So Much Valuable Learning Happens OUTSIDE of School!

learning happens outside of school

Parents Need Not Stress About School Work During Coronavirus School Closures

With schools closing around the world due to the coronavirus I’m seeing lots of parents stressing out about how to make sure their children are learning during this time. People are sharing schedules, websites, and resources for keeping kids focused on academics and “school” type activities during these weeks. Ads are popping up like crazy with all kinds of online learning apps, worksheet generators, and other academic resources. While these resources are helpful, I wanted to remind parents that so much valuable learning happens outside of school. 

Here’s a chance to teach what they WON’T learn in school

We need to remember that learning happens everywhere – not just in school. In fact, some of the most valuable things children and teens need to learn don’t get addressed in school at all!

I’m not suggesting that academics or participation in other school-based activities aren’t important. However, I am encouraging parents to put those things in their proper perspective alongside all the other types of learning that are necessary for kids. These weeks outside of school have the potential to provide opportunities for learning and growth that wouldn’t happen if your child was attending school 5 days a week as usual.

Examples of “normal life” and “real world” activities that allow for important skill development:

  • Hygiene and self-care
  • Household and outdoor chores
  • Organizing activities
  • Food prep and cooking
  • Movement/exercise activities
  • Games (independent and with others)
  • Creative projects
  • Play
  • Sleep routines
  • Using unstructured time appropriately

And so much more learning happens outside of school!

In the normal busy-ness of life a lot of these kinds of activities, and the benefits that come along with them, get overlooked. Now that we are all forced to slow down with school and most extra-curricular activities canceled, we can focus on some of these other areas that are really important for our kids’ development both now and as they grow up to be adults.

This is especially true for children and teens with developmental, learning, and/or behavioral disorders! They need opportunities for real-world learning even more than children who don’t have challenges. These days at home can provide the exposure and practice they need, but that often doesn’t happen with the stress of school.

Academics are infused in everyday life

Let’s also not forget that academic skills are a part of just about every chore, self-care activity, game, or other tasks we might do with kids! More great examples of how valuable learning happens outside of school…

  • Reading – books, instructions, recipes, emails from family members
  • Writing – make a card for Grandparents, grocery list, schedule for the day, diary
  • Math – cooking, laundry, rolling loose coins, games

And the list goes on…

You don’t need fancy schedules, apps, tutors, or online school programs to facilitate learning for your child during this time. Engage them in developmentally-appropriate everyday life activities and they’ll be ahead of the game when school does reopen!

Good old fashioned playtime

I know this sounds crazy but you really can’t underestimate the importance of playtime for kids. A chance for them to exercise creativity, exercise their bodies, problem solve and soak up some needed time in nature is so vital for kids. I hope you feel really good about swinging open the back door and letting them go and play for a good part of the day. It’s actually pediatrician recommended, see my blog post “Pediatricians are Prescribing Playtime… Here’s Why.”

In terms of screentime

If you are looking for some guidance on how much screentime is too much for your kids while they’re home during this extended period, the Qustodio blog is a great resource.

So …

I hope this relieves a little of the pressure that parents are feeling right now. I’m happy to dive in deeper on suggestions in any of these areas. Leave questions or comments below.

I’d love to hear from you, what activities your kids are doing to stay engaged with learning.

What You Should Do Next:

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