Notes from a Homeschooling Mom
Hello, friends of Cinco Puntos Press. How are you holding up?
We know life has changed for most of you. Some of you have lost jobs. Some of you are trying your best to work from home and not strangle your kids while you “homeschool” them. Some of you are eating too many brownies. Some of you are just trying not to cry into your beer as you obsessively watch CNN. (Tears don’t improve the flavor of beer, you know. Just saying!) Some of you count your dwindling supply of toilet paper and pray that the stores will restock before you run out altogether.
We get it. We can’t change a lot about the situation. But as you begin or continue trying to teach your kids at home (depending on where you are in the process), and as you realize that it doesn’t take that long for your kids to finish their schoolwork when they’re receiving one-on-one attention, we’d like to encourage you to keep the screens off (for the most part) and let them use the remaining time to play!
Kids learn a LOT by playing. This is one of the fundamental principles of Montessori education: play is a child’s form of work. They learn how to engage others, they learn about the world, they explore, they learn social rules, etc. You don’t need to play with your kids all the time, though. No. Let your kids be bored. Tell them to figure it out! Boredom leads to creativity, if you give your kids the right tools.
Here are a few ideas:
- Give your kids lots of raw materials and let them make a mess. Paper, drawing pencils, paints, art supplies, yarn and knitting needles, Legos, glue, scissors, magazines they are allowed to “damage,” cardboard, boxes, markers, blocks, origami paper.
- Let your kids listen to audio books and podcasts.
- Let your kids create their own podcasts.
- Let them make music.
- They can play board games and card games, with or without you. (Solitaire works too!) Or, they can play chess online with another friend stuck at home.
- It’s spring-time. Let them outside to garden, go hiking, shoot hoops, play catch.
- Give them tools like wood, hammer, and nails, and let them build something.
- Let your kids explore hands-on math or math games—dice games, Cuisenaire rods, or games like Stop Thief.
- See what interests your kids and do hands-on projects, like cooking together or making a solar system. There are lots of youtube videos about this.
- Most of all: let them read! There are so many books that might never be on their curriculum but can enrich their lives. We have a few suggestions from Cinco Puntos below.
Mi Familia Calaca
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz