It’s been approximately one month since we got locked in with our little ones. Food cost up. Working from home is a rampage. Being quiet while on conference calls is big time negotiation. Sleep schedules? Off. Everything is off. The world is off! Mute!
But the show must go on…
After a few weeks of discovering that distance learning is either ineffective, annoying, or strait up not worth the cost of tuition…I’ve taken matters into my own hands.
Before I share the resources (some which are free) that I’ve discovered, I have to give a big loud shout out to all the teachers, assistant teachers, after school providers, and tutors of the the world. I have big respect for y’all. Thank you for your service.
During this time, I’ve learned a lot about my children’s learning styles. My 4 year old daughter was behind in her curriculum given by the private school she attended. All I knew was that she and her teacher weren’t seeing eye to eye. I now believe that the learnings were moving faster than she was grasping on to. And the teacher couldn’t give her the undivided attention that she needed. Not to mention her speech impediment played a part in how she speaks and sees her letters and numbers.
As for my 16 year old son, he thought he had it all figured out as an already 2 year home schooled student, with flexibility to attend face to face instruction by paid tutors twice a week to now full time distance learning. He was playing the system because he thought he had so much time to complete assignments. I started to include his father in all correspondences channeled from the tutors and have them to contact him with any mishaps. That fixed that. His grades have improved.
Every learning moment counts as education.
As a homeschool parent, I have also realized that every single opportunity is a moment to learn and counts as education. From cooking (home economics, math, science, English) to gardening (science, math, art) to neighborhood walks (physical education, science, math). I hope you get the point I’m making here. I repeat…Every opportunity is education. The key here is documenting each child learning experience. More on that to come.
For me and my children, we are finding our rhythm. And since COVID-19 has affected our “norms” I had to learn to find balance in helping them each continue their learning. For the 16 year old, it’s more so monitoring and accountability. However, for the 4 year old, it’s a different kind of challenge. With that said, the rest of this article will be the focus of those with preschoolers, soon to be preschoolers, or children that are in elementary.
As I mentioned above, my daughter seemed to be behind on her learning. My COVID-19 pandemic quarantine mindset helped me to understand that she will have to learn at her own pace. Also, that she is super intellectual in her own way (most that have had any encounters with her will agree). She’s so clever that no one knows that she has a speech impediment. Most don’t know that she has a hard time with letters and numbers because of her speech impediment. But I do. I know. And I’m up for the challenge.
The most exciting part about being a homeschool parent is that you can curate your child’s learning. Yes, you get to choose to guide your child to learn what they like, how they like it, and when the learn it. How cool is that? I gave examples above, but let’s use my daughter as and example. She loves outdoors like any other kid, so our neighborhood walks are mainly for counting. We count everything. How many cars are in a drive way? How many animals we see? How many steps does it take to get from point to point? That’s math! That helps her with numbers! And it’s fun. Not to mention it’s fitness and counts towards physical education. Both math and physical education are requirements to the Board of Education. Clever, huh?
Take another example. She’s also an artist. A makeup artist that is. I know I know. She is 4 years old and her mother (myself) is a hairstylist. So she’s a natural born artist. She has innate skills and they are blooming at 4 years of life. Sooooo…she’s allowed to apply makeup from time to time (when I feel up to the mess she makes on her face lol) this then become Art and Business (yes Business). And as long as is documented as such, she being educated. Her project for this lesson was to create a vision board. So these are just a few examples of how we curate education while making it fun.
The resources that I’ve been using to reinforce and test are listed below for your use. If you have any questions, I will make myself available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I especially love Akili because we are brown skinned. And she has learning apps for all ages.
PBS Kids App has a variety of games that make learning fun and seamless.
ABC Mouse App (subscription fee) has an abundance of games, organized learning paths, book to read, and more.
IXL (subscription fee) is a nice app that helps you assess your little ones progress. It’s for math, language arts, science, and social studies for all grade levels thru 12th grade.
Epic App is full of amazing books that assist with reading aloud and independently. It has incentives for your you little ones and a tracking feature for the parent.
YouTube Kids has a variety of educational videos. I recommend high parental supervision because it’s easy for your child to navigate to other shows.
Tiny Tap – Educational Games for Kids, by Teachers has a lot of interactive games designed for learning. Easy to search the subjects of interest which helps to narrow your options.
These resources can mostly be purchased on Amazon. I highly recommend you to consider buying used items that are in great shape to save money. Be sure to compare to make your best decision.
Bob Books & Workbook: this reasonably priced combination of books and workbook (sold separately)has created an easy way for teachers and parents to help kids confidently engage in reading & comprehension skills. They work hand n hand to help guide the educator. Various levels of curriculum available. A product of Scholastic.
Summer Bridge Activities is well organized for a summer of learning. For just 15 minutes per day you can keep your child skills up to par throughout the summer. Various levels of grades available. A product of Bridging Grades.
Frog Tutoring offers Free tutoring for all ages and all subjects
Bilingual Bridges offers homework help in a variety of languages for different subjects
Outschool Free schooling resources for Child, parents, and educators
Sesame Street has curated a learning resource to assist parents and educators educate during the COVID 19 pandemic. This site and games, videos, books and more.
Mom’s DESK – “Mom’s Directory of Educational Sites for Kids”
I will add to the list of resources as we continue to explore and navigate our way through our homeschool journey.