With the changes we all are experiencing in the world today, our existing normal just changed into a “new normal.” Closing of schools, businesses and having to work at home with our children beside us is never anything we all expected to endure. Now we need to come up with fun activities to do with our kids who are now at home with us.
We all face similar questions….
- What do we do now that we have to be at home?
- How do I “homeschool” children when we never did before?
- How do I work beside my kids and try to make an income from home?
So many questions are being asked of us as parents and as human beings. We want to do the right thing, but what is that?
Teaching kids is very difficult and for that I have even more respect to our teachers and entire school staff. The burden of being the sole instructor for their learning rituals in our homes has placed many burdens on our minds.
And we still have to work too!!
Not to mention, the phrase…..
I am bored!!!
UUUGGGGGGHHHH, the agony of it all!!!
Honestly the panic struck me in the many ways I mentioned above. The new reality we were about to face left me feeling nervous. I love to teach things to others, but my own kids!
Let us think for a bit. Some of us, such as myself, got laid off from work. We are told to stay home with our families, while some cannot.
See what I said!!
We can stay home with our families!!
This moment of “Ah-Ha-ness” hit me the day I found out I was told to stay home from work. I could be with my kids and not stress about being on time for things. No more planning out lunches and easy meals for late night suppers.
We can enjoy each other without the daily stresses!
Doesn’t that sound amazing??
Why don’t we slow down a bit and let our world re-group and our families re-group too? During this time, spend togetherness by doing activities you do not do very often and enjoy the little things in life that matter the most…
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Kid activities you can do and teach at home
I love to cook. when it comes to weeknights, it tends to be all about what what we can make for supper in a hurry so we can eat. Now with a slower way of life, why not have the kids help you?
Have them wash vegetables, add ingredients and stir the pot! Give them recipes to follow. Teach them how to chop up veggies and mince spices. Show them different ways they can add to a dish to make it their own. Let them be creative with you.
Cooking is fun!
Have them get the spices and measure out the correct amounts to add to the dish! What a way to teach them some math!
Learning tip 1
- Learn how to measure out ingredients and understand fractions in the process
- Brings out their creative side with use of different ingredients
Unless it was a weekend, we hardly ever played games with each other. I’m talking about board and card games. Monopoly is a great game for long days. For the littles who can’t read or count, partner them up with someone older. Let them roll the dice and move the game piece to the next spot.
Break out the cards!! Crazy 8’s has been our game of choice. Remember solitaire?? They can’t get enough.
There’re so many games out there to play as a family, no matter the age. One game we have and love is family charades. Little kids can play too. The pictures are great for those who can’t quite read yet!
Do you want to laugh?
Try, Not Parent Approved! Its a spin on the Cards Against Humanity game for adults. It is family friendly and my kids find it hilarious, as do I.
Make up games you can all play together at the supper table. We made up the category game in our house. One person chooses a “category” such as, animals, they give out one clue and gives everyone an opportunity to say what they think the answer could be. When everyone has had a turn and the animal was not said, a new clue would be given. Once the answer is guessed the category will move onto the next person for their turn.
When everyone has had a turn for that category, the person who guessed the last animal wins and gets to choose another category to go around.
We played for an hour and a half one Saturday night. Best part no one complained and everyone had a great time playing!
Learning tip 2
- When playing a game like monopoly, incorporate counting skills, how to dispense cash and saving tips for the future
- Play Scrabble, they can learn how to create and spell words
Who would have thought of this? I never did! Our kids need to learn daily ways of life.
Do you know how to sew on a button?
Sew a pair of ripped pants?
Not my kids, but they do now! Get all their teddy bears, that are in dire need “of surgery.” With a needle and thread, perform the surgery to “save” that bears life/stuffing from falling out! You will be amazed on the amount of stuffed animals that need to be saving!
Every child has so many bears with holes and stuffing falling out. What better time than now to patch them all up!
Have your kids sew them back together. The moment of pride they did this on their own, is priceless! Now they need to care for their animals while in the recovery stages!
Learning tip 3
- Caring for others/ stuffed animals
Well duh! Yes I know, but make it fun! I read to my 6 year old twins almost everynight. Most nights are rushed and we are trying to go by schedules. Now you can read a lot and make it amazing!
Have your kids act out different scenes and be the characters. Read out loud to your older kids too! Not to mention have those older siblings read to their younger brothers and sisters.
You are never too young to read! I have 2 year old patients at work that read! Yes you read that right. Simple sight word books, Dr Seuss books (my personal favorite), are a great way to start!
My 8 year old loves to read. Through this extended family time, I just realized how much he loves to teach his younger siblings to do the same. It really is an extraordinary thing to witness!
Take your time and enjoy the books you read together. No need to speed read just to write down the 20 minutes you need to have for schooling purposes. Now it can really be about enjoyment!
Learning tip 4
- How to read!
- Sight words
- Imaginative play through acting out scenes from books
Depending on where you live, spring is soon approaching. Hopefully with that, some warmer weather too. On our “school days” I try and designate time for “recess” outdoors.
Not one person can be cooped up in a house for too long. Try to make it a habit to go outside for a walk with the kids and/or dog. Go for a bike ride together around your neighborhood. Have a race down the block and make it a game for the kids. “Run up to that driveway then you have to hop then skip your way home.”
Get some chalk and draw an obstacle course on your driveway for everyone to partake in. Use your chalk to write nice messages for others in the neighborhood to read along their walks.
For the rainy days, do yoga with your kids. There are great you tube videos that show kid yoga, such as cosmic kids. My kids really enjoy it! Not to mention it wipes them out, myself included.
Another really great site is Go Noodle. I play it on my smart TV which has the kids you tube app on it. It’s a fun interactive site that gets the kids constantly moving. It’s a great for the parents also. Gets the whole family involved in fun!
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to dance! My kids know this as well. So impromptu dance parties happen often in our house! Turn on Kidz Bop radio and its on! What a way to get everyone to have fun.
I like to set up dance parties with other family members. Set up Skype, FaceTime or better yet use your Echo Show. We called my brother who has one. My kids can see their cousins and we had a whole family dance party! It was a great time.
Remember musical chairs? I haven’t played that since I was a kid. We had a blast. Another one is freeze dance. This is especially fun for those extra little ones!
Learning tip 5
- How to stay active
- How to de-stress through yoga and meditation
At home schooling tips
- Have each child “teach a class”
- Whatever subject they love or are great at, have them teach to their sibling.
- Each of my kids picked their own subjects and we incorporate them into our school week. My kids offer…….
- Physical Ed
It gives mom or dad a break in the “schooling” process and lets your kids feel important too. Teaching their siblings gives them a sense of importance. It also acknowledges their strengths and their self esteem!
- Stick to a routine
- Set times for when “school” starts and finishes
- Add times for lunch and breaks for snacks
- Time limits for for each subject
- Stick to similar bedtimes
I have read many articles relating to homeschooling to NOT have schedules. When I was raising my twins, we had to stick to schedules and routines. I am not saying you need to set specific times.
Just keep in mind….
- How many hours were spent at school, we do 2-3 hours daily
- I try to put them to bed at a reasonable time
- We start our schooling around 9-930 am, depending on when we get up and finish breakfast
My kids seem to adapt better when it comes to routine. If its “a free for all” then they will loose interest at the task needed to be down for the day.
- Add Creative time
- Take virtual field trips, Discovery has great interactive ones. The site We Are Teachers, has 25 amazing virtual field trips for you to try
- Make time for recess and if possible outdoor activity
- Put together puzzles
- Read together
- Give each day a fun activity
- Crazy hair day
- PJ day
- Superhero day
- Sports day
- Backwards day
Kids will be more receptive to fun activities with learning blended into it. On St Pats Day, a little leprechaun left us some gold coins. We use those coins for math problems. Make it fun and creative.
- Designate a school area
- give each child their own space to work
- have an area for pencils, crayons, markers
- try to have a computer or tablet station with headphones
- Keep E-learning passwords/usernames on one paper and display it in an area where everyone can access it
Keep in mind there is no right or wrong way. Trying to incorporate all this with working on the side has produced many challenges for us as a family. My husband is still working while my office closed its doors, hopefully for a short period of time. I “teach” the kids during the day and when he gets home I try and do some work while he is home.
Al families are different and have different needs. Don’t stress if you don’t figure it out what routine will become your ” new normal.” Its all trial and error.
The fact that you are trying to help your kids during this time away from school, is an accomplishment in itself. You care about their well being! Just do the best you can and don’t give up.
You got this! We all do!
We are in this together!
I know we are all not in our “ideal” situations. Just stop and think where you are and who you are with………
When was the last time you could take it a little slower, give some extra time and not stress the small stuff?
Use this time to regroup as a family. Spend this extended quality time together to its fullest.
Teaching kids at home and trying to work is very hard, I know, I get it. Having 4 kids in 3 different grades ranging from 5th down to Kindergarten, is not easy. But we will survive, as will you!
You can now see their progress with their work and now have the time to help them on their most difficult subject areas! Also, is it wrong to re-visit what we learned oh so many years ago?
This time has brought my family closer in so many ways. Think about the positives! Everyone fixates on the negative impact we are currently experiencing. Bringing out those positives will make it a little easier to endure.
Sure there will be some harder days than others. We must realize that our kids feed off our demeanor. They are just as confused and nervous as us parents. It is up to us to try and have a positive attitude and make the best out of it! The happier we all are, the easier it will be to “get along” with one another.