5 Tips For Learning at Home When School is Closed
Right now many parents are taking on the role of continuing their children’s learning at home when school is closed.
Many public school districts are nowhere near ready to provide adequate online or distance learning. That, in and of itself, is a serious issue considering it’s 2020. But that discussion is better left for another day.
Right now, we are witnessing the biggest homeschooling social experiment the U.S. has seen since our country started compulsory schooling in the state of Massachusetts in 1852.
The hardship that parents will feel is going to be brutal. Our country is inadequately prepared to help already disadvantaged families who will bear the brunt of this pandemic.
School District are Worried
Schools are worried about closing because of the amount of homeless and food insecure children they serve. Districts are scrambling to find ways to continue providing basic necessities to children in their school community. That is sickening.
Finding childcare when you have to work in order to get paid, is going to be near impossible. People are going to go to work sick because they can’t take time off–for lack of paid sick time. It’s going to be an utter ❤️ show.
All this said, we must try to find the positive and continue to practice gratitude.
You are Where it Starts
We have parents who are now home with their kids and who have a unique opportunity to re-engage in their children’s education–Not a teacher? Have no clue how you can support your child in learning? Remember that YOU are where it all began. Take this time to re-connect.
Learning doesn’t mean schooling.
There are so many ways you can support your child’s learning when school is closed. The most important thing is to step back and follow their lead and find a rhythm.
Kids do thrive on predictability so try to think about how you can structure your day. You don’t have to be rigid about it, but it might make life easier for everyone if you come up with a rhythm that keeps you moving forward.
You can download a free printable block schedule here.
1. Ask them what excites them about school
Is it art? Science? Reading? Gym? Start there.
Pinterest up some art or science projects. Let them make their own creation with whatever art materials you have laying around. Watch what they create and build on it. Did they draw an animal? Find something to read about that animal.
Did they create something abstract? Look up a Youtube video about abstract art.
Let them come up with an experiment you guys can conduct at home. Talk about it. Have them write about it. Read about it.
Do they love to read? Let them read and when they are done ask them questions. Have them draw the main character and write about the character’s personality. Look up graphic organizers for characterization, plot, theme (based on your child’s age) and you will find tons of activities for them to do relating to literacy.
Read non-fiction. Check out Newsela for articles that allow you to customize by reading level. Do some research with them related to any content found in the article. Look at related pictures and talk through what you’re reading. Model engaging in content.
Use phrases like “I wonder” and “What do you think….”
Do they love physical education class? Do you have a backyard? Kick them outside for a few hours. Make an indoor obstacle course with couch pillows, step stools, boxes, painters tape. Get them doing something active. Have them shoot paper balls into a basket. Set up empty bottles as pinballs and let them do some house bowling. Do a workout together. Try yoga or pilates. There are tons of free videos online and you don’t need any real equipment.
Are they budding mathematicians? Direct them to Khan Academy where they can do self-paced lessons online (just don’t let them sit online for hours on end).
2. Involve them in your day to day
You don’t have to do anything particularly academic if you don’t want to. Forget worksheets, learning apps and memorizing information. You can simply involve them in your day to day and talk to them about some of the tasks involved in being an adult (age appropriate of course).
Learning at home is the perfect time for them to learn life skills.
Have them help with laundry, or unload the dishwasher, or help fold clothes….let them make a grocery list and look up prices online. Give them a budget and see if they can add everything up and stay within that budget. Bake something from scratch and have them figure out converting measurements.
Sit down and eat together. Drag out the meal to talk about the shape, size, color, texture or taste of different foods. Do a blind taste test or try out a new recipe and sample ingredients along the way.
3. Get them outside
Get. Them. Outside. Here is a list of 100 things to do outside with your kids Some may not apply considering we should be trying to practice social distancing.
4. Embrace boredom
It’s important, regardless of age, to allow your kid(s) time and space to be bored. Let them sulk. Let them complain. Give them encouragement to figure it out. Let them play, build, imagine, write, and create. Let THEM figure out how to spend their time with NO input from you. Figure out a particular time of day that works best for your family and keep it consistent. One of the best parts of learning at home is that children will have more time, and more space.
5. Keep screens to a minimum
It might be VERY easy to let screens take over. If you’re not used to limiting screen time in the afternoon when your child is home from school, or you’ve never had to because they are always in after school extracurriculars, then this might be especially difficult.
Maybe your child has online school work to do. Or you’re having them do Khan academy math work. Maybe they are doing a coding app on an iPad. All fine.
Just make sure you set limits and engage in these other activities that allow you to re-connect and re-engage in your child’s education in a meaningful way.
How are you coping with learning at home? What activities do you have planned to help pass the time? Head over to our Facebook group to chat with like-minded families.
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