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Educating at home: One Parents Response to a Teacher Strike

Updated on March 5, 2018

How can we promote educational success while they are not in school?

How do children structure their time at home?

Maybe you have heard West Virginia is facing another week of the teachers walk out, With pay and funding the PEIA health insurance in the balance it does not look like this is going to end any time soon. The eighth day of the strike is tomorrow. Thousands of parents including myself have the dilemma of what to do since there is no school. Some children have daycare, some have family, some children ( like mine) are home alone. The first week may have been vacation like for my child, Now I am afraid the lack of routine will affect school performance when this is all over. As a parent who works I want my child to continue to have success while our educators and legislators figure things out.

As a parent I feel obligated to keep my child engaged and challenged during this down time. This presents a challenge to me as well. I am not up on science and lets face it, my kid is already beyond my math capabilities anyway. ( I would probably teach him the old fashioned way and really confuse him!)

This article may appeal to those who have children old enough to stay at home alone. It may be difficult to get them to engage in providing their own structure.

Often children go right to the cartoons or their electronic devices and spend hours on them. I know mine will if I do not prompt him to do other things.

In order to invite him or her to be in a routine there are four simple things to ask your child to do. I call it Make Something, Clean Something, Create Something and Learn Something daily challenge. That's right,this should be approached with your child as four daily challenges. Directives as we know, do not go over well. But if we present these as in this way perhaps the child will be more engaged. If your child will respond well to a worksheet a sample one was placed at the end of of the article. Lets explore the challenges.

Routine in a child's life is important

The following is a partial list from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about healthy development for children:

Responding to children in a predictable way

Showing warmth and sensitivity

Having routines and household rules

Sharing books and talking with children

Create Something

The act of creating something can be very stimulating and there is a lot to be learned in the process. Challenge your child to create something every day. The opportunities for creating are endless and you should tailor this to your child's interest. The act of creating should not be done on an I pad or device. Getting your child away from the screen should be the object of the activity. I recommend an artistic activity. There are many fun things a child can do with art. Rock painting is pretty popular. Have your child paint a rock with a favorite theme. Then you both can hide it together. Maybe your child can create a comic strip starring themselves as a superhero. Have your child create items from polymer clay ( that can be baked when you get home).

Drawing journals are a good way to practice drawing as well as identify feelings. Can your child draw an emotion? What would happiness look like?

Jewelry making with beads may be something your child likes to do. If your child is musically inclined perhaps they can practice playing their instrument or compose a song.

Are they mechanically inclined? Maybe they can build something ( no power tools please!) Building lego sets might be ok but building robots would be better!

Painting Rocks

Challenge One Create Something!

Paint pictures or rocks

Create a comic strip

Make Jewelry

Create imaginary creatures with clay

Start a drawing journal

Clean Something

So cleaning something may sound punitive but what a dis service you would be doing your child if you did not teach them how to clean. Since they have time off why not give them the opportunity to learn some new skills. We are not talking vacuuming or straightening up. We are talking a good deep cleaning.Ideas can be washing dishes (the old fashioned way by hand!) mopping the floor and perhaps yes even cleaning the dreaded bathroom. Of course all of these ideas are contingent on the age and the skills of your child. If your child is old enough to stay at home he or she is old enough to do this. Some other ideas to have your son or daughter to make the most of their time is to have them go through their toys and make a pile of things to give away or set aside for a yard sale. If you have pets then this a good time for some extra pet care! Grooming or walking your animals will give your child a good feeling of accomplishment. We have a chicken coop so my child will be helping gathering eggs, feeding and cleaning out the hen house.

Challenge Two Clean Something!

Go through toys to donate or sell

Learn a new cleaning skill


Take care of pets

Taking care of pets can help give your child structure

Make something

No making a mess is not what I mean. Make goals, make lunch, make something! Something that requires effort, something that will take your child away from the TV and device. Sometimes making a list and crossing off those things on the list can be helpful. I have often left a list of things to do on snow days. How much more invested would your child be if they could make a list of things they would like to accomplish on their days off. Is your child a member of girl scouts? boy scouts? There are many goals in these organizations that could be occupying your child's time.

If you have an older child in the home then perhaps volunteering makes a productive way to spend their time. Currently WV teachers and community members are coming together to create lunches for children who depend on the schools for their meals. Some local churches are facilitating this so perhaps your child wont have far to go. Check out the link below for more details.

Challenge Three: Make Something

Having your child make a list of goals can help organize their day!

Make a list

This was actually a coupon that my son used as a Christmas gift a couple years ago!  But you get the idea!
This was actually a coupon that my son used as a Christmas gift a couple years ago! But you get the idea!

Learn Something

Your child should be able to tell you something they learned everyday. And no it cannot be what Spongebob's favorite movie is or that they learned that zombie pigman can't die in lava. The learning can come from an activity they completed that day or from something they actually read. Maybe your child tried a new food and discovered they like it or maybe a new word. Give your child ideas on how they can learn while school is not in session. Given them educational magazines or a selection of books to look at. If they do have to use the internet then give them an approved sites they can look at. I have my son use Kiddle search engine if I am not home.Perhaps give them an assignment to find out answers to. For example we recently had a chicken lay a weird looking egg so I had my son research it. He was able to find out the chickens need more calcium in their diet. The cool thing about this is that kids can teach you something too!

Challenge Four: Learn Something

Have your child keep a running list of something they learned.

It seems simple but if you can get your child to do three out of the five congratulations you have provided some routine to your child's day. Has this article given you any ideas? How have you dealt or would you deal with this situation?

Learn something new

A painting my son did in school
A painting my son did in school

Sample Daily Worksheet


Four Challenges

Make Something!

No messes. Do not make a world on Minecraft. Make something with your hands or create a list of

goals you would like to accomplish. Make use of your time!

What did you make? _________________________________________________________________

Create Something!

Use clay or paints or papers to make something. Ideas include clay Pokémon, a comic strip or even paint rocks. What about something for the chicken coop? What could you make out there?

What did you create? _________________________________________________________________

Clean something!

Yes clean something… Really clean it! Don’t be just vacuuming or pick up a few things. Good ideas

would be YOUR ROOM or do the dishes, mop the floor ect. Go through your toys and put some aside

to yard sale. Clean out the candy drawer. Throw old candy away. These are lifelong skills you are

learning here!

What did you Clean? __________________________________________________________________

Learn something!

Read a book before you forget how to do it! Research something on line you are interested in. (do not research Minecraft or Pokémon or what type of Lego set you want next) You have tons of interests! Sharks, outer space, robots and chickens. Tell me what you learned when I get home!

What did you learn? ___________________________________________________________________

How old is old enough?

At what age did you start trusting your child to stay at home?

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© 2018 Tina


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