When your child is sick, it's easy to slack off on schoolwork. But doing so could put your child at risk of falling behind. Of course, when your kids are at their worst, you can't possibly give them school assignments. But when they are sick - especially for long periods of time, there are going to be moments when it's appropriate. Being ill can actually be the perfect time to keep schoolwork up to date. If your child is well enough to watch TV or play, she can probably do some learning too.
Ask the teacher for a packet and/or materials. This may seem like a no-brainer. But when your child is ill, a million things may be running through your mind. Stop by the school and ask the child's teacher for a packet of makeup work. If you know approximately how long your child will be away, get the work for those days. If you homeschool, then you are likely already prepared in this department.
Take advantage of happy moments. If your child is sick, they may not quite be up to schoolwork. Take advantage of the happier times where it's possible. That's when it's the perfect time to introduce some schoolwork. If your child is going through a difficult procedure, the school work can wait until a more cheerful moment.
Learn through play. While sick or going through complicated medical procedures, your child might not exactly be ready to hit the books. But educational play can do the trick in those instances. Put on puppet shows (younger children), play board games related to his current studies, play with manipulatives, and more. These things keep your child's brain active and focused on current lessons, but may not be as stressful as other forms of study.
Take schoolwork to doctor and hospital visits. This may sound odd and out of place. But kids get bored during doctor appointments and hospital stays. There is always lots of waiting time in between things. Schoolwork helps relieve the boredom and also helps ensure your child doesn't fall behind in school.
Watch relevant educational videos. This is a simple activity you can do with a child who cannot move much or who is unwilling to. This prevents unnecessary stress while your child is ill. But if you choose videos related to the current lessons, it also serves the purpose of keeping learning levels intact.
Listen to relevant music and audio. Music is a great way to instill lessons in kids. It's fun and if your child has to lay in a hospital bed, at least he can listen and maybe sing along. Many musicians are being more creative with learning songs. You can find just about any topic, such as multiplication, recycling, manners, and so much more.
Use flashcards. Many use flashcards for basic math and alphabet skills. But they can be used for pretty much any topic. They are small and can be done one at a time. This is important when you have a sick kid because if you need to stop at any point or do things in tiny increments, it's easier to keep track. Just take things one card at a time if you need to.
Tell stories. Oral stories also can be great learning tools. You and your child can come up with the stories together if possible. If he is not feeling up to it, you can do all the story telling. Be sure to focus on things your child is learning in school, while keeping it fun and lighthearted.
Read books. Reading is of course very good for the brain. It's also a good way to keep that knowledge flowing when your child is sick. She will have plenty of time to read, no doubt. If she's not well enough to read, you can read to her. Look for books related to what she's learning in each school subject.
Do relevant crossword puzzles and other pencil games. If your child needs to lay in bed all day, crossword puzzles and other puzzle games are the perfect solution. If the lesson is U.S. presidents, look for a crossword on that. The best source for customizing them in this way is online printable and homeschool websites. There are a wide variety of topics out there only a search away.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Charts are a great way for toddlers to learn. When combined with crafting for a hands-on lesson, the benefits of this method can be greatly multiplied. Here is a fun and educational shape and color chart craft along with some daily activities to do with your toddler once the chart is completed.
Shape and Color Chart
This chart will represent these shapes: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, diamond, and heart. Make each shape a different color to also make this a color chart. The colors you should represent are: red, blue, yellow, green, black, and white. If you want to add pink, purple, and brown, make an extra each of the circle, square, and triangle, since those are three of the main shapes.
Before you do the craft with the children, cut out enough shapes in their designated colors for each child to have one of each. If you're doing the extended colors, make sure you have enough of those as well. Sort out the shapes by putting them in a zippered plastic bag for each child. Also, be sure your shapes are an appropriate size to fit onto a 12x17 piece of paper all together and spread out from each other slightly.
First, you'll need a 12x17 sheet of light blue construction paper for each child. This will be the surface the shapes will be glued onto. Place them in front of the children.
Next, give each child their shape bag and a glue stick.
Instruct (and probably help) the children to glue on each shape one at a time as you call them out by shape and color. The children can place the shapes wherever they'd like.
Once that is done, let the charts dry. Then, laminate them or cover them in clear contact paper for prolonged use.
Keep in mind that there should also be a chart for each teacher or parent as well. A master chart can and will come in handy later.
For full benefits of the chart, there are many activities that can be used with it to enforce and re-enforce the lesson of shapes and colors. Below, I will outline two to get you started.
Me, Then You
For this activity the parent or teacher should stand in front of the children with his or her chart and point at and say the shape and color. For example: The teacher says "red square" and points at the red square with a pencil. The students then say red square, pointing at their red square. Continue this activity for about 15 minutes.
Shape and Color Mayhem
This activity requires more than one student, preferably a group of at least three. However, with a little thinking and modification, it could be fit for use with less students.
First, the teacher places the master chart on a blank wall with sticky tack or plasti-tak, which can be found in most art or craft stores, even at Wal-Mart or other discount department stores. It's a gummy clay-like substance that adheres thin paper and plastic items to the wall without damaging them or the wall, so they can be removed quickly and easily.
The teacher should have a hat or container full of folded papers with each student's name on them. Have another hat or container with the shape/color combinations on the folded papers. Start the game by drawing 3 names from the hat.
Those three students need to stand next to each other about three feet from the chart. The teacher then draws a shape/color paper and says it. For instance, if the paper says, "yellow triangle", the teacher says "yellow triangle". The first student to place his or her finger on the yellow triangle has won that round. Then, the other two students get back in the straight line again. The winning student goes back to his or her seat. The names need to be set aside, not placed back in the hat. A new name is drawn and the game continues until each student has won a round.
Hint: Don't tell the students that they will all win. It may ruin the good feeling they will get when they win a round.
Tips for Teachers and Homeschoolers
You're in the school cafeteria and you see yet one more elementary-aged student grab those chips, cookies, and chocolate milk. How can you get him to choose healthier snacks without a hassle? Teaching elementary kids about healthy living and nutrition involves more than just telling them their choices are unhealthy. As a homeschool teacher and health nut, I have been known to come up with creative ways to get kids to think healthy.
Tell them what foods are healthy and explain why. Don't just tell the students to eat more fruits and veggies. Show them why they should. Pictures and stories can help drive home the point. You can also have each kid act out the parts of various fruits and veggies to show what they do. This keeps things lighthearted and entertaining, which is a great strategy for elementary students.
Adopt an exercise plan and explain the benefits. Use dance, active play, or other kid-friendly exercise to make healthy living fun for elementary kids. Explain how each move is beneficial to the body. But also make it an enjoyable experience so the kids will want to continue. If you can incorporate a routine in your daily classroom activities, that's great. Switch it up now and then, too so the kids don;t get bored.
Explain why certain foods are unhealthy using pictures of what it does. Children are very visual. You don't want them to think they need to be as skinny as a rail. But at the same time, let them know that being overweight can have damaging effects on the body. Show them age-appropriate pictures of what the body looks like on the inside and outside from certain diseases. Showing them pictures of the effect food has on their bodies will be much more effective than just telling them. Seeing is believing, right?
Use fun and catchy songs and rhymes to teach healthy living. Music is fun for kids and it's also easy to remember. Make up some fun songs to illustrate the points you make about nutrition. You may be surprised at the impact it will have. Let the kids make up their own songs and dances, too. They'll be proud of themselves and also be absorbing the info.
Give each kid their own weekly wipe-off charts for their home fridge. Giving the kids something to use to take home and track their results helps keep the lesson active. Healthy living is not something to just learn one day. It should be a way of life. Show the elementary students how to track what they are eating and see if they are making the correct choices. It could even help the rest of their family too.
Many children just love reading books naturally. However, some children do not. If your child is not feeling the love for books or you want to get a head start, try talking to other parents. Look for parents whose children always seem to be engrossed in books. Chances are, they'll have some wonderful tips. As a mother of voracious readers, I've learned several things on the way. Great ways to increase your child's love for books can come from both simple and unexpected places.
Read every day. Reading to your child every day can go a long way in instilling a love from reading. Starting this ritual while the child is still in the womb can also make the reading more familiar, which can help a child naturally enjoy reading. If you can, read with your child more than once per day. Be sure that once your child can read, you read to him once per day, but that he also reads to himself at least once per day. Both oral and visual stimulation are needed in order for a child to fully grasp the knowledge and love of reading and books.
Let your child choose the stories. There are some times when your child will have to read particular books. But be sure that your child also gets to make her own selections regularly. Children will be more receptive to reading if it isn't always about what someone else wants. It's perfectly fine if some things they choose are not exactly educational. Let them have some fun with reading too. They're more likely to learn from reading if they are interested in it.
Attend story time at the library. When kids see that others are interested in reading, it can open them up to its value. Story time can also be quite fun. Often there are activities involved in the story that your child can participate in. Story time may involve instruments, puppets, dancing, singing, stomping, shouting, and more. This helps make books more fun for your child. It also helps to provide a more rounded exposure to books.
Have a family reading circle. When reading is made into a family event, it can help create a natural love for books. This is because most kids respond to something that is done repetitively and with those they love. To create a family reading circle, gather comfortable furniture (such as pillows, bean bags, or cozy chairs) in a circle shape and choose a few books. Each person can take turns passing the book around and reading a few lines. For older children, novels that are read from a few chapters at a time are good as well.
Play reading games. Much like story time, reading games bring out the fun and imagination that comes from books. There is no right or wrong way to read a story. It can be read straight from cover to cover or it can be acted out or used as a base for a game. Teaching a child to love books does not have to be boring. Remember, you want them to know there is fun to be had. I like to invent games to play with my kids during reading, such as "Stop and Read" and "Reading Charades." Use nothing but the book, use costumes and props, and even use pre-packaged reading games.
There's no limit to the games and fun to be had while reading books. Be sure you instill that in your child through consistent action. In no time he'll have a love for books you never dreamed was possible.
Teaching kids to read isn't all textbook. Learn to have some fun and they'll enjoy learning to read. As a mom and homeschool teacher, I have invented plenty of games over the years. Game play is good for kids who learn by doing. It's also just plain fun. Reading Charades is a great way to instill comprehension skills in reading.
Materials and Game Preparation
To play Reading Charades, you'll need a book and chairs for all players. The parent or teacher also needs to make cards using characters, events, and places from the story. Everyone should be seated in a circle with enough room in the middle for one person to perform. If this is your group's first time playing or the kids are younger, you may want to use a story everyone is familiar with.
Game Play Instructions
The first part of game play involves reading the book. Make sure the kids know they need to pay attention to the story. Kids can take turns passing the book around to read the story. For older groups of kids, be sure to choose a challenging story. You may also want to assign their reading ahead of time, since their stories will be longer.
Once the story has been read, it's time for the first player to choose a card. He or she needs to read the card silently and not let on what's written. Then, it's time to act out what's on the card and get the other players to guess. In the beginning, it should be specified whether it's a character, event, or location. Other than that, there should be no talking or sound effects.
Everyone else should be shouting out guesses as they have them. Whomever guesses correctly first is the next player. Game play goes on until there are no more cards left (or the parent or teacher is ready to move onto something else). If there are kids who are not getting a turn, try to make the reading game last long enough so that everyone gets a chance. Some players might get more than one turn if they are good guessers.
Some kids may need assistance from a parent or teacher when it comes to reading the cards or thinking of ideas for acting them out. If the kids move through the cards quickly, you might need to create a bigger deck or use more than one story.
Benefits of Group Reading Activities
There are many benefits of reading activities, such as Reading Charades. Children can gain or expand on critical skills that may have been missing or misunderstood during regular lessons. Another thing to remember is that not all children learn in the same way. Some may do better with a hands-on reading activity. Comprehension, vocabulary, and working together as a team are just some of the things kids can gain from doing group reading activities.
Is Default School Choice Failing Kids?
At the beginning of each school year, choosing the right clothing and school supplies becomes a top agenda for parents. These same parents often go with a default school choice, which means that "by default" they simply send their children to the nearby local school without really making a school choice. Is default school choice failing kids?
In addition to parents who are unaware of choice in education, others may know about choice but perceive that they lack funding for private school tuition, or for transportation to a more distant school. This is still a default choice, if parents fail to realize that choice in education may increase school success in kids. As a parent who once utilized school choice for her own children within the public school system and who now utilizes school choice to homeschool all of her children, I feel qualified to explore this subject.
What is School Choice?
School choice in simple terms is the option that parents have to make a choice in education options for their kids. This could refer to vouchers being given to public school children to attend more competent private schools in the area. It could also mean sending a child to a public school outside of the neighborhood due to incompatible opportunities at the neighborhood school.
For some, it may simply mean making the choice between public, private, and homeschool. There are many ways school choice is exercised, but all have the same goal: a better education for our children. Should there be a default school choice?
Is Default School Choice Failing Kids?
Oftentimes, before the kids are even ready to go to school, parents have it set in their brains the school they will go to. Most often, it is simply the neighborhood school. While there certainly is nothing wrong with sending kids to a neighborhood school, it could be a hindrance to have a default school choice.
Default school choice may be failing many kids. Part of this is because all children do not learn in the same way. Along those same lines, all teachers do not teach the same way either. Nor do all schools use the same curriculum or methods. That's actually a good thing. But only if the advantages to varying curricula and teaching methods are utilized. Otherwise, there isn't much of a point in having so many options if they aren't going to be used with the kids they benefit the most.
Choice in Education May Help Homeschool Thrive
According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), in 2009 a new study was released regarding academic achievement of home schooled children. This national study showed children who were homeschooled scoring an average of an entire 30 percentile points higher than those in public schools on all core subjects. As a seasoned home school parent, those results do not surprise me. Why? My personal thoughts taken from experience are that some of that is due to school choice.
Most parents who homeschool are doing so because they want their children to have the best educational options possible. Therefore choice in education methods is at the forefront of many decisions. Many of these parents chose home school as a method, due to their assessment of what would work for their child. With national home school children scoring so much higher than national public school children, could school choice be the answer?
Choice in Education Increases Test Scores And Graduation Rate
In the above example, home school test scores were well above those of children in public school. Now let's take it a step further and compare test scores of other children whose parents exercised school choice. According to the Friedman Foundation, private schools who participated in voucher programs to exercise school choice had higher test scores and graduation rates than public schools. For instance, in Milwaukee in 2003, the graduation rate at private schools who accepted school choice vouchers was 64%. Public schools had a graduation rate of only 34%. The same material, comprised of many studies, mentions children in several states gaining a significant increase in percentile points when participating in a school choice voucher program.
Choice in Education May Increase School Success in Kids
When comparing the data above with my own research and observances over the years and with my varied experiences with school choice, I continually come to the conclusion that choice in education may increase school success. Many other factors will play a role, but taking steps to ensure that the choice of schools reflects a child's actual needs can be a great start, if not a big factor, in a child's school success.
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
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