Our lives are inarguably different right now, and the same goes for our kids. Majority of children are not homeschooled, so this shift has affected both them and their parents dramatically. In fact, some states have announced that children won’t be returning to school at all for the 2019-2020 academic year and colleges have postponed graduation ceremonies. It’s been tough! I have little ones at home myself and all we can do is really focus on the positive side of things and the fact that we get to spend more time together. Because I know a lot of you now have kids learning virtually from home, I wanted to share some things that have helped us navigate through this new climate.
Every child learns differently, but every child can benefit from sensory play. It literally puts all of their senses to the test, meaning that smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing, movement, and balance are all incorporated. The truth is that all types of play are essential for a child’s early development and learning. Sensory play can help with collaboration, concentration, motor skills, expanding their imagination, familiarity with their environment, and so much more. It also doesn’t hurt that kids love to play and it’s so important for us to find ways for them to have some fun right now. Below are some sensory play ideas and materials you can try and use at home:
- Sand art
- Finger painting
- Treasure boxes
- Play dough
- Shaving cream art
- Rice bins
- Dinosaur bins
- Pouring stations
You can find more ideas across the web and even on Pinterest when you’re feeling creative and want your kids to try sensory play!
While we all absolutely love our kids, having them at home for school isn’t the easiest job. We’re trying the best that we can, and thankfully a lot of the learning is done virtually, but as parents we do have to step in here and there (especially depending on their grade level). Below are some ways that could make the homeschooling experience a bit easier and more functional for everyone:
- Accept that homeschool is not their real school: Some days will be better than others. Kids who attend regular school can’t immediately shift their focus to working from home the way most adults can. They might not focus as well, they may become impatient, and they’ll absolutely miss their teachers and friends. The lessons probably won’t be as detailed or digestible compared to what they’re used to. Don’t try to replicate or replace every single thing they have at school, because after all, home is not school.
- Set up a learning space: Whether it’s your family room or the dining room table, set up a designated learning space for your kids to get their work done. You may not be able to replicate a classroom, but have them report to a certain space to encourage them to get through and finish their work.
- Make a schedule: The same way that a designated space will help their focus, so will a schedule. You won’t have to wake up your kids as early as usual, but give them a time that they’ll have to be up for school. Schedule out their individual assignments and lessons, and display them for everyone to see. This just makes it easier to remember what’s going on, when things are due, etc.
- Incorporate lunch breaks and recess: Give them something to look forward to! Kids love lunch time, so we shouldn’t have them eat as they work. Give them a proper lunch break where they can sit back, relax, enjoy a meal, and socialize with their family. The same goes for recess! Keep your kids active with some recess and help them take their minds off of schoolwork for a little bit.
- Acknowledge that all kids are different and learn differently: If you have several kids under one roof like I do, you need to accept that they’re all different. They might not all learn something as quickly and efficiently, so it’s important for you to not get frustrated and make them feel bad about it. Be patient, get to know their learning style, and help them move forward.
- Get creative: You all know how much I love crafting and putting together activities for the kids, and now I can incorporate this into their school lessons! We all have random things around the house that we can put to use in a different way for the kids. Warning: it could get messy, but let them have their fun!