We have officially begun the first week of homeschool for our kids as many of us are homebound and practicing health and safety routines for ourselves and our communities. We at Unified Caring Association (UCA) have been receiving questions about how to set up a routine for schooling at home. With some research we have come up with a few ideas that can help grow caring children and create a thriving educational environment at home.
Two Tips for Getting Set Up
One of the first challenges that can occur is the task of explaining to our kids about the coronavirus pandemic. This can be a bit difficult at times because there is some uncertainty about how long each school district is closing. It is important that we practice taking a deep breath to help us be center while calmly speaking with our kids. “The easiest rule of thumb is to try to be direct and honest and brief.” (Mathew Cruger)
The second tip is to set up new routines and goals. These routines do not have to be perfect off the bat. An example of a good place to start isa morning routine. In the morning, everyone wakes up at a reasonable hour, eats nutritious breakfast, brushes their hair and teeth, and gets dressed for the day. Another idea is to block out time for physical activity in the day, like a mock-recess. (Bonus points for joining in on the physical activity to help reduce your stress and boost your physical health!) If you need an example, check out fitness instructor Joe Wicks video series, P.E. with Joe. Each video is a daily 30-minute workout that kids can do at home.
Also, when setting up your new daily routine, it is important to set aside quality time with your family. This time requires you to put away other responsibilities in an effort to focus on playing with members of your family. A suggestion on LiveScience for “when you need to do another task, [is to] stay nearby and tell the child to play by themselves, but to let you know if they need help.” Sometimes we can have family bonding time through doing chores. Most of us have that moment of groaning when we think about dusting and mopping, but it can become a fun family activity. Try cranking up the tunes to boogie as you clean. Or have a relay race for who can fold the most laundry in 2 minutes!
Schedules are important to help kids understand what life will look like day-to-day, reducing stress and confusion. Additionally, a routine helps with student success for kids that still have school work to turn into their teachers remotely during the school closure.
Scholastic Learn at Home has daily lessons in a variety of formats: videos, stories and prompts for drawing and writing activities. These are lessons that are great for grade levels pre-K to 6th grade and up.
“Khan Academy, a free online learning resource offering lessons, exercises and quizzes, has daily schedules for organizing at-home learning for students ages 4 to 18 years.” (LiveScience Kids Activities) On weekdays, this academy offers livestreams on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to help parents and educators best utilize the website’s tools and resources while schooling at home.
Speaking of Youtube, there is a channel called Crash Course that offers engaging educational videos on a wide range of subjects that are great for high school students.
PBS KIDS and PBS LearningMedia are showing their support as well by offering tools to help support learning at home. Some of these tools include educational videos and games from favorite series, as well as related skill-building offline activities that will help us grow caring children while running their education home.
If we are looking at specific museums, The American Museum of Natural History in New York City offers all ages online learning materials that are perfect for schooling at home. We took a look at their Ology science website, and it has games and activities in a range of science topics like archaeology, astronomy, and marine biology.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has a tour too! The Air and Space Anywhere webpage provides virtual tours of the museum, educational podcasts, games and activities that are all about aircraft and spacecraft. This is a great way to get some STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) lessons, activities and videos on topics, like flight and space.
Miami’s Frost Science Museum is helping out with remote science activities as well. Frost Science@Home helps curious and inquisitive minds plenty to do with fun science activities and DIY science experiments.
Nova Labs at PBS has sciences for teens! These virtual science educational experiences come together through multimedia experiences that combine video, animation and games to delve into fascinating scientific topics. Teens learn about hot topics like polar ecosystems, solar storms and renewable energy to get your teens brains engaged and ready to help bring more caring into our communities.
NASA also has Teachable Moments for K-12th grade. This brings NASA to your home by connecting homes with resources for investigating the latest discoveries about our universe. To add to this, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is another source of free online content. When visiting the website, digital educators share live videos that pair with hands-on activities. These activities use materials that can be found at almost any home. Two examples of topics are living in space and on Mars, as well as basic rocketry.
For our kids that are ready for more and complex sciences, Physics Classroom is a great resource for beginning physics students. There are teacher toolkits for parents who are now learning how to be teachers. These toolkits supplement the site’s online lessons with videos, animations, simulations and exercises to give a full classroom experience.
Want to have a family Q&A with a scientist? Sign up at Skype a Scientist and get matched with an expert. This expert will live Skype chat with your family about real scientific research.
With all of the remote education and being homebound, we are craving some connection! stemCONNECT is a great answer that uses video conferencing to bring together students and experts in STEM industries. Also, the site has a free video library. This library contains Florida-based STEM experts to help with your child’s understanding of practical applications of a STEM career.
Creative & Fun
We have talked a lot about sciences and logical education resources. Now we get to flip to the other side of the brain. Ready to run some fun and creative activities at home? Creativity is a huge part of learning and having a fulfilling life adventure. Much like our Caring Coloring Contest, organizations are bringing to homes creative education as well!
If your children need a more hands-on activity, they can hone their artistic side with artist and writer Mo Willems. Williams is hosting Lunch Doodles video sessions weekdays at 1 pm EDT. These sessions have an activity page reflecting the doodle session. If you happen to have a3D printer, access to blueprints of digital 3D models from NASA. It can be fun and educational to print and construct miniature models of satellites, asteroids, spacecraft, and more!
Add a little ancient history and anthropology to the schooling at home curriculum with the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada. Kids in 3rd-12th grade can learn to write their names in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs with a step-by-step guide. If they get really good they can write a whole story for you!
Is reading and storytime built into your kids’ education at home? There are variety of videos where celebrities and professionals in multiple industries read books aloud. It can be a thrill to watch and listen to Story Time from Space. Listen to stories sent to the International Space Station (ISS). These stories are read aloud by astronauts as they orbit far above Earth.
It is during this time that we come together with our families to help each other learn more. Setting up new goals and routines so that our children can do their schooling at home can be confusing. UCA is here to help and share caring resources. We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before. All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.
Even more than before we see kids and teens with their faces glued to their phones either texting, playing games, or any variety of things. (Ok, maybe we can include some adults in this as well.) With this technology literally at our fingertips, we at Unified Caring Association (UCA) have great news! We have sourced amazing apps and games for ages 2 and up to play on a tech device of your choice. These apps and games are in line with our caring values, and are verified with Common Sense Media, a company that reviews , monitors and rates a wide variety of apps. Check out the variety of caring and educational apps we have found for our members that are available on iTunes, Google Play, or the Amazon Appstore!
Ages 2-5 Years Old
Wheels on the Bus
Do you remember the classic kids song that is often sung on field trips? This app has it in sweet and interactive ways. Parents and kids will probably giggle with delight while singing along with this newest version of “Wheels on the Bus!” You can even record your own voice singing the very memorable tune.
Crayola Color, Draw & Sing
Take some time to fuel you artsy side by being creative with this app! Kids choose a song to listen to while they create their masterpieces. Each and every action unlocks a new instrument or feature, even scribbling or changing colors! Your young artist will have a beautiful piece of art accompanied with a song in no time flat!
Ages 4-8 Years Old
Intro to Math, by Montessorium
It’s never too early to start learning new skills! This app helps teach kids an early education in math through a game. In this game the ‘student’ will manipulate objects on the screen to achieve the end goal. There are several approaches to numbers that this app presents to the kids using this app. Who knows, your child might soon be giving you advice on stocks and investments?!
Intro to Letters, by Montessorium
This is another educational app that we have sourced to help children recognize, pronounce and write letters! This includes lowercase and capital letters as well as phonograms to help sound out new or unfamiliar words.
Creativity and learning are connected at the hip, especially when they are paired up with interesting characters and engaging activities! With this app, there are many ways for self-expression. It covers important topics like phonics, storytelling, mathematics, problem-solving and more! Through this app parents can view and track the progress their kids are making which enables them to help their children set goals and celebrate achievements upon completion!
Ages 6-8 Years Old
Winky Think Logic Puzzles
Puzzles are one of the most endearing games on the market. They touch a place of nostalgia in our hearts. With Winky Think Logic Puzzles your kids will feel the joy in a new techno way! This app has 180 logic puzzles in a wide range of difficulties! Kids will mull over complex games with obstacles, mazes and multi-touch action while strengthening their minds.
This is an adorable family-friendly puzzle adventure requiring analytical thinking that can be fun for younger kids, teens and adults alike! Parents and kids play cooperatively to solve puzzles by talking it out to decide the best strategy to win the game!
This app is a strategic adventure that is a unique and fun way to travel. It is challenging, by not too hard for those kids that are on the younger side of the age bracket. The game plays the role of a little bug named Kribl. Kribl must traverse harsh landscapes inside the safety of a box.
Ages 6-12 Years Old
One of the most valuable skills kids can learn early on is mindfulness. This will set them up for success by giving them the ability to cope with stressful situations that pop up as they grow. This app helps learn mindfulness by providing the tools and practice with Flibbertigibbet, an animated representation of emotions that your child feels.
Your kids will have a grand time while improving their fine motor skills and practicing math! Each dot represents a number, players combine and divide them to solve math problems. This easy to use app is attention grabbing for all ages with fun animations and bright colors.
Plants by Tinybop
Virtually explore wildlife with this app. Learn about nature by crashing clouds together, or how the seasons change by speeding up time! This app has eye catching illustrations that are filled with details. With open play capabilities and every season is a new adventure, we cannot wait to see what our kids discover next!
Magisto Video Editor
For the older kids in our lives who enjoy video making, we have an app for you! This is a powerful and easy to use video editing app. It can add music to existing video, stitch together footage, create show stopping slide shows, and more! Let your teens’ inner filmmaker thrive and see what they create!
Your teen can explore language by choosing different categories based on their grade level. A couple of examples of the categories are: soundslike and compound words. Add on the fun by picking what challenges to do in the app. Unscramble letters to make words, practice spelling by testing, alphabetize words, or use them in a game setting! Tons of fun your your teen!
High School Story
Teen players set up their own version of high school. Try to win the game by surviving teendom trappings like dating, bullying and cyberbullying, self-esteem, and other social interactions that cause stress. Just like the messages in this app, learn to gear your outlook and actions to be positive, filled with your teens authenticity, kindness and more to help support digital friends. This app contains some challenging topics and quests that help instigate teens using it to think and practice caring actions.
Words With Friends
Do you and your teens like to play word games like Scrabble? This app is for you! Words With Friends is a Scrabble-look-a-like game that is more for teens and adults. It has fast match ups to challenge friends and other people online, and an open chat (which is unfiltered) to catch up with friends and family members as your play!
This is a full Sims game to build your dream house, get that highly sought after job and have your dream relationship. The Fremium version is fun, enjoyable and can be easily played without spending money on in-app purchases. How will your teen plan out their lives in this game? Maybe they will have that mansion with a pool, or that fun, fast-paced career that brings in the dough while caring for the environment! The options are endless. The sky’s the limit!
Whatever games and apps your children choose to play, we at UCA value that they are filled with C.A.R.E., and help your children grow into caring ambassadors. Have fun and enjoy the apps!