As we gradually reopen our state, many of us are continuing to stay home and decrease the number of public places we visit. Many parents of school-aged children wait for an answer as to whether schools will reopen for the remainder of the year. That leaves us home with our children who are still attending classes online. The standard “school day” hours definitely do not apply and your child’s teacher is not always available. This means many have taken on a new role as in-home teachers for their kids.
Don’t be overwhelmed.
The important thing to remember is to keep your kid’s brains moving by doing activities. If your child needs help with an assignment but you aren’t available to help them until after 4 pm, that’s ok. We’re all learning as we go.
Navigate these foreign waters
We spoke with Billings Public Schools Primary Literacy Coach, Kristie Martin, to provide recommendations and helpful tips on keeping your kids focused on learning while in their home environment.
Activities for Younger Children
There are several activities you can do from home to help your younger kids continue learning while outside of their traditional classroom. Here are a few recommendations from Kristie:
- Sight Word Find
Need sight words? Click here.
- Making Words/Word Families
For a list of word families, click here.
- Reading Spaces
Create spaces for reading “just right” books. If you need books, visit Epic or Scholastic.
Use printed pictures and have younger kids write sentences about the photos using nouns and verbs. Older kids can write longer sentences using adverbs. The sentences can be used as story starters too.
- Write Stories!
Have children draw pictures and a few sentences about the photos.
- Writing While Reading
Help children focus on their reading. Have them read a few pages or sentences of a book, then write about what they think about the text. They can write about a connection they have to the character, questions they have, or what they think of an interaction that happened.
Activities for Older Children
- Montana Natural History Center (MNHC)
MNHC offers weekly nature and science webinars to fun, interactive, live-streamed programs covering topics in STEM, social studies, literacy and art/music.
- Start a Journal
While starting a journal may seem like a chore on top of all the required school work, it is a way to begin writing solely for putting thoughts and ideas on the page. Some day your children will realize what a unique time they lived through and their COVID-19 journal will have enormous meaning.
- Visit museums and aquariums
You may be home right now and much of the summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t virtually visit new and exotic places. Don’t forget that National Parks are available for virtual visits as well.
- Watch SGN weekly videos
John Krasinski from the hit TV show, The Office, has created some of the most heart-warming updates about ‘Some Good News’ happening during the coronavirus pandemic . He produces these weekly, family-friendly videos.
- Video Chat with friends and Family
Stay in touch with school friends and family. Learn how to video chat or if you are already an expert, give a new app a try. Playing games online and scheduling regular meet ups are a creative way to not feel separated from friends right now.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
All work and no play, makes for a dull day. Here are a few things to do with your kids to have some family fun!
- Make a fort
- Set up a technology quarantine when homework is done
- Get outside often! Go for a walk, a bike ride, or a run
- Bake together and give a dinner assignment to the kids
- Write letters & cards
- Play cards and board games
During this time of social distancing, we hope this list helps you to stay active and enjoy time with your family. Leave us a comment to let us know how you and your children are structuring your school days.