With the closure of schools across the country due to the Covid-19 epidemic, we are all trying to keep our kids happy, healthy, and educated. As we navigate what it means to homeschool and create activities that will enrich and entertain our kids, I thought I’d share what we are doing at our house.
As I said in my last post, I’m not a professional teacher, but I have received some links to helpful resources from my aunts who teach (I’ll post those) and I’ve just gotten creative with stuff I have at home. Ultimately, my goal is to maintain the school routine, build on the concepts my kids have learned in kindergarten and preschool already. I also want to introduce new topics and encourage a passion for learning, creativity and connecting ideas.
Ask the Kids What They Want to Learn
Before creating my lesson plan I asked my daughters (ages six and four) what they wanted to learn in “Mommy School” while we are staying home. I told them we would come up with a basic schedule that they’re used to already, but we would get to choose what they learn.
Their suggestions were a mix of stuff they’ve enjoyed learning about in school already, in addition to some more current topics that interest them. For instance, Lola (four years old) wanted to learn more about space, which they covered last month at her cooperative preschool; and Hazel (six years old) wanted to explore what’s inside a tooth (she’s lost two teeth recently).
Pick a Theme to Keep You Organized
With that in mind I decided to use the alphabet as my theme for each day and choose topics that blended educational elements from a variety of subjects. Choosing a letter for each day let me be creative and come up with things that interest them and relate to the other topics we are discussing. It helped me come up with a good flow for the day.
For example, Lola wanted to study astronauts more, so I started with that and chose a book we have called, “Astro Girl.” This enabled me to segue into Women’s History Month and talk about women at NASA. I’ll go through my whole “a” lesson in a post for you later.
Use Materials You Have
You’d be surprised how much stuff you already have at home. I’ve been leaning on worksheets and stuff I had from Hazel’s kindergarten (they send home stuff that isn’t completed and I saved it for rainy days). I also have several activity books I could pull from. However, now I’m starting to draw from the resources my family sent as well as stuff I’ve found on my own from home schooling blogs and education sites.
Find a Balance That Works for Your Kids
For me the key is finding educational material that’s challenging enough for my kindergartener, along with variety and more artistic activities for my preschooler. For instance, Hazel likes doing worksheets and is thriving from the repetition and practice with concepts like words, numbers, writing and math, but she also wants some freedom to be artistic too. So with her, we’ll talk about a concept, do a worksheet, then do an activity where she can apply what she’s learned in her own piece of work.
For Lola, I do one or the other. Most of her activities are more free form, but I have a worksheet available if she asks (to be like Hazel). For both kids I keep the lessons brief, but information rich, while connecting to the theme, and what interests them. By having a more conversational tone and integrating books, songs, photos, and videos it’s more appealing to them rather than just lecturing or having them watch videos.
Be Flexible and Have Fun
This is new and we are creating a new routine together. I keep things flexible while making sure we make it through our list of stuff. And if we don’t do everything I save it for tomorrow. As I teach the girls, we ask questions and talk about everything and that’s the fun part!
I’m thinking of this as a great opportunity to bond with my girls on a deeper level and to take part in their education in a larger way. My hope is that we all have fun and get to learn new information together.