back home and working along side folks like you.

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