COVID-19 & LEARNING FROM HOME
This post was originally published on March 16th 2020
There’s a lot going on right now, but you’ve got this!
As a teacher, I feel the most important thing to be doing with our children right now is to connect with them and make them feel safe. There is SO much going on in the world, and they see it.
In this article I will provide some resources on the following:
– What is a pandemic?
– Creating a schedule
– Creating a space to get school work done
– Ideas for families with multiple children
– Academic and activity resources
– Getting exercise while inside
– Some good ol’ family fun
– Links to additional articles on this topic
As schools begin to navigate this uncharted territory, please have patience. In most districts, teachers are working tirelessly to roll out longterm e-learning plans to help support students while they are unable to attend school. If you are looking for additional resources to use at home, I’ve put together a short list of some of my favorites. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.
Many educational subscription programs are offering their digital learning services for FREE while students are not allowed to go to school. And remember… baking, gardening, organizing, drawing, doing something kind for someone, cleaning, cooking, building etc. are all learning opportunities. For older students with parents working from home- this can be a chance to mentor your child and teach them about what you do: how you organize your day, set goals, achieve tasks, communicate with your team members and celebrate goals achieved. This time is a great reminder that not all learning takes place in the classroom or at a table, or using a pencil and paper. Children are learning every minute of the day, every day. I hope you find the below resources helpful!
WHAT IS A PANDEMIC?
Two of my favorite teacher rockstars, LaNeesha Tabb and Naomi O’Brien created a FREE resource to to help explain the coronavirus to children.
>> CLICK HERE to view their FREE Google Drive resource. <<
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@apron_education and I put together this freebie to help parents and educators navigate what’s going on in the world right now with their younger students. We thought some facts about the virus and some tips about how to stay safe would calm some nerves. ❤️❤️❤️ Kids aren’t as anxious when they know what’s going on. We hope y’all find this helpful. (Link in stories.) eBook + 3 activities.
A Kids Book About, Inc also released a FREE children’s book about COVID-19 that was written by a Social Epidemiologist.
>> CLICK HERE to download FREE e-book or purchase hard cover book (for free -just pay shipping). <<
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CREATING A DAILY SCHEDULE:
With everyone being home, it can start to feel like you’re in the Twilight Zone… Children are used to structure during the school day and you might find it beneficial for them (and you) to set a schedule for your days home together.
Many teachers will be reaching out to families with e-learning plans. Some teachers may have certain times students are required to be logged in and some may be flexible about when students get their work done. Please have patience with teachers as we figure out what works best for students and families.
While setting a schedule for your children, it may be helpful to talk about the things you need to incorporate into your day and things you’d like to incorporate. Each day may look a little different, but having a basic daily schedule will help provide some normalcy. Here are a few items to get you thinking: breakfast, reading, time to move/exercise, snack time, math, lunch, writing and of course some built in downtime/unstructured time.
It might also be a good idea to have a target start time and target end time for your homeschooling day- depends on your family and how you decide to go about this. Every child and family is different, so these are just some options. You need to do what is best for your family- and this might mean having a slightly different schedule for each child. Here are a few examples of possible schedules:
Mr. G. is one of my favorite teachers to follow on Instagram. He is always sharing fun and innovative ideas, including this visual schedule to help support learning at home over the next few weeks…
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I also like this simple schedule by @teacherwifelindsey!
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Marie Morris – A real life super teacher (and mom) has shared resources she is using with her kids during this time. If you sign-up for her newsletter you get access to all of her FREE resources. CLICK HERE to check out what she’s doing. She is also sharing about the journey on her Instagram each day.
SO many teachers are sharing awesome + FREE resources for teachers and parents. If you have questions about navigating through this time, it is best to reach out to your child’s classroom teacher.
CREATE A SPACE TO GET SCHOOL WORK DONE
Just like adults need to create WFH spaces during this time, students should have a place they can successfully do their assigned e-learning. Help your child figure out what they need to be successful. Whether it’s working at a desk or table, sitting on the couch, stretched out on the floor on their belly or sitting outside. Help them find what works for them.
MULTIPLE CHILDREN AT HOME?
This can be tricky, but remember you don’t have to have a full day planned where each child is doing different things all day. There are some things you can do together, independently and one on one.
Things you can do together: make meals, eat meals, get movement/exercise, write/journal, crafting or creative projects, get cozy and read a book together (picture books for young ones, maybe read parts of a chapter book each day if you have older children), video call friends & relatives, watch a movie together, build a fort or maybe even play the silent game – winner gets something extra special!
Some things are better done separately… If children need one on one time to get school work done you can have children take turns with their tech time. For example, if your 8 year old needs one on one help or a quiet environment while getting their school work done, maybe have your other child have tech time while the 8 year old does their school work. When the 8 year old is done you have them switch. Be reasonable in your expectations of their attention span. It might make more sense to work on math with your 8 year old for 15 minutes, take a quick break, and then come back and finish up their math.
Have designated areas for each child to use during their school work time. Just like adults, children need space from others at times in order to stay focused.
Use positive reinforcement: Let your kids know you see them being kind, working hard, being patient, helping each other (and you!).
Celebrate success: When you complete your daily tasks have a way you can celebrate – have a dance party (maybe even coordinate with other families to have a virtual dance party), play a game, movie time or tech time – whatever gets your kids motivated! If you need to celebrate the completion of each task – do that. Find what keeps your children/family motivated.
If you are really struggling to balance having multiple children at home during this time, try reaching out to your child’s teacher or other parents. Help each other by talking about what’s working. We’re all in the same boat and trying to figure this out too- let’s choose to support one another.
REMEMBER: You do not need to be doing all the things every day. Do what is best for you and your family. Take this time to connect in new ways and make memories. Read books, play games, build forts or watch a movie and eat popcorn together. These are difficult times to navigate through so you need to do what is best for you and your children.
ACADEMIC & ACTIVITY RESOURCES
Technology is great to utilize during this time. There are SO MANY resources out there. Reading with your child or working on projects around the house are also great ways you can learn from home during this time.
Your child’s school should be providing the majority of their school work and resources and the below are if you are looking to add some additional resources into your homeschooling situation. Reach out to your school district if you do not have the technology needed for your child to access their school’s e-learning.
Vooks: Digital read-alouds for children
A kid-safe, ad-free streaming library of read-aloud animated storybooks. First month is free – $4.99/month after that.
Epic!: Books for kids ages 4-12
Thousands of e-books, audiobooks and Spanish books available instantly. First 30 days are free.
Apple Books: Free iPhone and iPad app
E-books and audible books available for all ages.
Camp Galileo – Anywhere: Innovative challenges for each day
Challenges are grouped by age and have video examples and variations
Todd Parr: Reads his books on Instagram Live
Todd Parr is one of my all-time favorite children’s book authors. I highly recommend checking out his book readings!
PreK Wolfpack: Inspiration for home activities
Pre-K teacher sharing sensory bins, process art, #butcherpaperactivity , classroom faves, recipes and more! Katy’s page will make you wish you were in her class as a child. Kinder and 1st graders will enjoy these activities and they can be adjusted to make them more challenging/engaging for older students.
The Workspace for Children: Inspiration for home activities
Mom of three (6,9&11) that creates outside the box activities for her children to explore. She has LOTS of home activity inspiration and parent resources on her beautiful website.
Audio books: You can listen to books for free through your public library or you can buy audio books on Audible & other platforms
Follow along or just listen. “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” -Mason Cooley
Galileo Camps: 11 Virtual Field Trips
Check out places like the Tech Museum, California Academy of Sciences, San Diego Zoo and Yellowstone. Now is a great time to do some research on places your family would like to go once this is all over!
Scholastic Learn From Home: PreK – 6 Grade+ articles and lessons
Scholastic is doing a slow release of these lessons. They currently have science and social studies lessons for different age groups.
PBS Learning Media: PreK-12 standard aligned videos, lesson plans and quizzes
They’ve got a lot of free resources on here! You can filter by age and category to narrow down the search.
Nat Geo Kids: Games, articles, videos, quizzes and more
This is a great place to explore nature and social studies with children.
Khan Academy: Free personalized learning resource
They cover math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, high school test prep and more.
Teaching 3rd with Mr G.: Memory Scavenger Hunt
Looking for some fun and positive activities to do with your child? Check out this list!
Art for Kids Hub: Directed drawing videos
Fun + simple instructions for kids (&adults) to learn how to draw
Phonics Hero: Systematic phonics instruction activities
Fun and engaging series of games that help build foundational reading, writing and spelling skills. Free 7 Day trial for parents and 30 day trial for schools.
StarFall: Reading and math online games for K-3 students
Some services are free right now. Additional levels are available for purchase.
Doodling with Mo Willems: Every Monday he will release a video where children can doodle with him
Mo Willems is one of my favorite children’s book authors (Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, the Elephant & Piggie series + more!) and this is a great opportunity for children to connect with a famous author whose books they most likely adore.
Book Creator: Digitally create books that can be shared
They are offering a free 90-Day Trial during this time.
Google Arts and Culture Collection – Digital documentation of more than 1,200 international institutions
Have children explore art from all over the world. Do an artist study, research a time period or just browse and read about or discuss the different artists and pieces.
GETTING EXERCISE WHILE INSIDE:
Cosmic Kids Yoga – Super fun yoga videos designed for young children
These have always been a hit for rainy day recess. Fun for young ones and adults!
The Body Coach TV – Kids workouts you can do at home
GoNoodle – Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts
Getting a little stir crazy being all cooped up? This will help.
LOOKING TO MAKE SOME MEMORIES AND HAVE SOME GOOD OL’ FAMILY FUN DURING THIS TIME?
Join @SimplySuzys daily family quarantine challenges on Instagram – #ssquarantinechallenges
PLAY GAMES! Kids can learn so much from playing games and it’s a great way to connect as a family during this time.
Articles Related to This Topic:
THE CAFFEINATED CLASS: School Closure = Overnight Homeschooling
*If you are looking for structure – Marie is your girl! She does a fantastic job sharing about how she is going about homeschooling during this time. She also shares tons of free preschool + first grade resources. She is also a high school ELA teacher and shares resources she is using with her students during this time.
ONE LAST THING:
I want to reassure you that you DO NOT need to be doing ALL of these things. This is a tough time and we are all figuring out how to manage. The above resources are here to support you. Find what works for your family and reach out to your child’s teacher if you have specific questions regarding instruction during this time. I hope you all stay healthy and are able to use this time to connect with your family in new ways!