by Terry Rogers
On Sunday, March 22, Governor John Carney issued a “Shelter in Place” order, asking Delaware residents to remain home, only leaving to restock supplies or visit medical facilities. Non-essential businesses, including car dealers and museums were ordered to close while other industries were told they must offer work-from-home options. Schools which have been closed at least until March 27 may have the closure extended as more people are diagnosed with COVID-19.
With parents and children now spending time together 24 hours a day, seven days per week, frustration can grow as families run out of things to do. Parents may also be concerned about their children losing learning time when they are out of school. Homeschooling parent have offered several tips that can help keep children learning while also keeping them entertained.
This may be an uncertain time for children, so it is important to spend a few days relaxing, playing board games or watching educational movies, including “Harriet,” the story of Harriet Tubman or “1918,” a movie about World War I. Since most parents do not have the resources to create a traditional classroom, families can find a way to create an environment where learning can happen. One option is to learn something together. Spend time researching a subject that interests both parents and children.
Reading is an excellent way to continue your child’s learning skills. If your children are young, read to them at least 20 minutes each day. Older children should read at least one hour each day. Putty, coloring books, sketch pads, watercolors, Legos and puzzles are another great way to encourage learning and reading comprehension. Home school parents say that you do not want to force your child to “learn” for seven or eight hours each day. Even during the school day, they are given breaks. Podcasts are another great way to encourage learning.
Many museums are now offering virtual tours that can be a great way to help children learn in a way that is fun. The Louvre offers tours of their Egyptian antiquities collection, remains of the Louvre’s moat and the Galerie d’Apollon. The Sistine Chapel allows tours of the interior artworks, including the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo. Yosemite National Park’s website allows for virtual tours of their iconic landmark as does the Great Wall of China. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History includes virtual tours of the Butterfly Pavilion, the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils and topics that include dinosaurs, the universe, DNA and genomes. The San Diego Zoo, the Museum of Modern Art, Yellowstone National Park and the Metropolitan Opera House are all offering virtual tours.
Cooking is an excellent way to brush up on your child’s math skills. Even small children can count potatoes, point out the numbers on a measuring cup or help you mix ingredients for a recipe. Older children can learn fractions by doubling recipes and get an idea of various measurements.
Parents can relax and take in a concert in the comfort of their own home as well. John Legend, Keith Urban, Pink and other artists are offering free online concerts during the pandemic. Some movie theaters are offering video versions of movies that are currently showing in theaters. Films like A Quite Place Part II, Black Widow and the Invisible Man, may be available in a video version available from your local theater.
Experts also recommend putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing board games with the family and talking walks in your own neighborhood or yard as great ways to deal with the “shelter in place” order.