by Simon Clarke

Learning at home

Some ideas of what you can do over the next four weeks.

LIFE SKILLS Teach hard skills you know and love. Paint with watercolors, operate a power drill, bake bread, change a tire, dance, throw a football. Personal lessons are more memorable than worksheets.

PERSONAL HISTORY Make a family tree, self-portrait, or short memoir. Have kids interview older relatives over the phone. Go through old photo albums and tell stories. Share food, songs, and stories from your culture.

MATH Double recipes, divide objects into groups, determine the square footage of a room, set up a pretend store and give kids pretend money to spend. Prompt them to guess the mass of objects and then weigh them, or how many litres the tub holds.

EARTH SCIENCE Plant a garden. Hunt for bugs to observe. Go on a local hike and take photos of plants to identify later. Read a book about the environment, like The Lorax. Make a family plan to reduce your carbon footprint. Breathe fresh air.

GEOGRAPHY Read a map of your neighborhood together. (Remember those paper fold outs we used to use to get around?) Design your dream neighborhood.

READING Read poetry together. Work your way through ambitious chapter books or a series, and then watch the movies that were made from them. Make up new endings to short stories. Draw, write, or act them out.

WRITING Fold some paper down the middle and staple it together. Now you have a blank book you can write together. Craft stories, haikus, or limericks. Keep a daily journal together. Write letters to family and send them by mail.

VISUAL AR Take claymation videos with Play Doh and your smartphone. Make papier mâché animals. Study an artist’s style and try to imitate it. Keep a daily art journal for kids to illustrate their feelings. Collage from old magazines.

PERFORMING ART Learn a new dance or song on YouTube together and have a family performance. Make puppet shows. Make your own instruments out of household objects. Memorize poems to perform.

PE Exercise together. Run or jog. Do jumping jacks. Try that seven minute workout we’ve all heard about but never tried. Set up obstacle courses for one another. Do yoga and meditation together. Take stretch breaks.

MAKING Make scale models of furniture from cardboard and paper. Teach your kids to sew. Make towers from marshmallows and toothpicks. Paint macaroni and then arrange it on paper to make patterns. Build with sticks, mud, and rocks outside.

LISTENING Listen to audio short stories or podcast episodes and discuss as a family. Listen to famous music and analyze it. Listen to an entire soundtrack and guess what happens in the movie. Interview one another and record it.

FREE TIME Set aside 20 minutes each day to follow the rules of play that your kids set up for you. This might mean playing pretend, reading a book you hate, or doing an activity that’s not your favorite. Give them a time slot to be in charge and play along accordingly.

PERSONAL GROWTH Close each day with what you’re grateful for. Give one another positive and constructive feedback. Ask your kids to give you a score of 1-5 each day. Make goals about getting better for the next day. A few more notes if you’re new to this teacher thing…

ROUTINE: Kids need routine and predictability. Publish and share a plan for your days to communicate when it is time for school, work, play, exercise, meals, and family. Don’t be too ambitious.

SURPRISE: Break from routine to bring purposeful surprises. Maybe the science lesson is actually watching the sunrise or a sunset hike with flashlights. Or the history lesson is — surprise! A movie, because the parents need a break.

COMMUNITY: Create a shared virtual learning community. Make standing video call dates with similarly aged friends or family members to discuss events of the day, read books aloud, or share progress on individual projects. Ask friends with interesting jobs to host AMAs. Post photos of learning projects each day to a closed messaging or Whatsapp group to learn from others and maintain accountability. My colleagues in Shanghai have been doing this in a WeChat group with their kid’s classmates and teachers.

MORNING ROUTINE: Make a “morning basket” with an activity that your kids can do alone (a coloring sheet, a reading passage, a journal prompt) and refresh it each night. It will buy you time in the morning to get things arranged.

SCAFFOLD: If you’re teaching something totally new, follow an “I do, we do, you do” rhythm. Demonstrate and model something new, then do it together, then prompt them to do it on their own.

STAY COOL: @PayalKohliMD said this week, "Our emotions are contagious. ... Positive emotional contagion is also contagious, so if we start to spread empowerment through knowing information, that's just as contagious as spreading panic and fear." So, keep your head up.

This was an interesting list from
Rachel Young @msrachelyoung

Online learning

Username = covidkaik    password = 20kaik20 - I haven't checked the links of all of the activities for quality.

and of course most children have a mathletics account that teachers will use if we get shut down.