March 19, 2020 - Like many of you across the nation, life was upended last week when I realized I was going to be homeschooling my child for the foreseeable future while balancing a work from home schedule. However, I felt lucky that my background as both an elementary school teacher and a high school administrator would make this task easy for me. Whoa, was I wrong!
On Friday night, I pulled up my 2nd grader’s school website, pulled out a large piece of poster board and set out to create a schedule. I also pulled up a few websites and social media groups that had great ideas for homeschooling. I was quickly overwhelmed by the variety of ideas, free resources, schedules and great tips. Where to start? What should I focus on? What is realistic given this unusual circumstance? How do I keep a routine while still being flexible? What about my own work and sanity?
Once I took a deep breath – and maybe had a glass of wine – I fell back on my education. My background in elementary education also told me that inquiry-based learning, literacy and numeracy (aka reading and math) were the most important tasks for young kids. I set out to create a flexible schedule that included lots of time for reading, writing, hands on math, and science-based lessons. I took inspiration for the tools I had in my home and suggest you do the same. For me - of course - Spark 101 was one of my inspirations.
While Spark 101 is mostly a middle school and high school resource, I utilized the video library to get inspiration. We are now on day 3 of home school and my favorite lesson so far came from our series of videos on water quality. Yesterday, my daughter and I went to a local meadow and took samples of water from different areas of the park. We took photos, made observations, and today will look at the samples under a microscope. It also turned into an impromptu art lesson as she started drawing what she saw after we stopped for a snack (we honored all social distancing rules and practiced appropriate hygiene!)
Finally, since I was overwhelmed by the resources available, I started sending this list of resources around to family and friends of young children that are the ones I found most useful and interesting for adults also. (We are not in any way compensated for promoting these)
· Mo Willems art classes -https://www.kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willems/
· Kennedy Center Digital Stage- https://www.kennedy-center.org/digitalstage/
· Cincinnati Zoo on Facebook- Home Safari Facebook Live @ 3pm ET- Highlights an animal with a lesson each day
· Galleries & Museums with Virtual Tours- https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours
· Scholastic- 20 days of lessons https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
· National Geographic Kids- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXVCgDuD_QCkI7gTKU7-tpg/featured
· Khan Academy Kids- https://learn.khanacademy.org/khan-academy-kids/
· Spanish Activities- https://universoabierto.org/
· Fairy Tales in Spanish- https://www.thespanishexperiment.com/stories
Please let our team know if you need any guidance putting Spark 101 to use as you navigate this new normal. We are here to help (and working with our own children right alongside you!)
For information on our downloadable digital guide, please click here!