Like many Mami’s out there, I’m now a member of the homeschooling club. Which means my kiddo and I survived our first week, not sure how but we did. I’m going to be honest with you, when this first started, I didn’t take the homeschooling part too seriously. What? Don’t give me that look, the schools announced they would be closed for two weeks. My kid is in preschool, he goes to school for three hours a day. Again, not that big of a deal, right? I even rolled my eyes when the school sent home a huge ass packet-I’m like “How much tracing are we gonna do?”
By the first week, we were just doing the tracing and some coloring. He was bored and God Almighty, I was dying. Second week, I realized whatever we were doing was not benefiting either of us. I mean, how much tracing can a kid do? Especially when it’s his name?
Then I got the message, this was going longer. Shit. Things just got real. I was advised to go to the school and pick up a tablet and some more homework. Okay, you guys the packet got even bigger and it had more tracing! I just can’t. I. Just. Can’t. Nope. No. No (in Spanish).
A zoom conference was planned for Sunday night. Why? I mean, we are in preschool, not high school. I know some mothers out there are rolling their eyes and saying “…that child is definitely going to Junior College.” Well, let me tell you Becky, that’s kind of the plan. Junior college first, fuck around as much as you want, and then get serious and then let’s get to them Ivory Tower colleges. 2 years of school loans? Score!
Now back to my kid, the one who I’m raising as a kid. Now let me tell you, zoom call-fail. I don’t think the teacher has much experience with it, so things were not provided in a timely manner, such as passwords or new call codes. I gave up, but we ended up having a great FaceTime show and tell with one of my kids Tia’s. Her and my kiddo went through every vegetable in her fridge and item in her pantry. I call that a plus!
In short, it took the teacher two days to tell me what was covered in the zoom call. I was upset by this, I mean I dialed in so I’m invested. Then I started thinking about our Literacy Campaign when I worked in a Community Foundation. Year after year the focus was on the Summer Slide. Why? Because it is a teachers biggest challenge: “…kids lose significant knowledge in reading and math over summer break, which tends to have a snowball effect as they experience subsequent skill loss each year.” Ashley Austrey . This really got me thinking, my kiddo has really come a long way, you can see where we started in my Preschool Post. He was not socializing with other children and had a speech delay. He now has a best friend in school who he can’t wait to see again. He not only talks (a lot) now, but he also sings. We’ve come a long way.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond recently released a letter in which he advised Superintendents to plan a distance learning program for a longer period of time, as the students might not be able to return to school until Fall. At that moment I asked myself “Is he going to be behind or ready for kindergarten?” I got up early and began working on my powerpoint presentation on the letter A.
There’s 26 letters, that’s one letter a day, with some free days to go over numbers, shapes, art, and other activities. I include words and activities in Spanish. He went from solely speaking Spanish, to preferring to speak English and simply using his Spanish for when he feels ignored. “Mami te estoy hablando!” I include videos of animals, insects and transportation or construction vehicles that include the letter of the day. It works, he’s engaged. I also look up worksheets and activities with the letter of the day. I include other worksheets for counting and matching. We also trace his name. That’s to keep the teacher happy. We also read and work in the garden.
We do three hours of this, I try to keep him on the same school schedule. With some flexibility, of course. However, if we do start later, we will still do three hours. It just means he has less play time outside.
Now don’t get me wrong, we still have screen time. I mean, let’s be honest. I’ve just switched things up a bit. I was able to get ABC Mouse for him, this comes with 8 free other apps and one of them is a zoo one. My kid loves learning anything and everything about animals, insects, and you guessed it anything that has an engine in it. So, we do about an hour of that. I get him to do the lesson plan for a bit and then I let him jump into the other activities. PBS Kids is also a great resource, my kid is hooked on the Wild Kratts (or Kratts Brothers as he calls them), so he’ll ask me to watch it. He will sit there and watch a few episodes and then rush to any adult available (or not available) and share all the cool things he learned. Amazon also has a lot of PBS shows available for free, maybe one or two seasons then you have to pay for more seasons.
My bff gave me an old iPad last year and I was able to download all of these apps on there. We call this iPad his “learning tata” (tata = tablet), he has his other “tata” which he uses to see his favorite YouTube Channels. He knows the logo and would have no problem exiting from one app to the next, so I decided to keep them separate.
This seems to be working for us. It keeps him busy and the other adults in the house sane, including me. It keeps us on a schedule and provides us both with a routine.
You guys, I’m surprised at my patience. I really am. I mean, really-really surprised. However, I’m not changing my career anytime soon. I’ll leave the teaching to the professionals. Luckily my kid is just in preschool, my hats off to those of you with older kids. I know that might be more challenging. I can give my kid a box and he’s entertained for the rest of the day.
Now this week, is Spring Break the teacher didn’t leave any activities. However, I’m not sure I want to give my kid this week off. We just got into a routine, I don’t want to mess with that. But I also wouldn’t mind doing a little less. Ugh, not sure what to do. Especially with rain in the forecast, so no outdoors. We are Latinos, the elders will have a heart attack if I take him out in the rain.
I planned for this though, I went out and bought some new coloring books, new games, activities, and a huge construction site puzzle for his age group. I’m sure we will also be watching some National Geographic, which we both enjoy. Oh yea, we are also going to be baking some cookies. That might be stressful, as I know I will have to keep him from eating the chocolate chips.
I’ll keep you posted.
Good luck and please share any activities or fun things you are doing with your kiddos during this time.
PS: Since, some of you might be wondering what the teacher’s assignment was for the week, I’ll tell you. Ready? Like really ready? Tracing! Trace his name every day, read “Groovy Buttons” and draw a picture with a focus on the number 4. I know repetition is vital, but…I just…
Here are some of the resources I’m using:
- Play and Learn for fun Printable Letter crafts.
- Education.com has a lot of fun worksheets for all ages and all subjects
- ABCMouse.com also has worksheets that you can print out
- Pinterest also works…for fun activities and worksheets
- Crazy Little Projects…I downloaded a free alphabet bingo for my nugget which the whole family will enjoy