It is an incredibly stressful time. Not only are we adjusting to constant life at home, but we are also trying to homeschool our kids. Timmy and I were so nervous about it in the beginning. Our biggest goal right now (apart from staying home and safe) is continuing to advance Sonny’s development and teaching him as best we can. I hope what you are about to read gives you a lot of relief and encouragement for homeschooling!
I am so grateful for our friend Sam Foreman. Sam is an Early Childhood Educator who works with children and families in Santa Monica, California. He has been teaching for eight years and is currently working at Growing Place Preschool with children ages 3-4. He is a California Mentor Teacher and works alongside Santa Monica College in educating the community about the importance of high quality early childhood education. Below you will find encouraging words, tools and amazing ideas from Sam about homeschooling during this time! I hope you find this as helpful as we did. THANK YOU, SAM!!!
A Homeschool Breakdown From Sam Foreman
Every child deserves the right to an education. Let’s make the best of what is happening in the world right now. Below are some big ideas to create a semblance of normalcy for yourself and your children during these strange times. Email me with any questions or thoughts! firstname.lastname@example.org
Creating A Daily Routine
Young children, in particular, thrive off of routines and consistency. Below has been our general school schedule with a suggested modification for what that could look like at home.
Morning Meetings: To welcome children, connect, share news, set the tone for the day and make a plan for the day.
- Home: Do a family gathering where you check in to see how everyone is feeling, do a family ritual together, set intentions and plans for the day.
- Tools you can use: A calendar that shows what’s happening when and who will be where.
Work Time and Snack: To allow children a time to work in small groups with facilitated work either by a teacher, peer and/or the environment. Open snack time allows for children to develop self-regulation skills and socializing.
- Home: Offer children things to do during this time (jobs or chores count!). Here is a list of ideas and we welcome you to add!
Reflection Meeting: A chance to share a new discovery or a problem encountered during work time.
- Home: Come together and allow your child(ren) a chance to share their work and a time to ask questions and reflect on how the morning went. Make plans for what the next part of the day will look like, maybe even deciding how they will support you with making lunch.
Outdoor Time: Allow for large, gross motor play and encounter with nature.
- Home: Finding time to go outside is important. Rainy days offer a chance to connect with water and seasons. It’s also healthy to be outside in the fresh air. Make it a family time to take a break together. Here are some outdoor ideas.
Lunch: Nourishing one’s body and a time for conversation, practice table manners, and being a community
- Home: A great time to transition together to lunch – what washing hands song will the children sing? How will they help set up and clean up for lunch. What conversations will you have together?
Rest time: Being able to rest is a chance for children to physically and emotionally replenish and practice self-regulation skills.
- Home: Involve your child in the set-up and clean-up of rest time. Even if children do not fall asleep at home, create a rhythm of rest where they can process their day and learn to be with their own thoughts. Oral stories are wonderful as they stir a child’s imagination.
Afternoon Meeting: Reconnecting in the afternoon to make plans for outdoor time, the next day, celebrate a milestone and/or read a story.
- Home: This is a good time to reconnect after a busy day. It can be a brief check in and time to make a plan for dinner time.
Outdoor Time: Allow for large, gross motor play and encounters with nature. This is a chance to return to work from the morning.
- Home: Young children in particular love doing something again and again, so returning to the same outdoor activity you did in the morning is a great way for children to reconnect with an idea they were exploring earlier.
Staying present with young children and being mindful about media coverage.
- It’s important to filter and be mindful of how much exposure children get to this disease be it through media or adult conversations. Most children this age do not need to know the details or fear that is circulating. They do need to know the truth, which is that there is a virus going around and it is making some people sick. Here’s another resource on ways to speak to children.
Staying connected and being supportive of other families, the school, and broader community.
- Do you have a skill/talent/resources you can share? Teach a yoga/pilates/mindfulness class virtually.
This is also a time for children to learn empathy and how we can serve others who are more vulnerable in a way that makes sense for your family. Children can write letters/cards to those who are isolated, call grandparents and elderly folks, donate to food banks, buy gift cards from your favorite local restaurants, and be kind to others. There are many opportunities out there and if you know of any good resources, please share with us. I visited an art exhibit not too long ago on the plight of refugees in the world, and they posted St. Augustine’s quote:
“Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.”
Ideas for Home
- Make positive banners to hang outside your home
- Bust out those board games! What are your favorites?
- Treasure hunts
- No stress chess
- Snails Pace
- My first 4 Board Games
- Connect 4
- Tik tac toe
- Making your own boardgame and rules
- Take photographs of their world
- Create a Family Book: a book you can put together of your family, who’s in it, adventures you’ve gone on, favorite activities, foods, all that jazz.
- Practical Life Activities for Home
- Tinkergarten Series: Not a Box
- Ocean Sensory Bin (water, blue food coloring, ocean animals)
- Toy Car Wash (toy cars, water, soap, sponge, wash cloth)
- Baking soda and vinegar experiment (baking soda, vinegar, food coloring)
- Color mixing with colored ice cubes (ice cube tray, food coloring water)
- Free the frozen animals (water, toy animals)
- Rain cloud experiment (water, shaving cream, liquid watercolors)
- Clean baby dolls (baby dolls, water, soap, towel)
- Make sensory bottles (water bottle, water, blue, food coloring, glitter)
- Spray bottles with watercolor
- Citrus sensory bin (old orange/lemon, water, food coloring)
- Dance party with flashlights
- Obstacle course around the house/yard
- Scavenger hunt at home
- Galileo Camps – ways to bring joy and find a rhythm when kids are home
- Ideas for Toddlers
- Sparkle Stories
- Bank Street Best Children’s Books Lists
- Famous Authors Reading Children’s Stories
- Children’s books read by SAG actors
- Books read by astronauts in space
- Cincinnati Zoo Live Stream
- Petersen Auto Museum in LA
- Lunch Doodling with Mo Willems
- Live Streamed Classical Music Concerts
- Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety
- Taking Care Of Your Mental Health In The Face of Uncertainty
- Parenting in a Pandemic by Betsy Brown Braun
- NY Times Coronavirus Homeschool
- List of educational companies offering FREE subscription
- Fine motor skills
- Pinterest craft ideas
- Tips for being at home
- Projects and tinkering workhttps://tinkerlab.com/start-
- Recipes to cook with children
- Free streaming radio for young children
- More free subscription