In the uncertainty of covid-19, there’s one thing we can all be certain of: this is not normal. A grocery store with totally empty aisles is not normal. Staying 6 feet away from the closest person is not normal. Wearing a mask in public is not our normal, and schooling at home during a pandemic is not normal. Even parents who homeschool their children are normally able to attend parks & museums, make use of play-dates and co-ops, and include their children in a normal out of the house routine.
As we struggle to adapt to the changes involved with school and being isolated at home we should keep the emphasis on doing what is best and what works best for our families. Daily learning in traditional public school is regimented, scripted, measured, and scored. This regimented system cannot possibly be replicated in our homes and challenges associated with working from home, working out of the home and working with several children at different levels is a lot of pressure to put on a parent in a “not normal” situation. Attempting to replicate a traditional classroom, would only add stress to an overly stressful time.
So, how can we teach our kids now that school has been canceled? The answer is, there is no “one right answer” and only you can decide what works best for you and your family. If you have the mental moxy to take on a daily schedule of learning, find a curriculum that suits you. You don’t need to use the same textbooks or methods used in your child’s classroom. There are lots of different ways to learn the same information. There are a lot of different online curriculums that teach standard requirements in different ways with different learning methods. Find what works for you and your family.
If traditional curricula doesn’t work for you and your schedule, find ways to teach your kids life skills as you go throughout your day.
Involve your kids in making your budget. Have them help you plan and prepare your meals. Show them how to reconcile your bank statements. Teach them to take out the trash, wash the windows, clean the bathroom, wash the dishes, and sweep the floor. Anything and everything you do can be turned into a learning opportunity.
Learning can be a game of Monopoly for math or Bananagrams for spelling. It can be baking cookies and doubling the recipe to learn measurements. It never hurts to have more than one great cook in the house! Learning can be reading a good book together instead of watching TV. Take turns reading a page and look up new words to increase vocabulary. Learning can be the physics of flying a kite on a windy day.
Hilary Hughes and Stephanie Jones, Professors at the University of Georgia explain that “what is happening is not homeschooling. It is not distance learning. It is not online schooling,” and “we have a collective opportunity to answer the call of our unprecedented time and make today’s education as humane, generous, caring, and yes, even as joyful as we possibly can.”
Not only will you be teaching academics in a fun way, you’ll be teaching life skills your children will need when they are out on their own, which is equally as important as the book skills they learn in school.
We at Power2Parent believe that parents are their children’s best educators and that education does not have to be measured by academic achievement. We have so many lessons we can impart to our children while we are home together. The possibilities are endless and the benefits are too. Discovering how to be together, how to be kinder, how to strengthen our relationships, play, learn and create are life skills that will have lasting benefits that will effectively compensate for the lost days of the school year.
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