In response to the global pandemic of the coronavirus, many public schools and child care centers have closed down across the United States. While this is a big change from the normal school days your children know, it also is a unique opportunity to interact with your child’s growth and learning in a new way. Many of the schools that have shut down have set up online platforms or sent home schoolwork to complete, however there is an opportunity here for both you and your child to get engaged in learning together. Along with the mandatory assignments from school, start by having a family meeting to explain some of the ongoing changes and to ask your child what else they would like to do and learn during this time. Being at home gives the unique opportunity to learn more about math and science through baking or experimenting with botany through gardening. Another fun way to learn about math, angles, and shapes is through making airplanes, which your children can decorate differently to then measure how the different paper airplane shapes perform to each other. By engaging in learning in these different ways, it will be a great way for your children to truly understand how they apply the day to day learning they have received at school to life applications.
Once you and your child have talked about what they would like to learn in the coming weeks, start by making a schedule. This schedule does not need to be detailed down to the minute, but a daily plan will help them with the structure they are used to from school. It will also make it easier to get into a daily rhythm during this new normal. When constructing this schedule, it is important to remember that both downtime and active time are important. For example, independent time allows for your child’s own exploration and time for them to process information in whatever way that suits them best. Additionally, do not plan to work on academics for the same length of time that your child typically spends in school or daycare, because a significant amount of that time is also spent during recess, gym class, lunch, and socialization. With a focused group of only a few children, the same work can be done in less time at the same quality of learning. One great way to spend quality time together is through reading to and with your children, which is a great way to improve reading skills while getting that one on one time with your child.
When it comes to looking for resources, a good place to start is checking your local school’s website for any online resources they have made available. A growing trend seen on social media also features popular children’s book writers reading their books aloud daily, which is a great way for your children to experience their favorite books in a new way. Authors who are planning to participate in these read-alouds and lessons have been sharing their schedules in a google form created by literacy advocate Olivia Van Ledtje, which can be found, along with more resources through the Twitter hashtag #kidlitquarantine. Additionally, a number of museums around the globe have also begun converting some of their exhibits to be accessible for free online, including the Louvre. Additional online content can be found on Scholastic, which has 20+ days of content with a specific section for Pre-K and Kindergarten. The streaming service Netflix has 1450+ Educational shows to stream, however a subscribtion is required. Once you have a Netflix account, you can access educational shows through www.HomeschoolHideout.com. You can also find more tips and resources on the SBVP Facebook page.
Overall, in the face of the temporary child care closures, there are still plenty of opportunities to enrich your child’s education in a variety of ways and free online tools to help you get there!
Morgan Simmons, SBVP Intern
Author bio: Morgan is currently a senior majoring in Economics and History with a minor in leadership at Christopher Newport University. She is involved on campus in the Honors Program, President’s Leadership Program, Zeta Tau Alpha, Residence Life, and several honor societies. She plans on attending University of Oregon to pursue her Master in Finance in 2020-2021.