I’m sure I’m not the only parent who felt anxious when I got the notification that schools will be closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I started pulling things together and thought that I would share what we’re doing around here to facilitate our kids’ learning while school is out.
I have three elementary school kids: third grade, second grade, and kindergarten. Although they’re close in age, they’re learning different content and they definitely have different learning styles. The first thing I did was read this wonderful post by my homeschooling friend, Jen Mackintosh. I know this isn’t true homeschooling (I am just implementing the curriculum their teachers have planned), but we ARE learning at home, and it DOES require coordination on my end. Here’s what I’m doing:
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Look at what the school provides
I checked message from each of my kids’ teachers and found their assignments for the first week home. I printed each worksheet and schedule that was provided, and I bookmarked each website resource.
Organize worksheets and websites for easy accessibility
You don’t want to lose interest mid-lesson because you can’t find the work they’re supposed to be doing. Once I had all of the worksheets printed, I paper clipped them by child, and then by day. I know on Monday morning that I’ll grab the Monday packet, and pull the sheets out for the child I’m working with at that time. Bookmarking their website resources will make it easy to pull up mid-lesson.
Plan assignments for specific days
You could easily do this in a regular planner or a notebook, but I happen to have the Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner because I use it for PTO/Room Rep projects. Since our school provided guidance on lessons, it was fairly easy to sort by child and subject and then fill in my planner. If your school has NOT given guidance, try breaking sections down by subject.
Plan your daily schedule or routine
I am a huge fan of routine over schedule. Not that schedules aren’t important, but in this unusual adjustment (and because I like flexibility), I’m favoring routine over specific times right now. I have a *loose* schedule, but I’m more concerned about keeping a consistent order of activities rather than focusing on time blocks. Kids crave consistency and I’m sure it will help in this transition that they generally know what to expect each day.
Supplement as desired
As a super Type-A person, I have decided to add a little bit to the curriculum the kids are expected to follow. I created accounts for my kids on Prodigy, an online math game site that their school allows them to play during free time. I bought this USA Map placemat to help them learn geography. I added a LifeSkills category to our daily routine so that they can work on their address, learn about internet safety, and practice cooking. We are spending hours outside playing basketball and soccer and baseball to keep them moving and getting fresh air. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration if you’d like to supplement your child’s learning.
We didn’t have much time to prepare for this transition, so I’m also going to be diving into this treasure trove of resources Jen Mackintosh shared.
Give yourself some grace
I am not an expert and I’m not trying to win any awards here. (Although, it’s easy to be teacher of the year if your’e the only teacher! HA!) If the schedule isn’t followed perfectly, that’s fine. If they get a little too much screen time, that’s fine. If they sleep in and everything starts late, that’s fine. This is uncharted territory and we ALL deserve some grace. Extend some to your kids, too, because this will be an adjustment for them as well. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to do my best so they can still learn and grow.