It’s a strange new world we're in. There’s lots of information (and misinformation), confusion and uncertainty. The loss of profit and wages, the loss of jobs, the closure of businesses - some indefinitely. And amongst all that, the stress associated with the panic buying of essentials, leaving a lot of us short our weekly groceries and without basic necessities.
NSW has just announced the shut down of non-essential services over the next 48hrs, with whispers that schools will be the next to follow. While the government’s current advice is that they are to remain open for the time being, this past week, along with many others, we made the conscious decision that as a family, we will do our part in flattening the curve, helping to reduce the spread and/or the risk of being exposed to COVID-19.
This has meant self-isolation as much as possible and we have withdrawn our kids from school and extra-curricular activities until further notice - predominately due to the fact that all three are severe asthmatics, making them particularly susceptible to complications should any of them catch the virus.
HOMESCHOOL - WHERE DO I START?!
Now I know I am incredibly fortunate to be in a position to have choices when so many others do not, and to be a part of a wonderfully understanding school community that is supporting families who have made this decision by offering online lessons and resources. But schooling them from home is an incredibly daunting concept!
The juggle between the different ages and capabilities - do I teach them together? Separately? And how? What about the toddler? The house? My business? And my partner who also works from home? A struggle I know I'm not alone in, and that may very well be ahead for many others, either through personal choice or by government orders. It would be an understatement to say that it's incredibly overwhelming, even to the coolest of cucumbers (which I am not).
I’ve always said it takes a special type of person to teach and that is, again, 100% not me. So I called one of the best teachers I know - my little sister - and she armed me with sage advice and pointed me in the direction of some amazing resources that have helped make learning from home a little easier for both the kids and me.
Whether you have decided to keep your babes home, the schools officially close or you are just looking for some activities to supplement your child's learning down the track, I hope this shortlist of some of my favourite educational apps and resources can provide you with a place to start. Aimed predominantly at K-6, these websites have helped me over the past few days, reducing some of the overwhelm that you would expect to experience in a time like this.
EDUCATION SITES & RESOURCES I'M LOVING
READING EGGS - Reading and Literacy. Comes with a 30 day free trial and Mathseeds subscription.
TWINKL - Covers Australian school curriculum up to yr6. Comes with a 30 day free trial, use code: CVDTWINKLHELPS
DREAMBOX - Mathematics, K-8. Comes with a 90 day free trial if you sign up before 30th April.
3P LEARNING - Online learning resources covering mathematics, spelling, literacy and science for both primary and secondary students. Comes with a 30 day free trial.
TEACHSTARTER - Free resources, unit and lesson plans. Free weekly 'Learning from Home' packs for K-6. One month free access to Plus if you sign up before March 31st.
A lot of these sites are now providing free trials and resources, especially designed for parents teaching lessons from home in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting worldwide school closures. Do you have another to add to the list? Pop a comment below to share with others during this time.LITERACY AND NUMERACY TIPS TO HELP YOUR CHILD EVERY DAY
HOW TO TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT CORONAVIRUS - via @mindheart.kids
BRING IT BACK TO BASICS
All of this aside, remember that it's important to remain calm and take each day as it comes. That it is ok to make decisions based on what is best for your family. And above all, what the world really needs is kindness. Practise it with others and practise it with yourself. If it all gets too much, bring it back to basics - cuddle up and take turns reading books, watch documentaries. Do a puzzle. Bake, paint, play. Go for a walk or set up an obstacle course in your back yard. Just enjoy spending time together because even uncertain times can have a silver lining and your kids may look back and remember these days as being some of their favourites.