Alternative Home School Ideas
I’m a trained primary teacher but instead of trying to re-create school at home I have been using lockdown to play and create with my children and to deepen our connection to nature.
I feel like I’ve been preparing all my life for this opportunity, this gift of time with my children. We have leapt off the roller coaster ride of modern life and left our normal routine far behind.
At home we are tucked away from the fear and sadness of corona virus. Together we have created a haven in which our souls are nourished through our daily rhythm of home life, play, art and exploration. Feeling safe, curious and having fun have been the priority; learning is a bonus.
Our days flow with a slow rhythm. The children create, cook and walk every day.
Activities We Have Loved
This was an idea my seven year old found in a book. We learned to fold sampan boats and experimented with floating them at home in the sink.
We spent a whole day painting Rainbow Birds, which brought some much-needed cheer on a grey day. Using watercolours we painted rainbows on A4 paper for the wings. For the bird’s bodies we used recycled cardboard. The dry wings were then folded into a concertina and inserted through a slit in the card. We finished the birds with some googly eyes and hung them at the window ( as per image on top of page).
We made cut outs of our favourite animals from old bits of cardboard and coloured in using felts, crayons and decorated with anything we could find.
Bug hunting in the garden caused much hilarity when our worm escaped through a hole in the pot. So get out and about around your local woods, parks or go for a walk around the block to see what you can find.
Salt Dough Wild Flower Ornaments
On our daily walk we picked a basket of daisies, dandelions, buttercups and forget-me-nots. I impressed on the children the importance of taking just a little. We talked about bees and pollination. At home we pressed the flowers into salt dough to make ornaments.
Salt Dough Recipe
One cup of Salt
One cup of Flour
Slowly add water and stir until mixture becomes dough.
Use an upturned cup or cutters to cut out ornament shapes
Press wild flowers onto the dough
Remember to make holes to hang the ornaments
Bake in oven for an hour at 100 degrees celcius
Leave to cool ( finished result at the top of feature).
Reflecting on the Experience
Some ideas I’ve used to nurture my children’s involvement in activities, contentment and creativity during lockdown are
-Follow the children’s lead. When they are playing happily leave them to it !
-Involve the children in meal preparation, cooking and cleaning
-Have free access to simple art materials. Sketch books, pencil crayons, children’s scissors and masking tape.
-Keep a small stash of recycling, cardboard boxes and kitchen rolls for craft play
-Have ‘How to Draw’ books and ‘Things to Do and Make’ books on hand.
-Play audiobooks while the children play
-Make time for music and dancing.
-Use water and sand play to calm and soothe
-Weave academic learning into the day when the opportunity arises. We read books in bed at the beginning and end of the day and chant times tables as we wait for our toast.
The time given to me by lock down has been a precious gift. I’ve lived a dream of mine to home school my children.
As we pass the horrific peak of this terrible disease and talk turns to opening the country back up I turn with gratitude to my children’s teachers. Knowing that I have people who value my children, who dedicate themselves to their education and success, who will keep them safe and teach them with love, fills my heart. To my children’s teachers and all teachers I give a heartfelt thank you. Your value to society has never been more apparent and your skills never clearer. Hopefully soon it will be back over to you and in the meantime I will carry on at home, schooling lightly.
Victoria Byres - local Mom
children aged 5 and 8