Mary G here (also known as the ‘other’ Mary, Mary#2 and Marketing Mary).
It’s been a strange few days, nay weeks infact, trying to anticipate what lies ahead and navigate the odd situation we find ourselves in.
I have the added joy of being tasked with homeschooling my sociable 5 year old, whilst entertaining my feisty 3 year old, fitting in my work schedule, and oh, just the small inconvenience of having moved house only 3 weeks ago! (So surrounded by dated decor and packing boxes- yay!)
I thought I’d share a couple of fun and creative things that I have tried out with my brood this week, to get them enthused about ‘home school’ (lets ignore the fact that my eldest tried to insist calling me his teacher’s name during the school day, and also cried when he couldn’t talk to her – is his own family really that bad?!)
We’ve been given work to do from the primary school which we dip in and out of, but if nothing else, the last few days have taught me that the most success happened when we made any ‘learning activity’ a bit more ‘George Family’, putting our own little twist on it!
On our first day (and yes, this is idea shamelessly pinched from one of the many articles I’ve been reading), we set about creating our own school.
I suggested that our youngest should wear one of her brother’s school sweatshirts for the first day, which they found both novel and hilarious (kids eh?) and then we set about thinking up a name for our school. Rejected ideas included :
poo school (really?)
Barnaby bear school (why?)
Moon school (erm)
and we settled on ‘The George Cool School’, setting the tone for the day!
We brainstormed what we wanted our school to be like (fun, noisy, singing, laughing with lots of snacks, you get the idea)
Wrote up our list of rules that we should try and remember:
1) no running when eating (again, why?)
2) no being rude (fail)
3) be kind (good principle for any time)
4) be helpful (hmmmm, I’m not a betting woman but…)
5) have fun while learning
Then came the best bit, we designed our own school badges with drawing and stickers and whatever else we could find. Everyone was engrossed, I even had time to check my Facebook feed (ah, who am I kidding, I was studiously colouring in my badge too).
Youngest child kept asking if we’d be playing schools again tomorrow and if she could be the teacher.
They say children learn best through play so…..
Another activity we decided to have a go at was Window Rainbows. It’s an initiative that has been flooding social media feeds of late and a creative way for local children to feel connected when they go for a health walk around the block, spotting rainbows made by other children displayed in windows and know there is a friend (or potential future friend) inside.
We discovered some unopened neon paint in our crafty bits box, which gave me an idea…We put on some old skool rave tunes and used our fingers and brushes to paint our ‘RAVEBOWS’ using lots of neon colours!
Since then we have done ‘science lessons’, playing with giant bubbles, to illustrate how rainbows work. We’ve also created a pot-washing production line in the garden, planted up lots of seeds (I predict LOTS of very lovely gardens, windowsills and balconies by the end of this pandemic!) and are planning to join in with a virtual kids disco to celebrate the end of the first week of homeschooling, but not before making our own party costumes and tissue pom-poms.
It’s certainly not been all rainbows and sparkles by any stretch however, in-between we’ve had plenty of arguments, refusals, toddler interventions, distractions, tears etc.
We are a LOUD family; loud in ideas, voices, we always have the music turned up in the car and at home and we all love joining in things together, working as a team and getting hyped for something, so I found when I put some of these principles into practice, I got a much better buy-in from the rest of the ‘team’.
It’s a bit like hiding healthy veg in a favourite pasta sauce, they get all the goodness but are enjoying it so much they don’t realise.