The Kids are Home... Now What?
Advice from the Trenches
Making the most of school closure
I am a "The Glass is Half Full" thinker. These are strange times, but they also present an opportunity for many of our families to find some creativity in our learning. While we know that anything we do at home will not replace the learning that happens when students are in the school building, it doesn't mean we cannot find the opportunities to find some truly personal learning experiences.
This past Saturday morning, while sitting down to eat breakfast together, we asked each of our kids what they wanted to learn about that they don't get to learn in school. My 11-year old told me she wanted to learn how to cook meat. She knows how to cook pasta, pancakes, eggs, make salad...but she doesn't know how to grill a steak! My 10-year old wants to learn how to bake cakes, really good cakes. My 7-year old wants to work on robotics. He's really good at the building, but he wants to learn more about the coding. What a great opportunity to engage in life-long learning as a family.
Now it's Thursday, and I have given my three school-age kids a collaborative project. They have a package of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Together they have to write down the recipe for chocolate chip cookies in their journal, then half the recipe. Once they do that, they get to make 3 batches of chocolate chip cookies. One batch with melted butter, one batch with room temperature butter, and one batch with cold butter. In their journal they have to describe the difference in outcome, including observation (do the cookies from each batch look the same?), texture (did the cookies from each batch all come out soft, crunchy, hard?) and taste. My hope is they begin to learn how important details are in the baking process.
We have created Learning Menu's for your children, however, the days are long when school is out. Be creative, have fun, and don't be too hard on yourself! Life is happening, parents are going to work, working from home, worried about whether they have work. Above all else, take care of yourselves and your families.
A Sample Day with Ideas to Help Fill the Time
*disclaimer: what follows is a pretty packed day with a lot of transitions. The purpose here is not to impose a structure but to offer ideas for how to break up the time. Think of it as a menu of options; pick and choose what works for your children and your family.
8:00 Make breakfast together
9:00 Literacy Time
9:30 Read as a Family
10:00 Take a break
10:15 Science Project/ Social Science/ Technology
11:00 Creative lunch-making
12:00 Math Time
12:30 Social Emotional Learning
1:00 Take a Break
1:15 Physical Activity
1:45 Art Project/ Baking Time
2:30 Movie or TV break
3:30 Board Games/Card Games
Make sure to look at our Learning Menu's for ideas.
We have also curated some online resources that you may be interested in.
Baking = great STEM learning
After you've done all the measuring, then you can think about the chemistry of cooking. At what temperature does butter melt? Or water boil? You and your child can generate hundreds of questions and answers about math and science by the simple act of making cookies.
Then, once those cookies are made, there are all kinds of story problems! If everyone in the family gets an equal number of cookies, how many cookies does each person get? What about the ethical dimensions of cookie-making? Who should get the most? The person who cooks? Who cleans? Who buys the groceries? Or should everyone get an equal amount?