The spread of the Covid-19 virus has affected our lives on nearly every level. Most of our daily routines have been disrupted – parties and celebrations have been postponed or canceled, schools and sporting events have been suspended, and businesses, like restaurants and gyms, have shut their doors or resorted to take-out only. The financial impact to small business and those laid-off from work could be significant. To pile on to this, kids are home from school with little to do and parents are expected to carry on the education process from home. Most of us are not certified teachers and educating our own children seems like a daunting task. Worry not parents! Here are some things to keep in mind if you are feeling overwhelmed:
- You were their first teacher to begin with. You taught them how to walk, how to feed themselves, how to use the bathroom, how to get dressed, how to tie their shoes, and, dare I say, the difference between right and wrong. If you taught your child to wipe their butt or drive a car, then you can teach sight words, fractions, even biology.
- There are a ton of resources out there to help you. Teachers are a valuable resource. Remember, they are getting paid right now and can still be there for their students. (That doesn’t mean at 10pm.) Schools around the country are taking advantage of the technology that is out there and instituting online learning. In addition, online learning programs can be both entertaining and educational. We use Adventure Academy (my son’s favorite at the moment), ABCya, Raz-Kids, i-Ready, and PBSkids.
- Not all learning is from a book or online programs. Go for a walk or a hike. Learn to play an instrument. Play a game outside. Take a virtual tour from a museum or zoo. Build a garden or plant a tree (if it is appropriate to do so yet).
- It is absolutely acceptable to veg out and relax while schools are closed. Keep in mind that spring break was just around the corner, which will probably be taken away once schools reopen. Let your kids play games, watch movies, and sleep in if they would like. Be present with them in the moment. Have a movie marathon, create an obstacle course, get your gardens ready, build an outdoor fit pit or family area, whatever! Some kids may actually be a little scared or anxious about what is going on; Some may simply be delighted that school is out for several weeks. Take advantage of that time and be with them. When they get bored, they will be more receptive to learning and doing chores.
The good news is that this will be a temporary thing. Businesses and schools will reopen. Sports will resume and celebrations will commence. And kids will eventually go back to school. When they do, be prepared for condensed learning. If you and your child drop in some learning time, then they will be fine. Guess what? If you don’t, they may be a little behind, but will be fine. Academic time doesn’t have to be all day long and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here’s another list of how I am integrating academics into our home:
- Wait until after breakfast to start a learning program.
- Take breaks throughout the day.
- Follow the programs that your teacher is monitoring first, then move to the extra programs. For us, Raz-Kids and i-Ready come first, then ABCya and Adventure Academy.
- Physical Education is a part of the curriculum, so make sure your child is doing some thing active each day. Play baseball or soccer; go for a run or hike; try yoga or plyometrics.
- Learn life skills! Laundry, changing a tire, creating a resume, counting change, driving responsibly, and cooking are all real-life skills that your little one needs to learn.
- Be sure to read everyday. Try to make this time electronic device free.
No matter what, just remember that you are doing fine. Don’t stress! We will all get through this together. Remember that there are resources and people to help you within reach if you need it. So take a breath, enjoy the time with your family, and be resourceful. It is all going to make for a great story at some point!