Schools around the world are responding to the global health crisis by closing their doors for an indefinite period of time. These closures are prompting parents to become familiar with the idea of homeschooling and effective teaching methods. Families are forming new routines and challenging themselves by devising creative solutions to keep their children’s imaginative minds occupied. The concept of homeschooling can be daunting for parents so our team at Bébé Voyage has compiled a list of digital education tips and resources to help you through these unprecedented times.
Create Separate Learning and Playing Areas
Kids need to move around. Set up two different areas, one for learning and one for playing. If space is an issue, you can use baskets or boxes to keep learning materials together. Only take them out when they are needed during set learning times.
We know kids thrive on routine and they become incredibly accustomed to the schedules set at their school or daycare. However, it’s important to remember to be flexible, especially in times like these. For example, it’s okay to let them sleep a little longer (if only!) or eat a little earlier. Home is not their normal school environment so we must curb our expectations a little bit. They are bound to be distracted by their toys or simply want to spend time with you.
A daily schedule can be invaluable in setting expectations for the day, but be prepared to move things around on days where nothing goes according to plan. Finally, keep in mind that you are not aiming to recreate school but taking this opportunity to expand their horizons and teach them some important life skills.
Your child’s school may have their own learning packets or classes via Google Classrooms or Zoom. Try and fit any extra activities around those times.
Make use of free online resources. Many independent companies are releasing free classes, tutorials, and digital education resources during this pandemic. Here are some of our favorites:
- Mystery Science is offering free virtual science lessons.
- TED-ED has released a series of animated videos from top educators geared towards kids.
- Prodigy Math has released video games to help kids learn math in an interactive way.
- Duolingo is now offering free online tools to learn or practice a foreign language.
- Scholastics Learn at Home has uploaded five-days worth of activities. Their lessons are built around meaningful stories and videos to engage kids of all ages.
Think Outside the Box
This is a great time to experiment and focus on activities which can be difficult to present to kids at school such as cooking, drawing, building forts, sorting Legos, and gardening. Tap into some of your child’s interests – if they are already inclined towards an activity, they will be more compliant. Explore some resources online such as Mo Willems lunch time doodling, dance classes with Kidz Bop You Tube channel, Cosmic Yoga for young children, and DIY activities from Tinkergarten.
For the avid reader in your house, check out some of these authors who are hosting daily readings and offering free activity sheets:
- Mac Barnett (author of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole) reads daily at 3PM EDT and Oliver Jeffers (author of Here We Are) offers daily readings at 2PM EDT.
- The Caribu app lets you read to your child from anywhere in the world. This is a great tool for grandparents or family members who are far away.
- Jarrett Lerner (author of Enginerds) offers new worksheets every day for kids to create their own comics.
Arts and Culture
Although traveling anywhere right now is difficult, we can still explore arts and culture related activities from the comfort of our homes. For example, London’s Royal Opera House has launched a program of free online content that you can stream straight into your home from anywhere across the globe. Many museums have also opened their online virtual tours to pique our kids’ imagination. Here are some of them:
- The Louvre
- The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
- The National Gallery of Art
- The British Museum
- Smithsonian National Museum of National History
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- The Dalí Theatre-Museum
- The Vatican Museums
- The National Women’s History Museum
- The National Museum of the United States Air Force
- The Google Art Project
These tools and digital education resources are available to assist you in creating a schedule and learning environment that works for you and your kids. They can help you cope with the stay-at-home orders and bide your time until we can all return to our normal school routines!
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