So Your Child’s Home Again: Homework That’s Fun Work

Can your child improve their ability to learn even though they are out of school during a preventative and temporary virus outbreak?

Yes, they sure can! Learning during a pandemic may look a little different, but the brain keeps learning! In fact, time away from school can provide some ideal opportunities to work on foundational skills.

With a change in routine from the daily classroom structure of reading, writing and mathematics, you can improve your child’s learning readiness in ways that feel like play.

Children can have difficulty taking turns and sequencing, reasoning, and independently problem‑solving. They can be helped by putting away books, pencils and paper. All of us benefit from physical movement to facilitate our effective thinking. Creating playful learning exercises is often more beneficial at home than added homework. Children do PE at school for this very reason. Educators know that movement and physical activity sharpens the mind of all children.

Purposeful play for the younger child needs to be considered. This can be practice time and it doesn’t always have to be perfecting time, “No, hands together. No, make your elbows do this,” has its time and place. Just not always.

Children are capable of showing you when they are ready by watching their play. Games with rules for the older children will be needed and the timing of this will become clear to you when your child disputes a portion of something they’ve been asked to do. If their words or tone suggest,” it’s not fair,” then they are ready for games with more complex steps. New games with rules, need to be considered.

Everyone benefits from changing their posture every few minutes. Larger exercises can be performed to help re-charge thinking for children and adults alike. When planning the exercises, it is best if they can tap into a broad range of the child’s sensory system.

Try these ideas teachers and students have shown us that stimulate problem-solving and focus, once back in the classroom:  

Exercises for left/right brain connections:

  • Summersaults
  • Swinging
  • Wobble boards
  • Rolling on the floor or down a hill
  • Crawling
  • Yoga
  • Martial arts
  • Swimming
  • Horseback riding
  • Balancing on an exercise ball.

Exercises for the kinetic system and motion connection:

  • Marching with pounding feet
  • Pretending to be in a marching band or be a toy soldier with feet and arms coordinated
  • Helping with heavy chores
  • Washing the car, raking or sweeping, vacuuming are good examples
  • Wall, chair or floor pushups

Start small and slow, they aren’t trying out for the Olympics.

It’s like a needed re-charge moment when you see your child stuck or unproductive in their thinking. As their helpful parent, think of a brief activity that will Involve all their senses. Then get them moving, dancing, clapping, and then back to the family movie, the homework, or the long car drive. When it comes to deskwork, try “Re-start” steps listed here:

Turns out fun and games are an important part of home learning. Enjoy your days with your young learners at home. The pandemic is not forever, it’s just for now.

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