Toy Whisperer: Tools for learning

Putting Social Distancing into Perspective: Homeschooling

Photo by Elly Fairytale from Pexels

Now is the time for families to build bonds through shared activities.

Impact of HomeSchooling

Let’s take a look at the numbers to understand the impact of social distancing for homeschooling and analyze any possible repercussions. We need to take a deep breath and put this necessity into perspective. 

Assuming that most school years are about 200 days long

If your kids are at home for 2 weeks or 10 days, that is   5% of the time for learning.

If your kids are at home for 4 weeks or 20 days that is   10% of the time for learning

If your kids are at home for 6 weeks or 30 days that is   15% of the time for learning

If your kids are at home for 8 weeks or 40 days, that is   20% of the time for learning.

How long do the experts feel is too much time away from school?

So,  What is the Traditional Definition of Chronic Absenteeism?

“Chronic absenteeism means missing too much school—for any reason—excused or unexcused. Experts and a growing number of states (in the United States) define chronic absenteeism as missing 10% (or around 18 days) during a school year),” according to Healthy Children website. Chronic absenteeism can jeopardize the learning process, depending on the circumstances for many children.

If your children are already attending school regularly, they are likely to bounce back without significant issues. After all, children have summer holidays for 8 weeks a year, and few people worry about this absence in the learning environment.

Just a Blip in your Child’s Educational Experience

And it isn’t as if your child is missing specific lessons as many parents will be following the teacher’s advice or in some areas the educational system will make some adjustments to the school year. But it is important to realize a trend that “when students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating,” as explained by Attendance Works. Consistent attendance at school if a good indicator of success, no question. And for the time being, quality academic experiences at home will help your child bridge this gap.

You are Fulfilling Your Role

In the meantime, many parents are engaging their children in reading and math activities to continue the learning processes at home in these unusual times by selecting learning resources that make sense.

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

So, over the next few weeks, try your best to engage your children in academic activities, but don’t be overly concerned about the negative impact at this point. 

Make it EASY on Yourself with these Key Suggestions

Take Your Break:  Usually, in March or April, most schools have at least a 1-week break. So, give yourself and your kids permission to enjoy a holiday. In times of stress, we all need to learn how to relieve the pressure. 

Look into areas of interest of your child: They will be reading, and with some effort, most likely, there will be some related STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematical) learning resources that you can find for all sorts of areas of interest from unicorns to the fastest animal alive.

Set up Quiet Times:  Many schools designate a quiet time for reading. Even the youngest child can look at picture books for 15 minutes, with other children reading to themselves quietly for 15 to 30 minutes or longer each day. Role model this activity by reading for work at these times. 

Scheduling: Kids like to know what is happening as they have very little control over their day. By setting up a schedule, you can reassure them. If you put your schedule blocks on paper strips, you can organize your day easily by moving around the pieces to suit your schedule.  

Here are some possibilities that you might want to include in any day: Quiet Reading Time (for young kids looking at picture books),  Chores, Outside Exercise, Musical Experiences, YouTube learning, Puzzles, Educational Games, Mathematical Investigations, Arts and Crafts, Science Experiments, Springtime yard word, and planting and of course Recess. It is a magical word to many kids.  Add more strips as you include more activities.

Plan your day around these blocks of time, but plan them to suit your family rhythm. For example, you may want to schedule quiet reading time just before bed to settle everyone for the day. Perhaps you will plan educational games for when all family members can play. Academic time is usually scheduled in the morning when brains are awake and fresh for learning. More active pursuits are in the afternoon.

Set up Academic Times: But be aware that in school, there is a limited time for concentrate work. Try 15 minutes with young kids ( 5 to 7), 30 minutes with junior aged kids (8 to 11), and no more than an hour for older kids. You can find many grade-related learning resources website. Such educational sites as http://www.IXL.com  and  Khan Academy, https://www.khanacademy.org,  have many different learning experiences for a wide range of grade levels. Most of the skills are curriculum-related, so your child can select the activities for themselves and still be involved in valuable learning. Often your son or daughter may see them as learning games for kids instead of academic exercises.

Establish a Social Group: Come together as a family for educational opportunities, such as watching an informative show or YouTube, play games, hold discussions, or get active.

Time for Your Work: You can carve some quiet time out for yourself by designating who is going to answer questions or solve problems. Mom from 9to 10, Dad from 10 to 11, etc. or set up a sign in the kitchen, so the kids know who is up for being disturbed. Or if you are the only adult, set a timer for 15 minutes. After the timer rings, the kids can come to you with questions.

Catch your kids for Being Good. Reward everyone for their effort – special snacks, special activities, words of encouragement. Try to overlook anxious or negative behavior. Reassurance that everyone is safe and together should be highlighted.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

In the end, realize that this time away from school activities is affecting everyone. The educational system will adjust for any lost time. By engaging your child in some academic pursuits, you will keep them occupied and learning, especially if they have a choice in what they do. Make it easy on yourself.  Cater to their interests. Don’t get caught up in trying to replace school subjects, make their learning individual and enjoyable. 

Try some Learning Games for Kids: Don’t forget to use games to learn. Keep the at-home experience fun. You can find some great game ideas through these blogs.

Coding Fun: There are even some coding experiences for kids that seem more like a game. See this website 

https://toywhisperer.blog/coding-for-kids/.

Use Screen Time Wisely. One great website for learning resources in many areas of the curriculum is IXL.com. Many of the language and mathematical activities address the curriculum expectations for various grades. The cost is small, and membership can be set up for a month at a time.

Set up Activity Time: Yet Keep the Social Distancing – walk in the woods, stack firewood together,  or complete some other outside chore that needs to be done. Play outdoor games that accommodate for different physical skill levels, such as soccer baseball, Red Light- Green Light, or Hide and Go Seek.

 

Photo by Anna Earl on Unsplash

Hold Family Meeting to Solve Problems. It is important to check in with everyone as these are stressful times. Hear your children’s concerns and brainstorm the best solutions. If you find that there is more conflict than you like, consult these blogs for assistance.

Establish a Daily Chores List:  Everyone in the family can pull together. Make a chores’ list. Let your children select a task they want to complete. Hold them to their responsibility for the benefit of every family member. Include life skills such as clearing away the dishes, vacuuming, laundry, or yard work. This will lighten your workload and teach your children the value of contributing as a family member. Renegotiate the list every several days or once a week to make sure it is working.

Consult the Homeschooling Experts: There are many websites that offer detailed advice about temporary homeschooling.

Realize that these trying times can be transformed into a gift for your family.

Through careful management of homeschooling, you might just get to deepen your relationship with each other.

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