Being quarantined with two rambunctious little boys and a nursing ‘round the clock newborn has been equal parts wonderful and exhausting. The gift of togetherness has been such a blessing to us as we’ve transitioned to a family of five and learned our new normal along with the rest of the world.
For the first few weeks of quarantine, my two- and four-year-old didn't seem to notice too much how much life has changed recently. They randomly ask about our routine outings (COSI, the zoo, etc.) and their friends, but we've kept ourselves busy at home and with (short and loud) hiking trips. But as the weeks drag on, I can tell my people are starting to feel a difference in our daily lives, even if they can't articulate it. It's getting easier for them to slip in to a place of boredom and restlessness that gives way to some less pleasant behaviors.
It almost goes without saying, at this point, that we are living in unprecedented times. Even those of us who are accustomed to being "stay at home" parents are feeling the effects of mandatory stay-at-home orders. All of the (outside-the-home) activities that I enjoy doing with my children have been shut down. For many of us, this has undoubtedly created extra downtime and life space within our homes, for adults and littles alike.
I have to occasionally remind myself that boredom makes space for creativity, so it's okay to not entertain our kids every moment of every day. Letting them explore, make messes, and try something new greatly impacts there cognitive development, even if it's not explicitly "school" or academically-related. There are many everyday activities that, when we allow our kids to take part, will help them continue to develop those skills. Kids learn through playing and here are a few ways to help them learn in a fun way:
As a technology teacher to elementary students and mother of three, it is obvious to me that there has been a major shift in children and technology in recent years. The majority of children I know have constant access to screens of some kind: computers, tablets, and smartphones. This has created a whole new facet of parenting and education.
I am now finishing my 30th year of teaching and, wow, how the time has flown! I so clearly remember starting my current job as the “new kid on the block” all those years ago. I remember being overwhelmed with how much I had to learn. From the first day in the classroom, though, I knew that I was right where God wanted me to be, and I knew that I was going to love being there.
"I leave everyday because it’s better for our family: 2 to 3 weeks together at least?"
"But we had plans!"
"My family isn’t all together, do they come home?"
"Do they come over?"
"It can’t be that big a deal could it? Is it?"
Fear. Freak out. Preparedness. Problem solving. Financial stress.
We all handle unexpected circumstances and difficult moments in our own way.
The range of emotions and feelings will vary due to the place you are living in your family right now. Needs are different for all of us and how we accept, interpret and handle this time will look different as well.
Whether it's distance learning, a summer in which all group activities are cancelled, or just another day at home, your middle schooler likely has some spare time on their hands. What are some ways middle schoolers can stay engaged with learning in meaningful (and enjoyable) ways when they find themselves with "nothing to do"? Sure there are countless video games, movies and TV shows available at their fingertips, but what are some more constructive ways middle schoolers can use screen time for learning and growing? Below are some teacher-recommended ways to keep middle schoolers engaged:
I wish I could say I was a particularly spiritual child, but I wasn’t. In fact, I basically hated Sundays. It wasn’t the morning and evening church services I didn’t like—it was the in-between. My parents were quite strict about that time of the week: no play dates, no school work, no sporting events, no television, no eating out, required naps, etc. These Sabbath day practices felt unbearable to me. So as soon as I was old enough to make my own decisions, I dropped all of those Sabbath rules.
During his first inaugural speech, President Franklin Roosevelt shared with a Depression Era America, "...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." As a society, we are currently experiencing events that can foster a variety of fears. I would encourage all of us to look at the spirit of FDR's words and lean into his urging of not focusing on being fearful.
Amidst all of the difficult and heartbreaking things happening in our world today, there is a new, unique beauty emerging. And I believe there’s something we can all gain from it. I wonder if, perhaps, we will all be able to see the big picture a little more clearly in the future.
Parents, teachers, and students have had to make significant adjustments to a new normal in recent weeks. We are all feeling these adjustments in various ways: limited our out-of-home movement, restricted in-person social interaction, and endless cancelled activities and plans. And perhaps one of the biggest shifts is working and studying at home.
For students and parents trying to navigate changes in school work and instruction delivery, many of us are experiencing a whole new learning curve. Here are some tips to move us all toward success in distance and online learning...