Feeling a little overwhelmed, mama? Right there with you. As a community, it seems as though we were just getting our heads wrapped around this new ‘social distancing’ situation. We were just starting to figure out how to best manage having school-age kids (as well as those attending daycares that have temporarily closed) home for the next two weeks. Then, the newest announcement of school closings until (at least) April 14th broke into our newsfeeds.
While the idea of over a month without school between March and April might, at first, sound like the kind of celebration that would have you hearing an over-excited fraternity kid yelling, ‘extra Spring Break!’ we know that this is not exactly a vacation. There are official mandates to avoid unnecessary travel, beaches in Florida restricting access, and department stores reducing hours and halting operations. Thousands of small businesses are closing until further notice while events are constantly being canceled. People are cautious of coming any closer than 6 ft from one another. The ramifications of COVID19 spread much further than just those who have been infected by the virus.
During these unprecedented times, many of us are not only grappling with how to best protect the safety of our families but also struggling with how to suddenly juggle being both parent and teacher for our child(ren). It doesn’t matter whether our current situation has us working as stay-at-home parents, remote employees, or onsite job personnel. The reality is that most of our children are home. They are going to be home for a while, and they still need activity and education. To better understand what resources are out there to help our little ones (and not so little ones,) I spoke with a local public-school teacher and received a resource guide from the administrative staff at a well-respected area daycare. Just like all the parents and kids studying at home together, it’s time to share what I’ve learned.
Advice from a resident school-age educator:
- Parents and students can check their counties’ online student grade book which will advise not only of individual students’ grades but also areas of strengths and opportunities for improvement. Check with your child’s local school administrators regarding any questions, access issues, or other technical difficulties.
- Utilize the Digital Classroom to view both grades and assignments in detail. On average, these classrooms are updated every few days with reinforcement activities and makeup work. In addition to standard e-mail, parent/student questions can also be posed through this virtual learning tool.
- Create a daily notebook/checklist of assignments (digital classroom allows for instantaneous access to these assignments) and periodically check in with your student to help ensure both understanding and timeliness of completion.
- For questions on the assigned work/how to instruct or help your student, reach out to the respective teacher, even if they don’t see your student in person, teachers are still dedicated to his and/or her learning success.
- Do a role reversal! Have your child become the teacher for a lesson or two and teach their parent(s) and/or sibling(s) what they’re learning about.
- For an interactive family activity, check on ‘Kahoot,” an online knowledge quiz game adaptable for multiple users with the goal of reinforcing understanding across multiple subject areas.
- When possible, get outside as part of your learning! Whether doing a science experiment, acting out a scene from theatre class, painting a picture of the green trees, or just doing some reading in the backyard, go enjoy the fresh air!
Resource Guide recommended by renowned Richmond-area daycare:
- Scholastic Daily Activity Guide (daily Scholastic has a virtual book to read plus additional activities to go along with the book)
- Lunch doodles with Mo Willems (daily event at 1:00 PM)
- Pete the Cat Storytime
For Gross Motor Skills
- GoNoodle (music, movement, workouts and more)
- Cosmic Kids (yoga)
- Color Me Healthy Music
- Party Freeze Game Song
- Listen and Move Song
- Goldfish Song
- Going on a Bear Hunt Song
For Keeping Science So Cool!
- Home Safari Visits with the Cincinnati Zoo, daily you can meet a different animal live at 3:00 PM
- National Geographic (we love learning about the animals)
For Even More Resources
- Hang out with Dr. Seuss!
- Virtual Field Trips! – Yes Please!!
- Romp ‘N’ Roll ‘Rompy’s House at Home’ every day around 4pm, like and follow the Romp ‘N’ Roll Facebook Page for more information
Unfortunately, mama, we can’t control the swirl of havoc and uncertainty surrounding ourselves and our families as COVID19 sweeps through the nation (and the world.) We can’t predict the next news headlines or what exactly tomorrow will bring. That said, we can ban together (even if just virtually!) at this time. We can share our knowledge and our resources. Crazy as it may sound right now-we can try to help ourselves and our children enjoy this temporary experience and view it as a unique opportunity. Could this be a chance to be a little more flexible with our schedules and/or have a little more fun with our kids? Perhaps, at this moment, we are able to explore new things. Maybe, in this extra time together we can teach our children a little of what we remember from our favorite classes in school and prepare to also be impressed by their knowledge. School might not be in session, but we can still use these challenging times as a chance to all learn new and valuable lessons as we continue keeping ourselves and our families happy, healthy, and safe.