In the interests of flattening the curve whilst the world struggles under the weight of the coronavirus COVID-19, we are staying home as much as possible, and that includes from school.
In the interests of my children not just playing minecraft for 12 hours a day, I’ve organised some activities, most of which I hope will be cool.
I’m no expert (although I’ve thought about homeschooling A LOT) and this is genuinely just stuff to keep them occupied while the school scrambles to convert their curriculum to stuff numpties like me can do at home with children and not completely derail their learning. Nothing is concrete, everything is fluid, we’ll probably all be sick of each other come Friday.
I’ll still be working at the school while the school is open (although we are struggling to purchase our usual orders for the canteen at this stage and things might look pretty pear-shaped by as early as next week), and the kids will attend when I’m there. The school population has gone down quite a bit just in the last couple of days and not only because plenty of parents went to Golden Plains, but also I guess because we can keep kids home, although that’s obviously not a position everybody finds themselves in.
Anyway, if it’s you and you’re experiencing several WTFs about how to keep children from crawling the walls, these are my thoughts (dun dun). Oh ps my two are 7 & 8 (Biggie will turn 9 this Saturday OMG I KNOW). I’m also very big on unstructured time so please do not think I’m out here whistling for them to line up in age order before 10 hours of calculus.
Each morning, we’re going to start with me reading aloud one entry for the Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls like some kind of Girl Power Overlord. We are probably the only household to have not got through it since we acquired a copy. This shall be rectified.
They have to write a diary entry every day about whatever they like.
The day will have the same kind of breaks as school (11am – 11.30 recess and 1.30 – 2.30 lunch). Mostly because otherwise they’ll probably forget to go outside and also I’m trying to keep a sense of familiarity in a world gone literally mad. Bless them, they asked if I could play a song when it was time to come inside today, like school does. They even lined up at the back door, haha.
The day will consist of some kind of combination of things from this list. There will be reading, writing, maths, art, and music daily, and whatever else takes their fancy:
- Read a chapter of a book aloud
- Learn about Australian flora and fauna
- Australian geography
- Outside play
- Walk the dog
- Silent reading
- Science – experiments or honestly probably just me putting on some soothing David Attenborough
- Free time
- Personal interest
- Do a household chore
- Coding games online
- Watch a movie or some “science disguised as nerdy-but-cool high school girl doing stuff for impressionable children” netflix program
- Learn Spanish on Duolingo (in readiness for our Mexico trip later in the year that we were actually supposed to go on at the end of this month please let’s not talk about it *cries*). The kids are learning Indonesian at school but it’s not offered on Duolingo so Spanish it is.
- School work from school. This includes maths, which I’ve already got a nervous sweat on about.
- Board games, jigsaw puzzles, or cards
- Colouring in
- Playdough – they love it even if they’re well past toddler years
- Video of the day. Today it was this excellent kid-friendly explanation of what is Coronavirus and why we all need to wash our hands. I will also be showing them some classic Aussie Behind the News segments on the virus, but in a couple of days – I’m trying to not belt them over the head with it, but keeping them aware and answering their questions when they have them. Other than that it will just be something random and cool.
- Music. If you’re looking for some stuff to do at home, I can recommend Hoffman Academy, and the Fender app
I’ve also seen some fun stuff do do online: Khan Academy, Scholastic has a learn-at-home site, KiwiCo, local library ebooks and emagazines, Duolingo, for learning languages as I mentioned before, and for maths, Fuse and Nrich Maths. Coding will be scratch, the Lightbot app, which they love, and we have some coding books to read. Hour of Code is good for ideas.
Dear Diary, Day One
So today when I brought them home after my half-day shift, I had them write down a few things they wanted to learn a bit more about while they’re not at school. I wanted to get my head together about what our days were going to look like and what we had on hand, so these were their tasks while I tried to figure it out.
Smalls (7) wrote that she wanted to learn more about “Australian States and Capital Cities” (um ok? tbh I’m probably better at this than how to survive an Enderman attack or whatever it is I thought she’d write) and this was Bigs:
HOW GOOD ARE KIDS. I love them desperately. Plenty going on inside their little minds.
I also had them go through a science experiment book and pick out two things they wanted to do, and the same with a recipe book for kids.
Then they had to do their diary entry for today.
I MEAN PLEASE. These precious little pies. Bless their whole hearts.
Next, I got them to go and pick a chapter book that would be their book to read in silent reading times.
Then they decorated the front page of their notebooks.
After this, it was was lunch and they wanted to read while they ate and then played outside.
It was now I realised I had done absolutely none of my own work, which included a two-hour Shakespeare seminar, watch the rest of one performance, finish reading a play, finish reading two short stories and two journal articles, and continue my assignment. Currently it is 10.26pm and I’ve done not a whit of it until now either.
After lunch I asked them to pick an Australian animal, draw a picture of it, and write down three facts in their notebook.
When they had finished, they had a recipe for banana cake to make. They had to divide the recipe equally among themselves so they were each doing an equal share, and get out all the equipment and ingredients themselves. I helped minimally with the adding and mixing (this is where the first set of tears erupted) and putting the cake in the oven.
While we waited for it to bake, we discussed the book I chose for us to read aloud, The Book of Secrets by A. L. Tait (aka my friend Al). You can find out more about it here – it’s super cool. I started by asking them what they thought the book was about, and one thing they could see on the cover. What did they think the Book of Secrets actually was? I then read the blurb on the back and asked them to guess what might happen. then we read the first chapter.
It was about 4pm by this stage so I left them to their own devices while I did some work and got dinner ready (fending off tears #2 which belonged to a child wanting chocolate and being refused).
Here’s hoping we make it out of here alive.
See you tomorrow – I wish you all peace, health, and an abundance of toilet paper.