Now that nearly all children are at home, there are hundreds of pages of worksheets for parents to download.  Many are for teachers to assign.  They do keep the kids busy for a while and it looks like the kids are learning something.  But most of the time spent on these sheets, by adults up and downloading them and by children doing them, is WASTED time. 


As I’ve said before, I’ve spent lots of time cooped up at home with my kids.  With the exception of a few specific assignments sent by teachers, they spent nearly NO TIME on school work.  While my kids were home, their classmates were in school, so there was catch-up when they got back.  But now, all the kids are out. Of course, there will be stuff teachers will have to go back over when school opens again. But there will be less of a gap.


This is the time to BOND, to make memories, to show love, to encourage each child to explore her/his own interests and learn something new to share with the rest of the family.  Skills that will help the family are wonderful – are they old enough to learn to cook?  Even the youngest can tear up lettuce leaves to help make a salad.  They can learn to wash dishes (yes, by hand). Maria Montessori had 3s and 4s washing their own plates and utensils.  They can dry and put utensils away, sort and fold laundry, and do lots more around the house.


If you are in a house with a yard, planting is wonderful together. Moving small rocks to make a flower growing area and all sorts of re-arrangement of the garden is productive and real work.  The vocabulary, physical science, math of it all are great additions to their knowledge.


We live in an apartment – my husband spent much of today moving plants from one planter to another – things he rooted on the windowsill are now in pots.  This is real work, satisfying work, and work that makes our world a little nicer.


PLEASE, no worksheets!!!

When my 4 kids were young, there were weeks at a time when we were stuck in the house together because of various illnesses including chicken pox (What a horrid winter!)  There was no internet then, and appropriate TV was very limited.  So I learned new skills with the kids.  Everyone who was up to it had something to do. We learned to make noodles on the hand-held pasta maker.  Everyone took turns with the wheel.  We learned to bake cookies, cakes, and other things.  There was plenty of reading and math in the recipes, especially in making half, a third, or double the amount.

The flour was everywhere. It was so much more work than just opening a box of pasta or cookies, or the like. But when they were part of the process, they were cooperative, and they LOVED the outcome.

I also did a lot of reading aloud, even to the upper elementary kids. Sometimes, we would take turns reading a page at a time to the younger ones.

Of course, I was happy when they went back to school, but those days were, for the most part, good days. There is always some skill that can be learned or taught together.  Some way for everyone to be involved in a physical task.  We will make it through these times.  We will.

I have heard parents say, “He ALWAYS gets up early. Winter and
summer, he’s up at 6 AM.” The same parents who say this in despair have
successfully changed their child’s internal clock twice in the previous year.

How do I know? Because twice a year, OUR clocks change – to and from standard time.  If we can change a child’s internal clock in October and April, we can do it any time of the year.

It takes about a week or so to get the change to work. A one
day try just doesn’t work. The keys to successfully adjusting a child’s inner
clock are:
1) Don’t expect more than an hour’s change at a time.
2) Wake the child at the same time each morning for about a week.
Soon the child will automatically wake up at or near the target time every day.

Of course, if the child is sick, she will need extra rest.
If you keep the child out late, she may wake up at the same time anyway, but be
VERY cranky. Or, she may wake up fine and get cranky later. It’s the same idea
when traveling to another time zone – and back again.
PLEASE also remember to slightly adjust meal times for the first week of a
clock change.  More adjustment at the start of the week, gradually changing
to less by the end of the week.  If the children nap, adjust those times
slightly as well.  Hungry and tired children are cranky children who can
present us with all sorts of (preventable) challenging behaviors.