Thursday, March 19, 2020

What to Do With the Kids?

                               What to Do With the Kids?

                                              Part One

In case you do not know who I am, or I should say was, I was an elementary teacher for 40 years and a substitute for 3 years.  There were days when my lesson plans just flew out the window and I had to improvise and as a sub I went into classrooms without any plans made so it was up to me.  In all those years I never considered myself a baby-sitter or child sitter.  I wanted each child to know more when they left school at the end of the day than when they entered.  

During this unique time where many children, without much notice to child or parent, are now needing to be homeschooled.  This may be a temporary short time or a longer time.  Here are some ideas you can use at home.

                                             Math And Reading 

                                           Preschoolers, Kindergartners, etc. 

Young children can help set a table for a meal.  They can count how many people will be eating, how many pieces of flatware, dishes, etc. they will need.  If a spoon falls on the floor, how many spoons are left?  How many spoons are needed to replace what fell?  

The child could count the number of blocks they play with (or some other item).  If someone removes some of the blocks, how many are left?  Do they know without counting? Guess.  Count and check.  If another group of blocks is put close to the first set and are counted, what would be the total?  Count it out and see.  What if some blocks again are taken away, how many are left?  Count to check.

The parent can read one of the books the child has,  one sentence at a time pointing to each word and at the end of the sentence, the child can "read" the same sentence while pointing to the word. 
Many kindergartner children know basic sight words and numbers, so build on that. 

                                                    Older children

Older children, I have often found, like working with maps.  I use road maps, atlases, etc. 
They like to plan trips.  Car Trips: If they start from their city, how many miles is it to another city.  How many miles in a round trip (explain round trip, many of my city kids did not understand the concept).  You can use state and U.S. road maps.
If the speed limit is 55miles the entire trip how many hours would one way be?  How many miles would a round trip be?   If you only want to drive for four hours how many miles would that be and where would you stop?  If you do that every day how many days to get to the destination. 
Plane trips     Use an atlas to find the distance to countries, Check the internet to see how long it takes for a passenger plane to fly, to the county, and again back.  How about country to country?  How about going around the world.  


What is the longest river, next longest, etc, and list by length, and do the same if you can by the widest part of the rivers, and the narrowest part?  

What is the tallest mountain, the next in height, etc? List everything in order.  


Choose a mountain, river, country, state, vacation spot, do the above research and more, such as flora and fauna (good words to look up in an old fashioned dictionary)  and make a diorama, a travel brochure, an old fashioned boring report, a travel guide of places to visit in the selected area. 
Children can also research the native people, customs, clothing, and put that into their diorama, display, etc. 

Newspapers, Magazines:

I always had a stack of newspapers in my classroom.  It doesn't matter how old they were, as they were going to be cut up.

Of course, we always read the comics.  No brainer there.   For reading, the students would read an article, national, state or local, and circle any words they did not know.  Then off to the old-fashioned dictionaries to use guide words, etc (if you don't have one I guess you will have to go to the internet, but think what will your kids do if the internet ever crashes.  That gives us pause, doesn't it?
Later I ask some of the students to tell the rest of us what they read and if they learned any new words.  (comprehension and vocabulary building).

The advertisements were great for math.  If each student had X amount of money to spend what could they buy, would they get change, could they buy more than one thing?  If the add said three boxes of cookies for nine dollars and one box for $3.79 how much would they save if they bought three?
What should a buyer do if three loaves of bread were $12.00 and one loaf was $5.00 and the buyer thought he/she could not eat more than one and one-half loaves before the bread became stale and moldy?   Dilemma! 

There are many ways to teach cause and effect.  Start out with an egg on the floor.  It doesn't need to actually happen just a pretend situation if often enough.    What caused the egg to land on the floor?  What is the effect?  What causes the electric power to go out during a thunderstorm?  What is the effect?  And so on.

This blog is getting to be lengthy and I promised I would not burden people with long blogs.
So I will end it here but I will blog in another day or two about organizing the day and etc.  
One final thing before I go. Please, Please, whatever you do try to make the activities fun, or interesting.  And reward the children in some way.  A special treat, food, or activity,or game, etc.  
They're being home is not a punishment and they should not feel they are a burden.  Parents are stressed out and money is a concern but that is for adults not children to think about.  
If your children know about the financial problems you face, certainly it does not hurt to discuss it openly with older children but also reassure them that the family will stay together and all their friends are going through the same thing.  If there are cutbacks in the family's budget it is only for a while and it is a great and creative opportunity to find other ways of doing what needs to be done. 

Stay home, even the teens who love to be active.  Protect your family by not bringing the virus home on your skin or clothing.  God Bless and I'll blog soon.  Pat