Creating New Learning Opportunities at Home
Updated: Apr 5, 2020
Are you a parent that now has to provide "home education" to your child? If so, how is that going? With thousands of students out of school as a result of COVID-19 many parents were forced to make alternate arrangements to home school their son or daughter during this isolation. With schools closed until May, this brings a new challenge for all students especially those with learning disabilities and other exceptional needs. These students are not receiving the one on one instruction or small group support that they would on a regular basis. So how can mom and dad keep their child entertain, engage and learning during this isolation? It simple don't home school your child.
To be clear, I am not against homeschooling in general just during isolation for those students who regularly attend classes. With all the other concerns, going on at the moment parents do not need the added stress and frustration of coming up with a daily lessons to teach their child. In fact, most teachers spend weeks planning and preparing lessons for the year. Teaching is not an easy job as many assume. So what can mom and dad do instead?
Create learning opportunities
There are endless opportunities for learning that can occur outside the classroom. Shift from doing worksheets and drills (which is good for practice) and consider hands on interactive experiences. Getting in the kitchen and try a new recipe. Cooking and baking offer great lessons on fractions, chemistry, and nutrition. Turn Netflix marathons into movie critique night. Rather watching movies to pass the time (because we will have lots of time to fill) challenge your child to make connections of themes and topics in the movie and in their life, and discuss them as a family.
Movie Critique Questions:
Provide a summary of the movie
Describe your favorite or least favorite part
What actions lead to the conflict of the movie?
What actions led to the resolution?
Have you ever felt like the main character, if so what did you do?
There is only one topic every news channel is reporting these days. COVID-19 is impacting everyone globally in many different ways, especially kids. They may not be able to express it in exact words, but allow them the space to express and ask question in regards the virus. For example, questions about how it spreads and where it has spread opens the doors for a science and geography lessons. Geography, the virus has hit many different countries globally, can you locate all the countries on this list. Can you name the continents of each country? Which countries are located in the eastern and western hemisphere? Or become a scientist ask questions and search for the answers. Such has what are the different ways viruses can spread?
Get hands on and build and create something new. This may be the perfect time to get extra help with a DIY project or taking random objects and learning how to build structures. It can be simple has figuring out how to move a ball or marble from one end of the room to another using objects in the house. Or building a fort for movie night that fits everyone in the house comfortable. Don't dismiss it, living rooms forts require a lot of architectural skills. This challenges children to think what items can be used a supportive structure. Do you know what the strongest shape is ? Hint it has three points. Or if you have a backyard, go on adventures and explore nature. This is a great time to start prepping that garden and learning how plants grow. Do you have spare seeds around? This offers a great science lesson on germination. Do not forget a good old fashion arts and crafts sessions.
If you already played all the board games in the house, well play them again. Classing games like monopoly, scrabble, clue, battle ship even jenga help build critical thinking, strategy, and planning skills. Get out a deck of cards a simple game of 21 helps to improve addition skills. You can even change the rules and have multiplication wars.
The deck of cards is distributed between two players evenly. Each player turns the first card on the top of their deck down and it is a lighting round between the two players to see who can multiply the numbers first and shout out the correct answer. The player with the correct answer collects the cards, and the winner is the one who has the most cards at the end. You can even do the same with dominoes.
Don't worry, I have not forgotten about reading and writing. Of course everyone (even mom and dad) should do a bit of reading and writing a day. (No reading emails does not count) At least 30 minutes of each a day helps to just relax our mind and does wonders for building cognition. Grab a book of your shelf, and a notebook and just get writing. Here is a writing prompt for the family.
When the isolation is over, what do you want to do? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to see ? and what to want to tell that person?
Learning does not have to be frustrating or stressful. There are #NoLearningLimtis to what you can do and achieve during self-isolation. We are all in this together and we will get through this. #stayhome and be safe!