Sheltered Diaries: We Survived, Right?

So we survived another week of this new distance learning thing, and got some good news (we’re all a little closer to figuring it out) and some bad news (we’ve got longer to figure it out because our time apart has been extended until at least May 4). 

Today, Tiny got to see his friends from school for the first time in two weeks, thanks to a Zoom meeting set up by his teacher. It was a joyful cacophony of voices, each excited to tell each other what they’ve been up to. As each child logged on and appeared in the room, everyone greeted them by name.

As the half-hour session continued, students weighed in on their new reality (it’s different learning on a laptop at home, they all agreed, but opinion was mixed as to whether the lessons were harder or easier), showed off pets and projects, and one child took her friends on a tour of her house.

Next week promises a little more structure, too, as Tiny’s case coordinators are coming online to help him make sure he’s keeping apace in writing and math, and his speech pathologist begins working with him on his conversation skills and understanding things like idioms and figures of speech.

But we’re still planning some fun things, too, and as I promised yesterday, I thought I’d share what we’re considering for the next week:

  1. Soap making. Now, don’t get excited, we’re not going full Laura Ingalls Wilder with some lye and lard. Instead, we’ve gotten soap bases, scents, and coloring, and we’re going to practice sequencing and measuring. Although crafts stores are shut down, we were able to order everything we need from Joann’s online. But it doesn’t have to be soap – making cookies, baking a cake, or following any recipe is a great way to learn fractions, measuring, volume, and doing things in sequence. Want to ramp it up a little more? Ask older kids to research the chemistry behind cooking and baking.
  2. Texas history. After a side jaunt through Goliad a couple years ago on our way back from South Padre Island, Tiny got interested in Texas history. The Texas Historical Commission has a great portal full of all kinds of resources, a link to their YouTube channel, and more.
  3. Virtual math fair. The talkSTEM YouTube channel is full of fun lessons and activities for students pre-K through sixth grade. Most of the lessons are less than five minutes, but they are definitely geared for family activity – or at least the younger set will need an adult or older sibling to help.
  4. Watch a play. The Trusty Sidekick Theater is offering archives of their plays for free and adding new one each week.

I’ll also put in a plug for our weekly Fun Things To Do newsletter, which now offers fun things to do at home. You can see this week’s newsletter (which includes a very fun opportunity to design cowboy boots for kids) here, and you can subscribe here.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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