While we wait to see what the rest of this school year will look like, I have some ideas and tips for parents home with their kids. As long as schools are closed due to COVID-19, learning will look and feel different for everyone. We don't yet know the full extent of what it will look like but it seems safe to assume you and the kids will be doing some learning from home. Here are some tips from me:
1. Your kids are not your students
If you are a teacher, don't think teaching your kids will be easy. I have a 20 year old and a 17 year old at home and they don't listen to my tutoring, training, educating, ideas, or suggestions even though they KNOW I am a teacher! It is a different dynamic, so recognize that and don't push too hard. I do find incentives work. Also, turning off their wi-fi until they do something they are told (works for chores too fyi!) If you are not a teacher, well, don't think it is because you don't know what is going on that it is hard - it is hard for everyone anyways!
2. Mental Health is more important than academics right now.
The world is full of uncertainty right now. It is a lot to manage emotionally for adults, I can't imagine how kids are handling it all. So, chunk your learning, be compassionate, understanding, empathetic and prioritize family time and doing things that bring joy. Regular breaks, hugs, and choices will help.
If you are working from home keep a schedule and routine for you and the kids. Don't try to multi-task your personal, professional and now "teacher" roles. It will not be beneficial for anyone. Try, for example, an hour of reading for the kids while you are doing work. Break time for everyone, healthy snacks or talk time. Remember you can't do it all and everyone is experiencing big changes so don't be too hard on yourself.
4. Academics: Reading
What matters most? Well I mentioned mental health and I still stand by that, but as far as academics, reading is absolutely the best thing to do every single day. After, kids can write or draw or talk about what is happening. The characters, the plot, the setting, the problem or conflict and how it is resolved. Just the act of reading then being able to share what they read is a great skill to develop at any age. Reading and retelling along with Writing will help keep their minds fresh.
5. Academics: Writing
in a journal is a great ideas to keep them writing but also for their mental health to be able to share not just what is happening but how they feel about it. Further, it is something to keep for the future to review. This is an unprecedented time and and their journals will be worth looking back on when this all ends and even sharing with their kids one day.
6. Academics: Math
Okay... besides worksheets, which may or may not go over well with your child, there are so many ways to practice math in real life. Baking, for example, measuring ingredients out is a great idea. What about going through a grocery flyer or website and making a grocery list and costing it out? Add it up. Older kids can include taxes too. Plan a vacation for when this is all over and cost out flights, hotels, activities. Younger kids can draw, cut or chalk shapes. There are tons of ways to practice math without worksheets. And don't even get me started on math GAMES! Dice, cards, so many fun options. Literally, google math games, or math card games and you will be impressed at the options!
7. Work Space
Finally, if they have specific activities or work to do for their teachers, set up a space to do it in that has no distractions and is comfortable and quiet for them to focus. Check in - offer support - don't do it for them - focus on positive praise - have breaks - and keep a schedule. It is different than school. You are not their teacher. Their friends are not there. The space is not their classroom. Be flexible. Communicate with the teacher.
I will look to post more specific activities and such in upcoming days for those who are interested.