In an effort to continue to share content that can make an impact in your lives, we have been sharing tips for keeping kids busy at home. Combined with your requests and requests from our own families and friends, today we thought we would tackle a new topic with help from an incredible educator: homeschooling!
Students, teachers, and parents are currently trying to navigate completely uncharted territory as many jump into homeschooling for the first time, and we knew first grade teacher, Mrs. Lamb, would offer great insight. So, we went live with Mrs. Lamb today on Facebook! Did you catch it? If not, make sure to watch the replay, and take a peek at the comments. There are so many great learning ideas from fellow Shopkickers who are homeschooling for the first time just like you!
A few of our favorite takeaways from Mrs. Lamb about how to homeschool:
1. Prep the Night Before
For parents who are also trying to work from home, we think this tip is especially meaningful! The night before, review the schoolwork your child needs to accomplish. Then, set initial assignments aside, especially those your child can complete without guidance from you. When you spot work that will require hands-on help, pull that from the pile and save it to do together to prevent interruptions during your work calls.
2. Create a Schedule
Kids (and adults!) are used to schedules, and it’s important to keep that going at home. Of course, you’re free to make modifications depending on how you and your family feel the day is going. However, having a general plan works wonders! Mrs. Lamb mentioned she and her kids have found it’s best to complete work that will require them to sit at the table during the morning. Then, they switch to a special, like art or music, during the afternoon and sometimes do a science experiment together. The freedom to play is especially important after lunch when energy levels rise and the desire to sit still starts to fade.
3. Encourage Independent Work
Mrs. Lamb was quick to point out students are asked to work independently at school, so they should be able to do the same thing at home! As we mentioned above, starting the day with independent work or scheduling it for times when you need to attend meetings works well. Mrs. Lamb also said Go Noodle is one of her go-to sites for younger kids who need fun activities that they can do on their own.
4. Set Up a Reward System
Mrs. Lamb mentioned a few different ways to offer rewards during her Live. She said she and her kids have been filling a mason jar with gems – they’ve named it The Gem Jar. Mrs. Lamb also mentioned choosing a word and then spelling it out with stickers each time a child (or parent!) has an accomplishment. A key takeaway: “wins” can be things like completing work or doing well on an assignment, but they can also be even more simple like being kind to a sibling or getting dressed for the day on their own. Once your goal is met, do something fun together at home!
5. Explore Activities at Home
Whether you’re planning how to explore specials together or thinking of a fun family reward for a full Gem Jar or completed work, you definitely don’t have to look further than your home! A few ideas that stood out to us: build a fort, camp in the living room, create chalk art with painter’s tape (here’s a tutorial), or enjoy a family movie night.
BONUS: Stay Connected
We’re all missing the everyday connections we typically make without effort, so it’s more important now than ever before to make sure to stay connected to friends and teachers. Turn to Zoom, FaceTime, and more to stay in touch! While you’re talking, share what you and your family are doing during your school time together.
Mrs. Lamb sent us all of her go-to resources for at-home learning, and we wanted to make sure you can access them too. Here’s the full list:
Virtual Field Trips:
We’ll be sharing more tips and tricks from Mrs. Lamb, but don’t hesitate to chime in on Facebook in the meantime!