There are days when my husband and I both have work to do and I am trying to keep to my usual office hours, so when this happens you have to be creative with home learning. We are trying to keep the kids in some kind of routine (I use that word loosely!) and on days like this it calls for some creative thinking for the school subjects, to stop them from getting bored and up to mischief! I'll share some of the ideas that seem to work best in our house.
English – Words!
Oh yes, word games! Sneaky word practice in the pretence of fun.
Any game that means the kids are practising words and using their brains = good for them. So in our house we love Boggle and Scrabble.
Boggle is a game with 16 dice, each with letters on and you shake it up, place it down and make as many words as you can out of the letters it shows. The kids get highly competitive. We have 2 categories of winning: highest number of unique words and longest unique word.
This then puts them in great stead for Scrabble. Scrabble is the same principle of Boggle, but then once you have made a word you must find a place on the board for it or make another word, so trickier. We had a kids Vs parents match the other day and they had played so many word games they nearly beat us! And I play to win! I shouldn't have taught them all the tricks so early on.
These games can fill up a good chunk of time too, so if you have kids over the age of about 7 or 8, this can keep them entertained for a while while you get on with work or jobs or dinner. Or they are great family games to play.
Also, to play Boggle, you don't even need to actual game to play it. Sometimes I just give the kids 16 random letters in their notebooks to work with, then you can play it anywhere. Its interesting to see what words they come up with and you can make it as easy or as hard as you like!
Art – Painting
Well this is a given for the younger kids for sure, but can be quite hard to get the teenagers inspired unless they are taking art GCSE (well in my house anyway). My youngest LOVES painting and as long as she has cheap white paper she will paint for hours. My best advice is take the thinking element out of it. If the older kids have to think, they will sit for ages. Make a list before hand, of simple things, and then they should crack on for a while. Lists can be adapted for ages, like a house, and for older kids, a house with a car, tree, people and so on.
I always find praising them whatever the picture looks like means they carry on for ages. The problem then is where to display the 736 pictures they make! And where to put them all whilst they dry!
A good ideas of things to work on are: Sunsets, beach scenes, a park, rainbows, sea creatures, animals, houses, your family, mazes and faces. My older kids liked to work on painting objects, still life displays like stacking tins from the cupboard, a mantle clock, a vase of flowers or the old classic - a fruit bowl.
As for paints, use anything you can. The cheap palettes you add water to will be perfect for the younger kids. It really is what you prefer. There are so many to try and so many different types available. Also in the supermarkets they often have poster paint (ready mixed bottles) perfect for squeezing out on to a paper plate or cup and a bit brighter than the water paints.
The tidy up is always a bit of a job but it really is worth it to see the kids creations and let them bring out their creative side.
Design Technology – Recycling Build
Yep, you guessed it. Just collect your recycling for a few days, put it in the middle of the table/floor with safe scissors/glue/tape/paint/paper and let them go wild (or set a challenge theme).
I mean ahem, clearly this is a very educational project that they could take time over and do slowly and be think about each step. They could make a plan and think about what to make and how to decorate it.
This kept mine busy for hours and was interesting to see my husband get involved with the build aspect too!
On the days when we did not feel like a Joe Wicks workout or a long walk and had plans I thought ok what will make them use some energy, especially them few rainy days we had in lockdown. Answer - Twister and Just Dance. They point blank refused to be filmed doing Just Dance haha. I think we all look hilarious but apparently its 'not cool mum'.
These kinds of games keep them moving, they have fun and they have the added bonus of beating their sibling! What could be better? The exercise games on the Nintendo Wii were great fun too.
Also good to try at home are hula hooping, helping with gardening, races in the garden, tag and hopscotch (oh and special mention for little ones, blowing bubbles and challenging them to run around popping them all).
What other non traditional learning do you all do for different subjects? Let me know, Gemma