Tips For At-Home Learning
With school closures across Hudson County due to coronavirus, limitations on social gatherings, theaters and theme parks closed and social distancing precautions in place, parents are left at home with their kids, looking for options. In addition to “at-home learning options” provided by some schools, parents can access many online creative and educational resources and fun activities to turn the isolation into a positive learning experience for children and the family.
Learning is not limited to a computer screen, and kids of all ages can learn through everyday activities. For example, youngsters can learn by joining in just about any home activity. They can learn about fractions by following a recipe or better understand biology by observing wildlife in the backyard. Here are some suggestions to make at home learning enjoyable for the entire family:
Establish a routine. Don’t let it be random, without specific guidance for the child. But also, be flexible. It’s a learning curve for you and for them.
Reading is an important part of schooling at home. Adult and older kids can read aloud with young children by their side or silently. Reading time can be followed by a discussion that reviews what was read, the message an author was trying to convey or to build anticipation for the next part of a book. It’s also a good time to explore a new genre that might not be part of the regular school curriculum.
Children can write a story or a play. For those just learning these skills, have them dictate a story while a parent writes it down. Kids can illustrate the story or act out a play. Costumes can be made from old clothing and materials.
For older children, lengthier reports can stem from a child’s own topic of interest that they research, illustrate and present. The report can be written or oral, allowing for the development of public speaking skills, as well.
As warmer weather approaches, plants are budding, insects are emerging and birds are building nests. A simple biology project may be describing observations or simply drawing an insect or a plant and identifying it in a handbook.
Involving children in household tasks such as cooking, doing the laundry, cleaning and light yardwork is part of daily life that kids should learn to navigate.
Sewing, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, gardening, creating art or other activities can be educational and rewarding. Take up new hobbies.
Turn home into a virtual museum. Although many public buildings are closed, some offer virtual tours highlighting displays and exhibits. Take advantage of such offerings because they are rich in information and free.
Children are active, and keeping them tied to a desk for hours on end is unproductive. Allow children to move around, especially outside, by building in break time to their schedule. Astronaut Mark Kelly says scheduling activities was an invaluable aid in the year he spent on the International Space Station.