Last month we decided to withdraw our daughter from school for repeated illnesses. It was not a serious medical issue, more that she was coming home sick every couple weeks with a viral infection and couldn’t seem to get back to 100%. The stress of missing school days and having a ton of make-up work coupled with early rising was delaying her recuperation. By allowing her to learn at home, she has a chance to sleep in and rest when needed. We’ve been homeschooling for a few weeks now and she is finally getting healthy and strong. Next week her brothers will join her in learning at home, given the school closures due to COVID-19. I thought I would share a few tips for helping your kids learn from home.
Tip #1: Take It Slow
The first day I met with my daughter for our lessons, I thought we would just launch into learning but there were some hiccups and resistance to MY agenda. It took us a couple weeks to get a routine going as well as for me to understand her learning preferences and the subjects she enjoys learning most. Her brothers are in 3rd and 9th grade. Monday, I will have an elementary, middle school and high school learner needing learning opportunities and guidance. I don’t have plans or know whether teachers will be sending out assignments. We will take it slow and ease into developing a routine with productive time spent reading and solving math problems.
Tip #2: Learning at Home Takes Less Time
The kids will not be busy strictly from 8am -3pm when they are are home. Going through lessons take less time when learning at home. Sometimes, if there’s a difficult concept to learn, it will take more time, but learning at home generally takes less time than a regular school day. My middle schooler can complete her assignments in about 3 hours each day and then spends 30 minutes – 1 hour reading or finishing up an assignment. That leaves A LOT of time to fill with other activities. I expect my elementary aged son to spend about 2 hours each day with lessons and my high schooler will likely spend about 5-6 hours on assignments. I am hoping we get some assignments from the teachers.
Tip #3: Ideas & Activities
Given the shortened learning day when you are home, it will be useful to have some extra ideas ready for when the kids need a change of pace. Below, you will find a list of links to websites and lists of things to do with school aged children. My number one recommendation is to send the kids outside. Here are some outdoor ideas with social distancing in mind:
- Nature Walks (even around the neighborhood)
- Walk the dog
- Bike Rides
- Go to a park with large field areas
- Go to nature preserves, arboretums, or gardens
- Plant seeds & start a small kitchen garden
- Have the kids take care of the outdoor space
- Play board games outside
- Have a picnic in the backyard or on the patio
- Camp in your backyard
Websites with Educational & Hands-On Activities
- dailySTEM : 77 Simple STEM Activities for Families (printable with ideas for doing STEM at home or school)
- Instructables : STEAM project instructions for elementary-ages through adults
- TinkerLab : Art and Science activities for babies through elementary kids
- BabbleDabbleDo: Art, Science, Engineering & Design Activities for Kids Preschool – Elementary
- Artful Parent: Creativity & Art activities for toddlers through elementary
I hope you find these resources helpful as you transition to having your kids at home. School closures are impacting families around the world. Let’s hope these measures greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save the lives of those vulnerable to developing serious conditions. In my next post, I will make recommendations for educational learning materials and resources that I have found useful.