As the world adapts to a new normal, families across the United State are attempting to balance working from home with still providing an education to their children. Schools and businesses across the country are closed in efforts to combat the COVID-19 virus, leaving millions of school-age children without their normal schoolwork — and many of their parents adjusting to carrying out their own work at home.
“These are challenging times,” said Kathleen Allen, a retired school teacher of 29 years. “It is important for parents to interact with their children during this time at home together and listen to their concerns about the virus. Parents also need to let kids learn to entertain themselves with fun learning activities or things that promote physical activity. We need to help our children use this time doing healthy activities other than just playing video games or using their phones all day. For example, this is a great time for high school students to take online college classes and get a jumpstart on their college careers.”
For high schoolers, Mid-America Christian University (MACU) offers online concurrent classes that allow teens to get a jump on their general education courses for just $175 per class. With classes beginning in April, this allows juniors and seniors a top quality learning experience that will save them money and time on their college degree.
You can learn more about MACU’s concurrent program here: www.macu.edu/student-life/concurrent/
To help families during this difficult time of transition, MACU has compiled a list of resources that may be helpful to parents whose children are out of school. Below, you will find links to online lessons, crafts, physical activities and more to help keep your child active, entertained and learning from the safety of your home.
Audible: A part of Amazon, Audible is a leader in audible books. They are offering free streaming of stories on desktops, laptops, tablets or phones. They say “As long as schools are closed, we’re open.” This is a great way to keep your children reading.
BrainPOP: With many schools throughout the world closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, BrainPOP is now offering free, unrestricted access to their extensive library of STEM and history videos, projects, quizzes and more.
Duolingo: Duolingo is a great resource for children of all ages and their parents, too! With Duolingo, you can learn a new language in short, immersive lessons. The program is free and can be accessed on a computer, smartphone or tablet. Duolingo recently created a guide for parent-educators to help make the most of their child’s time at home!
Khan Academy: Khan Academy has been a household name for many families for over a decade now. With courses spanning dozens of topics for every age range, this is an excellent free resource for every type of student. The nonprofit has even put together a great schedule for different age groups, which may be helpful to parents who find themselves homeschooling for the first time!
Minecraft Education Edition: The popular video game Minecraft can be used for educational purposes, too! Minecraft Education Edition is a game-based learning platform that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive digital environment. This is especially great for kiddos who enjoy STEM topics like coding, math and problem-solving.
When you’re stuck at home, it’s more important than ever to promote physical activity with your children. Take a few 30-minute breaks throughout the day for some outside play, if the weather permits. For cold and rainy days, consider some of these online and indoor resources:
Just Dance: Many families may already have a copy of this popular dance game at home. Available for many gaming systems, Just Dance is a fun way to exercise and is great for children and adults alike. The latest version, Just Dance 2020, incorporates its own Kids Mode with family-friendly songs for younger players.
Yoga With Adriene: Adriene Mishler is a yoga instructor based out of Austin, Texas with a wildly successful YouTube channel where she uploads new lessons each Sunday. She offers several great yoga practices specifically aimed at children, including Rainbow Yoga, Yoga for the Classroom and Yoga for Kids.
Who says you can’t have a field trip at home? Several zoos and museums have webcams and digital tours available, including Monterey Bay Aquarium, the San Diego Zoo and the Houston Zoo. Our own Oklahoma City Zoo has announced they will be conducting Facebook Lives on Thursdays featuring zookeepers.
Arts, Crafts and Projects
Academics are important, but so is some much-needed creative time away from the screen. You may already have tried-and-true favorites at home, but consider these additional activities for your children:
Macaron Kit: If you have any aspiring bakers at home, Belle Kitchen in Oklahoma City has put together an at-home kit for making gourmet macarons! The kit can either be shipped to you or picked up curbside in OKC.
Printables for Kids: Education.com has a great selection of crafts and activity sheets that don’t require anything more than your printer!
It goes without saying that it’s going to take some trial and error to find what works best for you and your family right now. If you’re balancing your own work at home while your children are at home learning, realize that things aren’t going to be perfect. Distractions and disruptions are inevitable, but remember: we’re all in this together.
Communication is essential. Let your boss know that your son or daughter might walk in during video meetings and discuss the day ahead with your spouse if you’re both working at home. Most importantly, openly communicate with your children. Share with them about your job, let them see you attending school if you are taking online classes, engage with them in their schoolwork and listen to their concerns about the coronavirus and our temporary new normal.
These times are unprecedented, but we can make the most of them!