How are all my quarantined peeps doing?! It’s the first week of our children being home with us all day every day for the next two weeks or possibly until the end of the semester. That’s right, we are all one big happy family stuck together in our homes. My friend Amber suggested on Twitter today that we stop using the term, “stuck inside”. It puts a negative connotation on something that may already be difficult to navigate, so it is important to try and be positive about it. A follower suggested we use, “tucked away indoors”. I love that. Right now, I am tucked away indoors with my kid and fur babies. Also, I am not sick with the virus, I’m not in a flare. I should look at it as being able to spend some extra time with our families. Putting a positive spin on it can help relieve some of the anxiety about actually being indoors all day and the loss of some of my income. As well as the setbacks with my educational plan. I can only focus on the things that I can change and not worry about things I cannot.
Being that I work from home and was a stay at home mom for a while, I thought that this transition would be smooth. However, I was not working as much from home when Hippo was little, I was primarily focused on him. Also, he napped during the day and was pretty content with occupying himself as a toddler. Now, he has a bottomless pit for a stomach, opinions, and questions. I’m grateful that my school was suspended for two weeks as we transition into the online phase, and that my son’s school was able to easily transition our kids into an online school. So there isn’t a lot of heavy lifting I have to do regarding my son’s education, however, all of our other extracurricular educational activities have been cut short.
Parents all over the country have been placed in an uncomfortable position with the shutting down of schools. Unfortunately, some schools were not equipped or prepared to help the parents navigate a seamless transition, so educators and caregivers are struggling to find resources to help children continue their education while being at home. Not all parents can homeschool. I know that I am one of those parents who just isn’t an educator. I’m not organized, I’m not certified, I am not interested in teaching. It’s not my passion, I leave it to those who are. Yet, here we are in a situation where I am forced to help my child navigate through. And it’s much more complicated than teaching him his colors, how to read and how to share like when he was a toddler. We are talking strong subjects with intricate details, necessary assignments that fit his grade level and preparation for the next grade level which will lead eventually to college. Oh my goodness, I just gave myself heart palpitations writing that sentence! Honey it is a lot! A lot of responsibility to carry the weight of your child’s academic future in your hands especially when teaching is not your job. Because it’s not something you can just jump right into. So what can we do if our schools left us with no resources? Well, brew your strongest light roast watered-down half-caff coffee, break out the note pad and pen and find a comfy spot. I’ve got some ideas and resources for you.
Use some of this time to enjoy one another. If we calculate how much time kids spent working on their academics, as in books & writing, it can average about 2-3 hours a day. The rest is socializing, exercise, group work, and project building. So schedule your time a little bit differently than a school day. Putting all workbooks, school assignments and writing assignments toward the beginning of the day leaving the rest of the day to have more social interaction and activities.
We are big Lego fans in this house. We started with Mega Blocks and Duploto help with fine motor skills. However, we found that building together helps with teamwork, time management, and communication. There’s also no limit to how many people can participate.
My son does a lot of LARPing (Live Action Role Play) with his friends at school and on playdates. This involves characters from graphic novels, movies and television show that they love. However, when he was little we did a lot of role-playing with costumes beyond superheroes. We played grocery stores, restaurants, barbershop, post office, doctor, astronauts, and pirates. These all helped with counting, manners, responsibility, behavior, communication, and socialization. My kid was really into costumes, so we dressed up. Big T-shirts, aprons, and mustaches made out of black eyeliner went a long way with keeping my LO engaged and happy.
We love doing board games on a rainy day or when one of us is in a flare. Games like Risk, Monopoly, Operation, Scrabble, Apples to Apples, are all favorites in our home when it comes to playing games. These are easy to play on the bed or from the couch with a coffee table nearby. We also love rounds of chess and checkers with teas and snacks. For younger ones, games like Candy Land, Shoots & Ladders, Pete The Cat: Missing Cupcakes, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Connect Four and Twister are all games that we enjoyed with our LO and friends. Twister is a game you can do without the actual brand pieces. we often made the pieces out of construction paper and taped them to the kitchen floor. Absolute fun for the whole family! When I was too sick I ran the spinner and snapped photos.
Take an hour to read. Read together. Read to one another. Read books or magazines. If you don’t have many books at home or you’ve read through all of them, check out all the titles on Kindle, Epic, Amazon Prime Book Box, and Nook. You may also check out books digitally from your local library through Overdrive or your local library app. We also love taking breaks and listening to books through Audible while lying down in a fort in the living room.
There are so many coloring sheets online that we can print, coloring apps available and cheap coloring books available. Sometimes we like to put on some music and just sit and color together for like 30 minutes. This is also a great activity to do with multiple children at various ages & skill levels.
Family Movie Time
Spread out the blankets and pillows on the floor, spread out some snacks and enjoy a movie together. We’ve taken a series approach by rewatching our favorite movie series while we are stuck inside with one another. Disney + has all of the Star Wars and Marvel Universe Movies. As well as some wonderful Disney classics from my childhood.
Here are some activities you can do from toddler to tween. Middle schoolers and high schoolers seem to be pretty focused on maintaining their grades for graduation and college acceptance. However, the little ones can be hard to find activities that help to stimulate the brain. So here are some of my top 10 ideas that have helped me through the years.
Writing in Flour or Pudding
Counting & Stacking Puffs
Creating Puppets from Toilet Paper Rolls, Paper Towel Roll, Construction Paper, Yarn, etc.
Reading Out Loud
Indoor Science Experiments with Household Items
Current Events Report
Story Writing and Presentation
Historical Role Play Presentations
So many of us are wondering where we can find some digital resources to either aid in homeschooling or supplement our homeschool work. Here are some resources online that range in age and skill. A lot of them are offering free services during this time that our children are out of school.
We are all in this together. Text your mom friends and FaceTime some coffee/tea chats with one another. Take your kids on walks around the neighborhood or play in the backyard if you can. Sitting on the porch and getting some sunshine is also allowed. Create a schedule to keep yourself organized and your anxiety down. Work on schoolwork when you can, and on the days it’s too much for the family, take the day off. Also, it’s okay to enjoy this time with your family. Do what is best for you and your family during this time. That’s the most important thing outside of practicing social distancing, of course. Love y’all! xoxo