Homeschool Heroes: ‘The biggest, most important challenge’
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With four school-aged children, the Fleming family has been busy during this pandemic, but they came up with a system that works well. Baron, 12, Braden, 11, Bretton, 8, and Ainsley, 5, print their weekly calendars on Sunday and post them on the refrigerator, so it is easy for them to check off tasks throughout the day.
“Our teachers have done a fantastic job at transitioning to distance learning, so having a weekly calendar ready for them helps us all prepare for the week ahead,” said their mother Kailey Fleming.
The three boys have varying schedules each day, all of which include Google meetings with their classes and individual daily assignments. While they work on that, Kailey helps Ainsley, who is in pre-K, work on letter sounds, sight words and math. A lunch break is usually followed by one more meeting, finishing up any outstanding assignments and then play time outside.
“Throughout the transition of going from traditional school to homeschool, we felt it extremely important to continue the consistency of a daily learning schedule and keep them engaged and challenged,” Kailey said. “We invest in each of our children as individuals and want to keep them moving forward in their knowledge and skills.”
While the four children juggle schoolwork, their parents, Kailey and Brian, are juggling work. The couple owns three businesses: Steamboat Hat Shop, Summit Apparel Solutions and Lotus Soy Candle Co.
“We spend a lot of time working from home before the kids get up and after they go to bed,” Kailey said. “We have had to master the art of multi-tasking.”
Typically, one parent stays home in the morning while the kids work on school and the other parent goes to the shop or office. When the kids are done with school for the day, the parents trade places or the whole family goes to the office to help out.
It’s a joint effort for the Fleming family. The two older boys help their younger siblings when needed, and the family has even utilized grandparents as well.
“Their grandparents FaceTime to read stories to the younger two kids, which has been wonderful when I need to focus on work,” Kailey said.
If things get stressful, as they tend to do when balancing three businesses and four children, taking short breaks to get outside as a family helps to keep things in perspective.
They have found that not having activities in the evening has allowed them to slow down as a family and enjoy dinners together without the rush of getting to the next scheduled event.
And while it’s been a lot to manage the past few months, Kailey explained, “Our motivation comes from the fact that we are doing our best to raise decent human beings who have a deep rooted set of morals and integrity. Modeling for them and holding them to the standard of doing their best — even when it doesn’t seem to matter — is a huge part of that.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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If you need it, help is available in Routt County. Here is a guide to local resources in different areas relating to mental health.