More Tips to Help You During Distance Learning
Updated: May 18, 2020
So, now that we've released you of the pressure to do things "just so" (you'll choose what's best for your family, right?!) how exactly will you keep these kids occupied all day?!
Here are some final tips and resources to help you and your kids THRIVE!
Have a schedule and follow it loosely.
I like to say "rhythm" rather than routine. A schedule is good for everyone's mental health. Children thrive on structure, honestly they do. But you also need to allow yourself grace, especially during an uncertain time such as this.
A good suggestion is to have "anchor points" during your day. These are times that give your day structure and are largely stuck to, even when other things go astray. Meals, for instance, would be anchor points. And then you can ask yourself, "what do we want accomplish before lunch, or after?"
In our house, quiet time is a big anchor point. It's always after lunch, after the kitchen is cleaned. We read a picture book and then it's nap time for the youngest children. The older two sit quietly in their designated areas for 30 minutes of quiet self-directed study. They can read, do activity books, practice origami, etc. Then they get an additional 30 minutes to play math games on their tablets. After that, they can play together quietly (usually Legos or a board game together) until their siblings wake up from their naps.
This is the most blissful time of my day! We all need a little break woven into our schedules. A certain time of day for physical activity is a good anchor point. Try some outdoor exploration or GoNoodle for indoor fun.
Set time boundaries.
You might try a designated start and/or finish to your "school" day. Maybe you open with devotions or a read-aloud time and you end with a nature walk? In our family, we do devotions during breakfast and then the older kids get right into their kitchen chores. When that is done, they have a checklist of morning work to get through on their own. If your child has a packet from his/her teacher and some of it can be done individually, now might be a good time to do it. Then I lead a lesson in whatever our topic is for the day, and we're usually done by lunch, sometimes before. After that, we focus on keeping a clean house, going for walks, reading aloud, art, music, or cooking in the afternoon.
Boundaries help everyone in the family relax. When you live and work in the same space, it can feel like you have to work all the time. Setting boundaries with your time ensures you and your kids have the breaks you need.
Help everyone pursue their interests.
Allow time for your child to research a topic of interest to them. This might be a "golden hour" everyday, or we have "Wonder Wednesday" when the kids get to "ask Google" about something they're interested in or wondering about.
I know this might seem archaic in our digital age, but consider that if writing a letter to a friend or family member is your child's language arts lesson for the day, they might enjoy it! Make sure you check for proper spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and letter format. The skill of complete sentence, paragraph, and letter writing are almost lost these days and you will be giving your child a good advantage if you hone these skills! If you're feeling artistic, you can paint and design your own postcards to send to friends and family together. Letter writing could be done once or twice a week.
Try new crafts, activities and experiments.
Doing a craft after a read-aloud is a great way to use up time! For younger kids, try making your own playdough, baking, painting, drawing, and imaginary play. For older kids, the book Look, I'm an Engineer has so many fun science experiments to do with household objects. (I will link other miscellaneous resources at the end of this post.)
Final tips to leave with you...
Remember that you're teaching a child, not just material. Put your relationship before the curriculum. Don't focus on what your child needs to learn, focus on what your child needs: you, comfort, security, connection, structure, love. You'll do just fine.
Focus on the process, not just the outcome. You probably won't find instant outcomes, so don't look for them. Just focus on fostering relationship and learning with your child.
Expect push back. Your children will struggle to see you as their "teacher" at first. Remember that you are their parent first and teacher second. Be honest. Acknowledge that you will do things differently than their teachers and that you're learning together. Don't take it personally when they exhibit a bad attitude; this is an adjustment for everyone.
Model a love of learning for your child. You'll both be better for it in the end.
Plant a garden together. Read books. Learn from the world around you together. That's really all you need. (Don't miss our Favorite Family Read Alouds Roundup!)
Some Favorite Additional Resources:
All About Learning at Home - Advice, tips and support for helping your kids learn at home.
The Mailbox - Favorite resource of educators for simple, fun learning activities.
Duolingo - Free site for learning languages from around the world.
Museum of Science At Home - Explore the big world of science from your home.
Home Safari - Videos and activities to bring the safari to your computer. (Daily Safari LIVE at 3 pm EDT)
Plus, MANY museums now have virtual tours, pick one you're interested in and take a look!
Bethany Dattolo | Bethany is wife to Randy, Mommy (and teacher) to Abigail, Noah, Emmalyn, Elijah, and Logan. She's a homeschool mom, home cook and baker, recipe writer, homemaker, blogger, runner, and wannabe photographer. She is constantly trying to impress God's truths onto her children. On the occasion she gets an inspiration worth sharing, she writes about it on her blog. Otherwise you can find her on Instagram.
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