With schools closed across the country, many parents are relying on technology and Zoom to create a classroom experience in their homes; however, online teaching can be very dull for kids unless there is an imaginative approach.
For parents who homeschool, learning has always been a fulfilling way to pass wisdom and knowledge to children. Schools have codified that knowledge to deliver a K-12 curriculum, but that does not mean that learning in the modern age has to be dull or rote.
First of all, make sure your children have plenty of paper, pencils, crayons, and other creative materials in your house. Being able to tape together sequential drawings or photographs, or paperclip them for publication is as fun and expansive as finding ideas for writing. You do not need to have a computer or tablet to uncover your child’s inner student.
Second of all, learning is about discovery. That means kids want to understand something new after they write, draw, enumerate, or experiment. For example, you could spend a whole week on constellations by tracing them, naming them, rewriting the stories of the myths they represent, calculating the travel distance of light, or making models of the solar system. As your child undertakes the task of modeling or computing distances, they can record or write down the story of their discoveries. This provides a theme for the week.
Finally, have kids write down what they learned on Post-it Notes using sentence stems like “I never knew…” or “One thing I learned…” to articulate their new understanding.
By focusing on discovery and new understandings of subjects, you as a parent will also learn a great deal. Often as adults we have forgotten foundational concepts in math, science, literature, and writing; therefore, you find delight in sharing your children’s newfound knowledge.
Peg Regan is the former principal of MVRHS, continues to teach at Cape Cod Community College, and created the Master Teacher Institute.