Recently, my children’s school was canceled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Even though my kiddos only go to preschool for about 3 hours a day, I will never take those 3 consecutive hours of free time for granted ever again.
Now that my twins are home all day every day, I’ve taken it upon myself to homeschool them in a fun, creative, and interactive way. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not forever, but I’m giving it my best.
5 REASONS WHY I’M HOMESCHOOLING MY KIDS DURING COVID-19
- Due to this Pandemic and subsequent lockdown, I’ve got nothing but time. Most of my work is in person and therefore it’s been canceled.
- A child’s brain develops more rapidly from birth to age 5 than any other time in their life. They’re always absorbing everything, so I want to be a positive role model and guide their learning curriculum with love and attention.
- Like most kids, if left to their own devices, my children are prone to creating conflict or displaying attention seeking behavior which can cause stress for everyone. Instead, I’d prefer to provide them with fun and engaging activities to harness their energy.
- We don’t get much screen time in our house because we found that when we do, the kids get moody and don’t sleep as well at night. Rather than having TV on all the time, or negotiating when to watch it, we have specific times of day when educational TV shows are allowed and we use it as a tool. Watching it sparingly makes it more special.
- I find it really fun to be part of the kids’ learning process. It stimulates my creativity to think of exciting ways to teach them something new every day and it’s the best to watch their little light bulbs going off when they grasp new ideas.
5 TIPS FOR STARTING YOUR HOMESCHOOL
- RELEASE A NEED FOR PERFECTION
Your homeschool doesn’t have to be perfect or pinterest worthy. It doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to take all day. I think the most important part of homeschooling during this strange and stressful time is that it feels playful and makes learning fun. Trust that you have a lot to teach your kiddos and you’re creative enough to find fun ways to engage them.
- CREATE A ROUTINE
Creating structure and having a routine creates a sense of security. At our home, we have certain windows of time when we eat, when we brush our teeth, when we nap or have quiet time, and when play inside vs outside.
We also found that what works for us is doing more of the sitting down inside activities in the morning after breakfast and then shifting to outdoor activities before lunch. Things are a little more relaxed after nap and we try to go for an “adventure” in the afternoon.
- START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
For the past two plus weeks of homeschooling, I’ve used everything that I already owned like crayons, markers, paper, scissors, puzzles, blocks, storybooks, coloring books, workbooks, kitchen tools and kids toys. Granted, when I heard that school might be canceled for another 2 months, I purchased a few more specific supplies online, but mostly everything I’m using I already had.
- CHOOSE A THEME FOR YOUR DAY
When you pick a theme, you can utilize all the resources you have at your disposal to support your theme and be a little more flexible with the “lesson plan.” Later in this article, I share all the categories that are considered for children’s education and you’ll notice that oftentimes many activities can satisfy multiple educational categories.
For instance, if the theme of our day is color, we can use color in art, language, motor skills and math. When I’m preparing the lesson, I can grab all the books, toys, and tools that support my theme while thinking of fun ways to integrate everything.
- DON’T FORCE IT, BE FLEXIBLE
Most kids have relatively short attention spans. Cultivating focus and concentration is an important skill for them to learn at this age. So I try not to force anything on them but rather help them get interested in what I’m teaching.
When my children are concentrating, whether it be building a train track, playing with stickers, or looking at a book, I don’t force them to stop what they’re doing and shift to the homeschool activity I have planned. Oftentimes if I start an activity with one child and we’re having fun, chances are the other kid will WANT to participate.
THE BASIC CATEGORIES OF EDUCATION
Below are the overall categories of learning in childhood education plus examples of how I incorporate each of them into our homeschool lessons. One thing that’s also nice to remember is that even when our COVID-19 Quarantine is over, all of these activities and lessons can still be great supplemental education to what they’re learning at school.
- Recognizing Letters (upper and lower case)
- Rhyming games and songs
- Storytelling or Dictating letters to family and friends
- Practice writing by hand: Names, words or individual letters
- Spelling out loud words found in favorite books
- Recognizing numbers & counting anything and everything
- Practice adding and subtracting with items, abacus, or fingers
- Fractions (if I cut this sandwich in half, how many pieces do I have?)
- Baking to work with measurements and following a process
- Create your own clock to discuss time, seconds, minutes, hours, etc.
- Talk about or draw body parts from limbs and organs to the skeleton and bones
- Explore plants and animals with gardening, nature walks or scavenger hunts looking for animals like ants, worms, butterflies, etc.
- Discuss weather, climate, seasons, environments, etc.
- Get a Butterfly Habitat or build your own Wormery
- Constantly observe and discuss the world around you
Fine Motor Skills:
- Stringing beads, lacing, buttoning and zipping
- Cutting with child friendly scissors
- Picking up small objects with tongs
- Holding a utensils, pencils or crayons
- Playing with sensory toys like Play-Doh, noodles, rice, beans or water beads using cups, spoons, a ladle, or bowls
Gross Motor Skills:
- Hopping on one foot, skipping, or jumping rope
- Throwing, catching and kicking a ball
- Walking on a line forward and backward
- Walking up and down steps
- Imitate animal movements with Yoga or freestyle
- Look at maps of the world or your country
- Sing the 7 Continents song (there are so many versions!)
- Talk about where certain animals live in the world
- Try different cultural food, including language or music from the location
- Watch a documentary or Nature show (We love If I Were An Animal on Netflix)
- Sing a capella or with recording
- Have a dance party taking turns leading movements
- Play instruments: drums, piano or keyboard, guitar or ukulele
- Make up songs throughout the day
- Watch videos of live music with different instruments
- Explore primary and secondary colors with sorting, identifying and mixing
- Play with shapes via puzzles, tracing, toys
- Explore water colors, washable paints, crayons, stickers, markers, dot dots
- Face the Foliage: go on a walk to gather flowers, stick, leaves, then sort and create faces (look up #facethefoliage) or create other pieces of art
- Dry bundles of flowers like roses or leaves like rosemary or sage
- Show kindness to neighbors: say hello, write notes, bring supplies
- Help with household chores: making bed, sweeping, empty dishwasher, put clothes from washer to dryer, clean up toys
- Care for animals: Take care of pets or the insects you find on nature walks
- Cultivate Gratitude: Give thanks before meals or at bedtime
- Create a Positive Affirmation Coloring Book
To see some of my homeschooling in action, visit instagram.com/gigiyogini and watch the story highlight on my profile.
Remember, your homeschooling doesn’t have to look like mine or any other parent’s, but hopefully you get some ideas and inspiration.
You can also ask your mom friends what they’re doing with their kids during lockdown or do a simple Google search for “Homeschooling Freebies” and you’ll be amazed by how many great resources (including print outs) there are!
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or ideas and I’d love to see your activities too. It’s so important to stay connected and to support each other, especially during times like these.
I know you’re doing your best. I’m proud of you. Keep up the great work!