10 Ways I’m Teaching My Kids at Home

Like many parents in metro Detroit, I'm teaching my kids home since coronavirus shut down our K-12 schools. Here's what I'm quickly learning on the fly.

Two young boys hugging each other

Thanks to COVID-19, I find myself in an unfamiliar spot — second-grade teacher. My 8-year-old twins will be out of school for a total of 30 days (yes, I’m counting).

When schools closed, I started planning right away to help keep this train on the tracks. The kids won’t be at desks for seven hours a day, but I do think they need structure.

Keep in mind, I’m not a professional. I have no clue what I’m doing, and I’m just trying to survive here in our home “school house” in St. Clair Shores. In sharing, I just want my plans to help you, inspire you and maybe even save a little sanity.

1. I created a daily schedule.

We’re waking up at the same time every day, getting dressed, having computer time, school time, creative time, outside time and more. Everyone will feel like there’s some control and, hopefully, getting back to school won’t be such a shock.

2. I thought about the week ahead.

The first week, we had St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of spring. At the library, I got some books and I made a plan. We had a tea party, read books about Ireland, leprechauns and spring. I also found free videos at the library to support my plans. But now that the libraries are closed, I’m going to research e-books and YouTube videos. Flexibility is going to be key here.

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3. I texted people I know.

Social distancing is important right now, so we’re trying to FaceTime people we know to learn from them. One person I know is an expert in nature. I offered to trade a writing or craft lesson for his kids, if he gives my kids a nature lesson. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have the kids make self-portraits of things they find in nature as well as a bird nest big enough to fit all of them.

4. I started a neighborhood post office.

Kids need to practice writing and still feel connected to their friends. So, I texted families I know in our neighborhood and asked if they wanted in on a neighborhood post office. The kids write letters or draw pictures to each other, create their own post mark and stamp and as we take our walks, we leave them in our friends’ mailboxes. No contact. Just letters.

5. I downloaded Libby and Overdrive.

Both are free apps that work with our local library. Just create an account, enter your library card number and POOF! You’re borrowing e-books, audio books and more — for free.

6. I’m taking on a foreign language.

The library had videos and books that are age-appropriate to introduce my kids to French, which I chose because I took five years of it, and I thought I’d enjoy the refresher as well. After watching the first video, I’m going to have to find a new source. I’m guessing YouTube to the rescue!

7. I started a Facebook group.

It houses all the links and pages offering freebies, virtual tours, live streams and more. It’s called Love in the Time of Corona. No one makes any money off this; it’s purely for information storage, so we don’t have to try to remember who posted that really cool-sounding project.

8. I’ve made a more conscious effort to save things I might need for a craft.

Usually, I just recycle everything. So, we’re going to use our scraps, things we find in nature and trash to make kites. Watching Mary Poppins or Mary Poppins Returns might be a nice companion activity. As long as we’re talking about flying things, we’ll probably Google paper airplane instructions and have a contest to see who can fold the best plane.

9. We’re throwing eggs — maybe.

Remember building a contraption in school that kept an egg safe when dropped from a roof? We’re going to do that. I have toilet paper tubes, boxes, bubble wrap, tape and yarn. The plan is to show the kids a video of the project, then have them draw a plan for theirs. Once they have their plan, they create the contraption following their plan. However, since eggs are a commodity, I’ll probably switch to water balloons.

10. Other ideas I’m working on …

So far, these include filling out our 2020 census form together and drawing on our friends’ sidewalks with chalk to let them know we’re thinking of them.

That’s how I’m getting started. I’m sure it will all change and could possibly go up in a ball of flames, but I’m gonna give it a go.

What are you doing to teach your kids from home? Please share in the comments!