2 min read

Who’s Ready for Summer?

Not us, cuz Southern Hemisphere

I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot as Summer Vacation is fast approaching, which really just means being stuck at home with no support from the school (but also, get ready for a whole bunch of stories in the coming months about teachers who are continuing to support their students, even after the school year officially ends. This is going to happen. This is who teachers are. (But also, teachers, take care of yourselves - you deserve some breathing space too. We need you for the long haul, not just the next few months)). What does it mean when kids can’t go to the pool, the movies, or basketball camp? Worse, what does it mean when the air conditioning breaks down (or never existed in the first place) and you live in a city and need to keep social distancing?

Have you found a structure that works for you & your kids at home? If it works for everyone, then keep it as you head into summer, but also allow for the days when you choose to just chuck it out the window (and maybe even plan for some of those days that you can go on a hike or a long car ride or...something).

But what to do with the chunks of time previously filled by school work? A lot of that depends on how much flexibility parents have with their own working from home. If you’ve been making homeschool work, you’ve probably figured a structure out. So I’d suggest thinking about structuring some basic projects that you & your kid(s) can do together around some basic questions like:

•  What are they interested in that you’re curious to know more about?

•  What interests do you have that you’ve wanted to share with them?

•  What’s something new you can both explore together?

I’m writing this, but the person in our house who has been infusing magic into our lockdown is my wife, Sarah. She helped our oldest learn to do cryptography while reading about World Wars I & II, and she’s teaching our middlest fractions through baking together with him. (Our youngest is 3...she seems to be only learning about the various Pokémon from her brother). There have been Minecraft villages built, insect corpses explored under a microscope, stories written, board games created. And there have also been days when our oldest retreats to his room with his Kindle all day and doesn’t come out. And there have been many, many times when we have justified letting them watch TV by making them listen to the French dubbing and turn on English subtitles. And there have been fights (between them, between us, between us & them). We aren’t going to just go back to normal all of a sudden, so do what you need to do to stay afloat. Preserve the relationship you have with your kids above all else. We’re all going to be figuring out what to do about schooling for a long while yet…

Some recommendations then:

•  YouCubed - this is Sarah’s go-to resource for making maths magical. She uses some of the activities as they are, but she says the best thing about it is the way it encourages you to find mathematics in normal daily life.

•  At Home With PZ - From Harvard’s Project Zero, just a treasure chest of activities that develop creativity & critical thinking. A bit of prep required for some of them, but it cuts across all ages.