Last week I tackled the topic about helping children learn during a COVID lockdown.
The general gist of the article was to offer some moral support to parents during what has been deemed by many as a challenging time.
A key takeaway message was that parents should do the best they can with the tasks at hand and look for ways to help their children learn that doesn't cause too much stress for anyone.
However, it occurred to me that such advise would be much easier to swallow if a few simple ideas for fun learning opportunities were offered.
Needless to say this week's Mum's the Word aims to provide some practical ideas for the many parents and their children who are struggling with the current learning from home expectations.
For the record this is not intended to supersede what is provided by teachers. These are simply a few suggestion for those parents worried about their child slipping through the cracks in a very different learning environment to what we have all been used to. It is also about giving parents a little perspective on just how much they contribute every day, in many ways, to the development of their children.
While I am not a teacher, and am not currently burdened with having to help my children learn from home, I note that every parent is helping their children to learn every day, often without realising it.
In general I hope these simple ideas will be a boost to the confidence of parents and an enjoyable experience for all. Why not try some of these suggestions:
- Have you ever played a board game with your child? So many of these fun family activities also promote learning. Monopoly is a game that quickly springs to mind. Maths and life skills such as budgeting are at the forefront of such learning.
This game was a favourite with my oldest daughter - I think she developed some skills for becoming a savvy businessperson, or at the very least some great management skills. For the record, she always seemed to win.
Card games such as memory are also great options to keep the mind active.
- Cooking offers several learning opportunities including maths (measurements), English (reading and understanding recipe methods) and again, life skills.
The good news is that this fun task should also result in some tasty treats to eat...or maybe your child could prepare the evening meal.
- Creating a vegetable garden is something done in many schools as part of the curriculum. If it is good for learning at school then surely it is a great learning opportunity at home as well.
This is a chance for children to learn about nutrition and life skills. However the best news with the home gardening project is that you don't have to share the fresh produce you grow with everyone else in the class.
- Get them to create their own story book with words and pictures. This was something my children loved to do. You could even turn this project into an adventure that provides exercise and fresh air, inspires the imagination and prompts the opportunity to learn more about a place, some wildlife or the experience in general.
Maybe you could head out on a hike, a bush walk or a ride around the neighbourhood. Then get your children to tell their story about the adventure, the animals and plants they saw, the birds they heard, their favourite part of the adventure and so on. Some illustrations to sell the story would complete this project.
You could even suggest they include some facts about something they saw such as a duck on a pond. This could involve a little research - maybe to find out what ducks like to eat, how long they live, how many different species there are for example. Of course this would be dependent on the age of a child.
In the first COVID lockdown from March 2020 I was impressed to see a youngster pedalling a billie cart while the rest of his family were on a walk. The thing that drew my attention was that he was also reading a book at the same time. Now that is multi tasking!
- And of course crafts are always a great learning option. Getting creative is great for the imagination and developing creative skills. Such creative activities could also include needlework projects ideal for fine motor skills and life skills in general. I'm not a talent when it comes to needlework but I have been grateful to have enough skills to take up a hem, repair stitching or sew on a button from time to time.
Mumma Jak has three children and is familiar with the challenges of parenthood. She is well aware that every child is different, every day can be different and a parent's approach needs to be different according to the situation at hand. She is happy to say she fumbled through, motivated from the perfect starting point - unconditional love. The good news is that all three of her children have become normal functioning adults.