We are living in unprecedented times, families figuring out and building on how to learn from home, work from home, and adjust to being together more than ever with limited contact with friends, extended family, sports teams, and social and religious groups. Knowing that sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start, we’ve gathered some practical resources to help your family be successful, no matter which learning path your kids are on.
We’ve compiled a back to school list of learning aids for grades Pre-k through 6th to cover not only the academic subjects like math, reading, writing, history, social studies, but also games, critical thinking and sensory items. We’ve listed products under each grade and subject to help supplement your child’s learning and curriculum whether they are homeschooling or distance learning.
Since every child learns and thinks differently and every home and family is unique; we’ve got a few tips for successful learning at home. Not all of these may work, or may even be doable, and that’s okay! It’s always great to have more tools in your toolbox than you may need, so you’ve always got a back up.
Successful learning doesn’t mean you must have all the bells and whistles. Think outside the box, what items could you use or repurpose that you already have on hand? Don’t undervalue that the time you spend reading together, playing a game, building a fort, or taking a hike isn’t as valuable as reading a book in a classroom, or watching a video.
Whether your child is just beginning school, or is a teenager, having a routine has many benefits. Routines or schedules help a child build healthy habits, manage stress levels, encourage good mental health, healthy sleep patterns and add a level of consistency and security, which help kids feel ready to learn. Routine is not one size fits all; what works best for your family? Do you have early risers? They might do best getting right into it early in the morning and having more free time in the afternoon. Not a morning person? Shift your routine to allow you or your kids to sleep in a bit, maybe you start later in the morning. Help get the kids poised to learn. Make getting dressed, eating breakfast and brushing teeth part of the routine before they begin learning. That alone will help them easily shift into learning mode. Do what works best for your family, but consistency is key.
Have a dedicated space for learning and keep the majority of learning materials there. Again, get creative! Repurpose garage sale furniture for desks, set up card tables, reorganize your basement, common space or office, and yes, the kitchen table works too. What is important is having that dedicated area, which allows the brain to shift and say, “hey, it’s time to learn”. Having the television off and space away from distractions is optimal, but not always doable.
Have a daily/weekly schedule, but remember to also be flexible if other opportunities arise. Schedules allow your children to know what to expect. Sometimes just knowing helps curb meltdowns, even when it may not be a preferred subject. Work with your kids to generate some goals and set expectations. Honor their input and ask what their expectations might be of you while learning at home. Remember putting frequent breaks in a schedule for stretching, reading, snacks will help your child stay more regulated and fresh throughout the day.
Remember learning goes beyond books. Play a card game, board game, or puzzle together. Board games require critical thinking, dexterity, subject identification, memory and even math. Cook or bake together, not only is it tasty, but kids are learning hands-on measurements and science. Have them write a letter to family, friends or elderly in assisted living facilities in your area. Visit online museums for free and discover the world. Explore new parks, trails or local destinations in your city or county. Have older kids help you balance your checkbook or pay your bills. Independent living skills are just as important as academic learning.
Give yourself some grace. If things aren’t quite working well after a period of time, try something new. It may take some time to find the “sweet spot” that works for your family. Don’t feel pressured to be perfect, or compare yourself to other parents. Find support from your tribe: friends, family, or online learning support resources and groups. Each family is unique, and will have their own unique way of making this work.
Whatever your family's path for learning is this year; Legacy Toys is here to support you with online resources or personal in-store help from knowledgeable staff.