Quarantine life has teachers scrambling to learn how to deliver lessons to students via virtual learning… and parents are very quickly learning how important teachers are, while also having to cook meals, keep the house clean, keep the kids from fighting, stay sane, not run out of toilet paper, and 1,000+ other things.
The quarantine struggle is real for everyone.
But there’s a common fear amongst the parents I’ve spoken with over the last few weeks, and it all comes down to this: how do I help my child learn so they don’t regress?
With home schedule ideas floating around the Internet right now, pictures of some parents going above and beyond to teach their kids at home, while others are just surviving – not only are most parents feeling like they aren’t doing enough, but it’s also hard for them to know what exactly to do to keep their children “on track with school”.
And when parents have come to me asking what they can or should be doing, here are my recommendations:
Keep the schedule simple.
You do not, I repeat do not, need to recreate a complete school day at home with your children. Or even a half day. So keep it simple.
Read with your children every single day.
If you do nothing else with your child during this time (and hey this is a no judgement zone – we’re all just trying to survive!), please please please read with your child each night. 20 minutes is all it takes!
No books at home? Listen to stories being read on YouTube. Lots of celebrities have been reading popular children’s books during this time, and you can find other read alouds online already.
I have a few live read alouds, I’ll link each here:
1. Jaxon and Zoie Go to the Beach by Stephanie DeLussey
2. A Friend Like Simon
3. A Squiggly Story
4. Where Oliver Fits
5. Keep Your Ear on the Ball
6. I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism
7. Don’t Call Me Special: A First Look at Disability
8. I’m Here
9. 47 Strings, Tessa’s Special Code
Complete the work sent home from your child’s teacher.
If your child’s teacher is sending work home or has a digital classroom set up, take a little bit of time each day to work on those skills. Teachers are spending hours upon hours building these distance learning lessons for your child, and special education teachers are still individualizing lessons just for your child.
If your child’s teacher isn’t sending work home or your district/school is not participating in distance learning, that’s okay too! Look at the next suggestion for things you can do with your child.
Use everyday life to practice important skills.
Have your child help you cook meals or snacks. Cooking is math (measuring, counting), reading (read a recipe, name of ingredients), science (combining ingredients), fine motor (opening and closing things, mixing, pouring), and important functional life skills.
Brushing your teeth, taking a bath, making the bed, cleaning chores… all of these functional life skills add up to a well-rounded, educated child.
Play outside. Practice counting clouds or trees or flowers. Identify colors in nature. There’s also the Teddy Bear Watch, which started during quarantine (I put 2 stuffed animal dinosaurs in my front window because I don’t have teddy bears, but still has the same affect!)
Use imagination for dramatic play. Even though we are practicing social distancing, you can video-chat or video-conference friends to engage in dramatic social play too.
But if you really want to do more than this, here are a few simple simple simple activity ideas:
Label objects in the house with flash cards and/or sight words. Practice reading them throughout the day as you encounter a card.
Try out a few sensory experiments, like making a stress ball out of a balloon and water beads. It’s super fun and engaging, plus it targets so many skills!
Parents, what have you been doing with your children at home? And if nothing, share that too! This is a judgement free zone.
Teachers, what other advice do you have for parents during this time? Share in the comments below.