Children are now at home for the foreseeable future. What does that mean about at home learning, especially while parents are also trying to work?
One idea that can help everyone is Accomplishment Charts.
We’re only a few days into this, and we’ve already seen a lot of schedules posted about how to do at home learning with our kids. But for some families, many of those schedules feel overwhelming, and too rigid.
It may seem like a small difference, but for many students, having the autonomy to choose their activities and when they will do them is huge.
That’s why I like Accomplishment Charts. (Did you miss the background about Accomplishments, Autonomy, and Learning Styles? Read At Home Learning.)
I typically ask readers to join my mailing list to receive my free materials. But then, I typically post about crafting. And there is nothing typical about this time in which we are living.
If you are so inclined, I would love to have you on my mailing list. If not, that’s okay too; my charts are here for you. I hope they help as we all try to navigate these uncharted waters.
Morning Chart – this chart gives children a guide to follow in the morning.
Accomplishment chart – this chart gives students a list of tasks while giving them the freedom to do the activities when they choose.
Chores – this is a list of chores for children to help around the house.
Bedtime Checklist – this chart guides children through getting ready for bed.
These charts are tailored to my family’s needs. Take what works for you and leave what doesn’t. Below are some blank (or almost blank) charts for your family’s needs.
To supplement the Accomplishments Chart, visit At Home Learning for some online educational activity ideas.
Note: If you have a laminator, these charts can become reusable. The Lazy Crafting solution if you don’t have a laminator is clear packing tape. Cut pieces of tape the size of your paper and lay them carefully across the paper (so you don’t get wrinkles). You can write on the clear packing tape with a dry erase marker or washable marker. Just be careful, the marker will wipe off very easily, so if a child is carrying the paper around, they might accidentally wipe off marks.
Notes About Accomplishment Charts
Reading can be anything. Newspaper, magazine, nonfiction, fiction, graphic novels, picture books, chapter books. Seriously, anything. Reading matters.
Audio books also count as reading. Ideally, find an audio book that matches a book you already own. Then while listening to the audio, your child can turn pages and follow along. Many libraries offer audio downloads free with your library card.
Writing journals can be about anything. Write your thoughts, feeling, ideas. Write a story.
For kids who struggle to get started, give them writing prompts.
- Imagine you meet a unicorn.
- If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
- If you had a superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it?
My kids love “And then” prompts at school. Their teacher would read the beginning of a story that set up some kind of action. “And then…” the student would write the rest of the story. (Google “and then writing prompts.” There are tons of results.)
Or do a combined writing where one person writes a sentence. Then the next person writes another sentence and so on until you have a story. This usually produces a silly, fun result.
Again, anything counts. The goal is to keep up their skills. And if you are really struggling, I always think gratitude is the place to start. Write 3 things you are grateful for.
There are various ways to tackle math.
- Daily Math Problems like Mathopolis and Bedtime Math.
- Cooking which includes measuring ingredients. You can also practice addition and subtraction if you double a recipe or cut a recipe in half.
- Shopping (online or virtual shopping right now) helps teach percentages through sales and figuring out tax.
- Crafting/building/sewing requires measuring, adding, and subtracting.
Math really is everywhere.
This is my favorite topic. I wish schools could have art every day. Kids are creative, even if they don’t think they are. Give them some recycled materials and let them go.
If a child is stuck, some prompts like create something that makes noise or draw something you wish existed in real life.
Do a cooperative drawing where one person draws a head, then you fold the paper to hide it and the next person draws a body, fold again and the next person draws legs. Then you unfold and see the combined creature. Again, this is usually a fun, silly result.
Remember, art is not about perfection, it’s about expression. There is no right or wrong.
This can also be anything. Is your child interested in video games? Have them pick one to read about. Who invented it? How? When did it become popular? How many people play it? Etc.
Is your child upset that your vacation got canceled? Have them research the location and plan activities for a time when you can reschedule the trip.
Do this for any topic. Animals, hobbies, space, books, famous people, history, travel, geography, geology. There is no limit. Any topic that gets your child engaged will create an opportunity to learn.
Guiding them toward a presentation will also provide them with wonderful skills. Use Google Slides or make a Prezi. If you can convince them to present it to the family, they will gain great speech skills. They can even film it to share with their teacher, friends, or family.
If they are reluctant to do something formal, casually discuss their results over dinner. Hopefully they will be excited enough about the topic to share what they have learned.
At Home Learning Highlights
I would like to point out a few things that I think are important during this at home learning time. (This is for adults, as well as children.)
It’s easy to fall off our normal routines, but some things must be a priority. Taking care of our bodies is one.
Everyone needs at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Do what works for you. Ideally get outside every day for a walk around the block, around the house/apartment building, or to a park.
If you can’t get outside, walk in your house or apartment. Even if it is small, you can do it. Set a timer, play some music, and walk from wall to wall until 30 minutes is up.
Or dance for 30 minutes. Or do push-ups or sit ups or jumping jacks or running in place. Anything physical. Get your body moving every day.
If you’re up for coached workouts, there are countless online resources for exercise, including YouTube.
Personally, I subscribe to Centr. I joined last year and it has changed my life.
Find what works for you and your family and do it.
If your kids don’t already participate in keeping the household running, this is an ideal time to get them involved.
One of my downloads is a chore list. I cut these up and put them in a jar. The kids pull out 2 or 3 or 4 (depending on their age) and pitch in.
We all live here and the only way to keep the household running smoothly is if we all have a hand in it.
And yes, even young children can participate in chores. They can take their dishes to the sink after eating. Clean up their toys. Wipe down the table. (Sometimes we parents have to let go of things being done “perfectly” so that our kids can learn to help.)
I know this sounds crazy, but it is easy to lose track of this when you aren’t leaving your house.
My kids would go days without brushing their teeth, if I didn’t make them. And they would probably go weeks without showering. I’m not going to test that theory.
As an adult, if you’re used to going to the office, not having to dress up and do your hair and makeup might easily become never-ending pajamas and unwashed hair. Stay mindful of caring for your body.
We are all in this together. Physical social distancing doesn’t have to mean emotional distancing. Think of ways to help people, even from your home.
Perform acts of kindness for each other in the home. Write notes for neighbors. Find pen pals. Create cards for hospitals (patients and well as staff, who are on the front lines of all this.) Make cards for nursing home residents.
I challenge you to think of different ways to spread kindness. When you do, share those ideas with others so we may all help to spread kindness in the world.
If you use these charts or ideas, I would love to know. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Lazy Crafting Facebook page.
Happy at home learning!