Hi everyone! I’m sharing a guest post today written by none other than… drumroll please… my mom! She is a First Grade teacher and has been teaching for 24 years, and she is here to talk about Virtual Learning at Home and easy ways that all of you parents out there can make this unprecedented situation a whole lot easier. It’s not a walk through the park to get your kids to sit down AT HOME and learn every day while they have so many toys and a TV and electronic devices and a backyard to play in. Plus, you might also be working from home and juggling the two is NOT EASY. So take out a pen and paper and get ready to Cinderella yourself into your kid’s bad*ss interim teacher!
I know you have been forced into the role of teacher in your home. Some of you are still doing your full time job, whether it’s from home or you’re still going into work, and NOW you have to guide your kids down this unprecedented at-home virtual learning, all the while hoping you’re doing it right! Here’s a few tips you can use to keep your sanity and have some fun while making sure you’re keeping up with the lessons your teacher is sending.
Set up a workspace that includes paper, pencil, crayons, books and whatever device you are using to communicate with your teacher. It does not have to look like a classroom. Don’t be intimidated by the Pinterest home classrooms! If your child is fancy, get them some fun paper or pens. If your child is easily distracted, limit what you have in front of them. Use a folding table or the kitchen table or whatever has limited distractions.
Create a schedule. Children need schedules! I’ve been a teacher for 24 years and whenever our day is disrupted by an assembly or fire drill, we are all thrown off track. Remember, you are not expected to teach for 7 hours a day! 2-3 hours a day is perfect and that includes quiet reading time, watching educational videos your teacher sent or practicing on the websites your district has assigned. Wake up at the same time each day. Have set time for learning (classwork assigned by their teacher), eating, down time (watching a movie), reading (with a parent or quietly in a blanket fort they made) and play time. Having a set bedtime is very important for small children.
Stay connected with their friends/class. Although to you it might just be one more thing you have to do, your child misses their friends. They miss the interaction with their teacher and the kids in their class. Even if they are shy and only join a virtual meeting and listen, it is IMPORTANT! Kids are feeling a disconnect like just adults. Playing with mom and dad or brothers and sisters is great, but they need to interact with kids their own age too.
Don’t stress! This is a whole new world with a lot of technology and passwords and usernames!! Do one thing a day. Log into a learning website and get familiar with it. Learn how to join a virtual meeting the next day. Figure out how to turn in your child’s completed work the next. We can all get through this one day at a time. Remember, your teachers are trying to get information to you, video themselves teaching lessons, attending a million virtual meetings, grading work and trying to stay connected with each one of you, all while trying to teach their own children, play with them, keep them busy and feed them! The struggle is real!!
Here are a few fun things you can do to make learning FUN for each subject:
- Have your child build a fort (blankets, large box, pillows) with their books and a flashlight inside. Set a timer and have them go in their fort and read whatever they want; 10 minutes-kindergarten, 15 minutes-1st grade, 20 minutes-2nd grade, etc.)
- Record your child reading a book and share it with grandma or a family friend. Or use it later as a bedtime story to themselves!
- Cook with your kids and teach them about measuring ingredients.
- Make a clock from a paper plate and use it to stay on your schedule.
- Take a walk and count the steps to the mailbox and back.
- Find 5 sticks or leaves and put them in order from longest to shortest.
- Count the trees you see or how many windows on your house/building.
- Write letters to your grandparents or other family members.
- Make thank you signs for the windows and doors for the delivery workers.
- Write a poem about your teacher or your parents or your backyard.
- Make a list of everything you miss doing and then when this is over, do them all!
- Look out your window and list all the living and nonliving things you see.
- Find some easy at home experiments on YouTube and try them! (with adult supervision of course!)
- Build a terrarium using a water bottle, grass, dirt, insects and record your findings each day in a journal.
- Research your favorite animal and create a poster or slide show about it.
- Art for Kids Hub is a great place for directed drawing. Your kids will love drawing the hundreds of pictures this dad and his kid draws. You can also add a writing piece to this and write a story about the character you drew.
Here are some great websites I use for my first graders. They have different levels for all ages.
So there you have it folks! Easy ways to conquer each learning subject and make learning FUN. Virtual learning at home does not have to be intimidating and stressful for those out there with a full time job and kids at home who would rather play with toys instead of sitting down and doing math. Or stressful for those who don’t have a background in teaching and have no idea where to begin, like most of us.
Don’t worry, you got this!
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