We are starting to see a trickle of schools and daycares closing due to Coronavirus across NSW and VIC, with others on edge waiting for further advise from the Department of Education and relevant Government Departments. Having two children of my own, I have see first hand the panic and uncertainty that parents are feeling, especially those parents who work in the healthcare industry. Many are already choosing to self isolate, others are waiting anxiously for further advice. This week is the prefect time to take a breath and get organised, should school closures start to increase.
How am I going to juggle a Toddler, Homeschooling and Work?
This is the main question that we have been hearing, and it is a valid concern. Rest assured that schools and Principals across Australia are working on innovative ways to offer classes online through video programs such as Zoom, via email, blogs and take home packs. From feedback on school closures overseas, it is “school as usual”. The kids are not on holidays, lounging around watching Netflix all day, they are expected to complete the designated work assigned to them in a flexible manner at home. Some schools have already started using this in Australia and it has been working well.
There are so many amazing educational resources online that you can use to keep the kids busy, whether it be online programs or printables.
If you are trying to juggle homeschooling with working from home or just simply need a break during the day, Audible is a great “screen free alternative”. Designate a time each day for the kids to listen to an Audiobook. There are so many options available online and reasonably priced 3 month trial starting from $8 per month. Best of all you can swap the book once you are done listening to it.
It is also a time that we can learn a lot from the Homeschooler Community. Some of my favourite homeschool bloggers are 1+1+1=1, Confessions of a Homeschooler and the Moffat Girls. They offer some great FREE and paid resources. Another great website is Teachers Pay Teachers, offering lots of printables which have been prepared by teachers for teachers.
It is the perfect time to focus on what your children love and enjoy. Whether it be music, STEM, cooking, art, gardening or sport…..this can be incorporated into your day.
How can I prepare for possible School Closures at home?
Apart from the general stocking of food (I think most people are all over that by now, looking at the empty shelves at Woolworths, Coles, IGA and Aldi, you can try and get organised in terms of stationary that you may need, arts and crafts, tonors for your printers and other learning supplies.
Plan out your day
Try and keep as much routine as possible and remind the kids that they aren’t on school holidays (yet). A visual chart is a great idea so that the kids know how the day is planned out. Schedule in some fun activities based on their current interests.
Homeschool doesn’t need to be the same as regular school. Yes you will need to factor in time for Literacy (Reading, Writing, Spelling), Maths and HASS. Some families enjoy adding in creative subjects Art, Music and STEM, plus lots of time for sport and active activities. Your kids don’t have to be sitting at the table by 9 am, nor do they need to have a full 40 mins on one subject. As you are working with the kids one on one, lessons go a quite a bit faster. Take some time to find a routine that works for you and your family.
The afternoon could be spend doing something they enjoy, listening to audio books, playing board games, pretend play, reading, cooking, outdoor play, writing emails or letters to friends or family (You can always take a photo and email it), online learning etc.
Subscriptions and Online Resources
Literacy, Reading and Audio Books
Ready to Read on Demand – FREE Trial available. Designed for 3-5 year old kids. Unlimited access to 26 lessons taught by a accredited Ready to Read Teacher.
Scholastic – Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin!
Kinderling Radio‘s FREE app offer loads of audio stories, music and more
Fact Detectives – Free Podcast with lots of facts for curious minds
National Geographic Online – Find engaging and curriculum-led teaching ideas and accompanying resource sheets aligned with the National Curriculum and the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. Resources are pupil-focused and interdisciplinary, supporting core subjects like English, Maths and Science as well as the wider curriculum with resources for Geography, History, Art and Culture.
This NASA initiative covers a wide range of topics including weather, climate, atmosphere, water, energy, plants, and animals.
Innerbody explores the 11 bodily systems in depth. With interactive models and detailed explanations, this website will help them learn more about the internal mechanics of the amazing human body.
Cross Curriculum Programs
Teach Starter offer a collection of age-appropriate, Kindy/Prep/Pre-Primary teaching resources and activities for parents to use with their children. This teaching resource pack has been handpicked by the Teach Starter team to include a range of resources that can be completed at home by children with the assistance of their parents or guardians. The pack includes resources covering the key learning areas of English, Maths and Science, along with some additional craft and mindfulness activities – all for free!
Below are some wonderful and creative art and craft activities for toddler right through to high school aged kids.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Williams – Join Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence at Home with his LUNCH DOODLES. Mo welcomes you into his studio at home and guides you through drawing activities using one of his favourite characters as inspiration.
Kids Think Design explores careers in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, book design, product design, film and theatre, architecture, animation, and environmental design.
Tune in to Kinderling Radio
Thanks to our friends at Helen O’Grady Drama Academy, we have put together some fantastic pretend play ideas to keep the littlest family members busy at home. Read more here
The San Diego Zoo has a website just for kids with amazing videos, activities, and games. Enjoy the tour!
This iconic museum located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.
No need to travel to one of the Smithsonian’s zoos or museums — this website brings your child everything from live video of the National Zoo to the Smithsonian Learning Lab right to their screen
Keeping the kids up and active is important. Some families are lucky and may have large backyards, others who live in apartments will need to get a bit more creative if you are required to stay home.
Go Noodle – Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts.
Fine and Gross Motor Skills Activities
The Toolbox – At home OT, PT, and ST resources designed to build skills in children through movement and play.