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  • Writer's pictureKrista Price

School "Work" vs. Learning (Quarantine Day 8)

For what it's worth - from a teacher with certification in both Elementary & Secondary Education: Your kids don't need hours and hours of "school work". They need time, space, and freedom to LEARN. (I can't wait until the word WORK is taken out of LEARNING environments. 😡)

ENCOURAGE KIDS' NATURAL CURIOSITY...that's the very best way to learn - AND the natural way that learning occurs at all ages. It's how the "real world" works.

Here are some ideas off the top of my head for Elementary kids: (I'll try to put more thought into things later and expand the list.)

1.) Have your kids take a walk (in the woods, or whatever you have around you - while social distancing of course!) Tell them to be in search of one thing they want to come home and learn more about. This will have your child looking at the world around them with more curiosity...and will hopefully make them want to learn/research more....

2.) Have your kids find some time and space away from you to come up with three GREAT questions about the world they think you can't answer. (You'll be shocked by their questions.) Then ask them to use any resources they can think of (even beyond the internet) to try to "answer" their three great questions. (I actually use a similar technique in my H.S. classroom to spark discussion.)

3.) Give your kids unstructured time. I know we all want our kids on schedules right now to create a sense of normalcy, but make sure you leave afternoon unstructured time that DOESN'T include anything that "thinks" for them. No electronics. Back in my day, it was "go-outside-and-play" time. Incidentally, but not surprisingly, this was the time that my sister and I were MOST creative and inventive.

4.) Challenge your kids to come up with one invention in the next few weeks. Tell them that it can be anything at all, but that most inventions started out with a problem that somebody wanted to solve. Ask them to journal their process (the problem, their thoughts, their ideas, their different attempts at a solution, pictures of their "invention", etc.) along the way. Maybe even make it special, and give them an "Invention Journal". :)

5.) If you have woods or land around you, ask your child to take a walk and come back with five items (or photos of items) they think they already know a lot about. Then have them research and find at least 3 different things they didn't already know about that thing. (For example, did you know that pinecones have been a sacred symbol throughout history? I didn't.) Teach kids about credible sources during this little research project. For the "gifted and talented", have them create a presentation about their objects and research and FaceTime it with a grandparent or family friend. (Note: If you don't have woods or land around you, this same project can be done ANYWHERE...only curiosity is required.)

Whatever you do, use this time to foster LEARNING and not "WORK". This is a scary time for kids. Their brains need time to get out of the anxiety-enducing situation we're all in, and have the opportunity to sponge up the world around them - as they were created to do. (And they also need the health benefits of outdoors - let's not forget these basics.)

Wishing you all the best in these troubling times of opportunity.

If you try any of these with your kids, will you share your experience - good or bad? I would love to hear about what new things your kids are learning...

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