Teaching Kids at Home During Covid-19 Closures
This week, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a time for adaptation and flexibility. Our school district is shut down for what I can only imagine is the rest of the year. Our kids are no longer able to see their teachers, friends, or loved ones. They are no longer able to learn from trained professionals, but instead are relying on parent instruction. Jackie and I are not alone in this. Parents all across our state and country are facing the same predicament – How do we continuing educating our kids without formal schoolings?
Jackie and I have taken different approaches this week because no two households are the same. I am a stay-at-home mom with a husband who is able to work from home, while Jackie is a part-time speech therapist whose husband, a doctor, risks his own health every day to care for those in need during this crisis. We have other friends who have had to throw formal education of any kind out the window as they rely on teenagers to watch their kids because both parents are in the emergency health field.
Let me start by saying this: Whatever you are doing during this uncertain and unprecedented time is enough. You are doing great. Children are resilient. Just being there to love on them and lend support means you are rocking the parenting game. So please, please don’t beat yourselves up and don’t compare what your household is doing to what your neighbors are doing. Only you know what is best for your family.
With that said, we know that people are looking for suggestions and ideas on how to schedule their kid’s schooling – particularly families with younger children. So we are going to show you how we are approaching homeschooling with our own families. Hopefully, you will find this post to be helpful.
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Kirsten’s Approach to Teaching Kids at Home During Covid-19
As the primary parent during the week, staying home with children is par for the course for me, making the adjustment to home school life easier for me than for my husband or most parents I know. This blog is something I’ve always been able to do around my kid’s schedules so I’m able to be more in-depth with my home-schooling than probably 80% of the people in my community. My husband is working limited hours at home, so he is still able to be our math (not my strong suit) and gym teacher.
My approach to their schooling has been to occupy the kids’ brains with school-related learning from 9:30 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday with 2 hours in there for lunch, gym, and outdoor time. I aim to cover Reading/writing for 60 minutes and Math for 60 minutes each day with my K and 2nd boys as per the guidelines laid out by our school. I also try to have social studies, science, outdoor/gym, and home ec lesson each day if I can. A sample schedule is below:
9:30-10:00 – Writing assignments send home from school. Raz-Kids or ABC Mouse if there is time to spare.
10-:10:30 – Math packets as sent home by my 2nd grader’s teachers. My kindergartner plays Zeus on the Loose, his own math packets, or some of the logic games we rounded up here.
10:30 – 11 – Dreambox for my 2nd grader, Happy Numbers for my K. Yoga for Mom and Dad.
11-11:30 – Zoom with K’s class for storytime and break.
11:30 – 12: Science and/or Social Studies. We’ve been doing lots of both subjects through our Little Passports Subscription OR the science ideas we rounded up last week.
12- 1:00: Lunch/Outdoor time
1:30 – 2: 00 Reading for 30 minutes.
2-3: Cleaning rooms, baking, or catch-up from lessons that were delayed or missed. Otherwise, it’s non-tech entertainment.
3 – Schools out! Tech time, games, pokemon —whatever they want to do is fair game.
We also try to take daily walks, spend as much time as we can outside and we have totally relaxed our rules around technology. We also have daily movie nights starting at 5:30 where we show the kids classics from our own childhoods. Thank goodness for Disney+!
Jackie’s Approach to Teaching Kids at Home During Covid-19
My schedule is very different than Kirsten’s. My schedule changes daily depending on when I am working so, my kids have to be flexible. I have been making a schedule every night for the next day. The first thing I put in the schedule is when I am working. Because I am now doing all teletherapy, I have to give each of my speech kiddos my undivided attention. This has proven to be difficult with three kids of my own at home. But, my kids are being troopers and I’m really proud of how cooperative they are trying to be.
I honestly have been through a lot of ups and downs this past week. My children are unsure and a bit anxious. They miss their friends. I spoke with a friend of mine whose child flatly refused to do any work. To combat the monotony of being in the same place and spending a lot of time with family, I have tried to add a few fun things into the schedule daily as well as make sure that they each have some “face to face” time with friends via Zoom Conference, FaceTime or Google hangout.
Chores: loading and unloading dishwasher, cleaning the kitchen, making breakfast and lunch, walking the dogs
Reading/ Raz kids (a reading comprehension program)
Writing- Daily journal and answering questions. I also assigned each of my children a project that includes writing that will take 2 weeks to complete. My oldest is doing a report on Spanish influenza. My youngest is writing animal facts and drawing a picture to go with it and my middle son, the reluctant reader, is doing a book report.
Math- The kids have been assigned minimal math thus far. So, I am adding in some math to our everyday activities like baking- I will have my kids double or triple a recipe.
Science or Social Studies- The school has brain pop for them but, we have been trying to incorporate science into our activities. For example, we built lego cars, raced them and then adjusted the ramp height. We made predictions about how this would affect the distance traveled and why.
Free Time and physical activity- I have been making sure that we have a lot of time to be outside when we can and have lots of free time
Chores: Laundry, vacuuming, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms
Fun: I have each of my kids’ plan one activity a week to do with the other kids. They planned a basketball clinic, an art clinic, and a scavenger hunt. We’ve also been utilizing the list of activities to entertain kids during quarantine that we rounded up last week.