Things are getting a bit serious now aren’t they? With each day that passes the Covid-19 pandemic gets more and more like the plot of a movie.
All schools here in Spain are now closed due to coronavirus, and bars, restaurants and clubs also have to close from midnight tonight until further notice. The Spanish Prime Minster has declared a state of emergency in Spain and it’s thought that tomorrow he will say that we all have to stay home for the next two weeks.
If you have kids off school…what on earth are we going to do with them for a few weeks?!
We’re very lucky that we both work from home, so we don’t need to beg bosses for time off or try to find childcare, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. I’ve never had any desires to homeschool my child, I definitely don’t have the patience for it, but it seems we’re going to be thrown in at the deep end for a while.
I’ve been doing some research online and putting a plan together for the next few weeks. My main aims are that Little H is kept occupied, using her brain, and not glued to screens. We also need to be able to be left to get on with our work without feeling like we’re neglecting her.
If you’re in the same situation, and I think most people will be at some point in the coming weeks, I thought I would share my ideas in the hope it may save you some hassle. I’ll also add my checklist of activities to the bottom of the post in case you want to use it.
So, if your kids’ school is closed due to coronavirus and you’re going to have to homeschool for a few weeks. Here are some things to think about when putting a plan together for activities for kids to do at home when school is closed…
Think about what they enjoy
Getting children to do homework once or twice a week is bad enough (it’s actually my most dreaded task lately!) so the thought of several weeks of trying to get your kids to do schoolwork doesn’t sound like much fun.
To make it easier on everyone involved, have a think about what your children like doing. For example, Little H will sit and draw pictures for hours and she loves anything involving art and crafts. Educational activities don’t have to be all about books and writing, you could get your kids to sit and paint a picture or make a model of something they’re learning about at school.
If your child loves Lego, you could ask them to research something like a building or a vehicle and get them to make it out of Lego based on the information they’ve found out.
Maybe you have a little bookworm? If so, letting them sit an read their favourite book for an hour or two while you work is no bad thing. A trip to the library or bookshop while they’re still open could be a good move.
Use resources that already exist
There’s no need to start creating your own worksheets as there are so many free resources you can find online that have already been created by experts. Being able to print out some sheets will save lots of time and allow you to get on with your work.
Twinkl is a great resource, we’ve used it many times and the printables are always both fun and educational. The website follows the UK curriculum so you can pick your child’s key stage and find appropriate worksheets. For some parts you do need a subscription, but for a short period of homeschooling you’ll find plenty of free downloads.
Workbooks are also a great idea, we use them for learning Spanish and if you pick the right ones they have lots fun activities such as crosswords, wordsearches, and spot the difference.
You might want to keep your kids away from screens while they are off school, but if you don’t mind using them for educational resources then there are lots of good apps you can download. We use Maths Rockx for learning times tables which is a great app that uses well known pop songs to teach the tables. I think it was £9.99 to download but it is worth the money.
Let them choose
Kids hate being told what to do and as parents we all know that if they can make some decisions themselves it makes our lives a lot easier. Create a list of activities so you can give them several pre-approved options to choose from. This way they might be more likely to sit down and complete an activity than if you tell them to do it.
They think they’ve chosen what they do, and you know they’ve just picked something off your list. Everybody wins!
Kids need to get fresh air and run around so I think it’s important that they can still go outside even if you have to stay home. Include some activities in your plan that can be done outdoors.
If you have a garden could they hunt for bugs or collect leaves? They could then come back inside later to look their finds up in a book or online. With no PE lessons you could create an obstacle course outside for them to complete to make sure they burn off some of their energy.
If it’s not too cold, painting outside is also a good idea and it has the added bonus of keeping the mess out of the house!
With these things in mind, plus what I know Little H needs to focus on, I created my own checklist. She will be able to choose what activities she wants to do from the list and there’s plenty to keep her busy while school is closed due to coronavirus.
I’ve also created a PDF version that you can download here if you want to use it yourself, or use as inspiration for your own list.
If you find yourself homeschooling due to coronavirus, good luck and let’s hope the kids are back to school before we know it!