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HomeFamilyParenting AdviceHomeschooling with Bubbie and Grammy: Filling in Missing Pieces - Good Parenting

Homeschooling with Bubbie and Grammy: Filling in Missing Pieces – Good Parenting

By Deborah Wood, Ph.D.

The latest coronavirus news includes the arrival in our area of the omicron variant – a “variant of concern” that has renewed the advisability of wearing masks and getting vaccinated. Scientists are gathering information to learn more about how this new twist will affect what we can expect for imminent Covid-19 cases including reinfections.

Our two homeschooling students, a second grader and a fifth grader, are within the age bracket approved for vaccines and have received their second doses. We are counting the days until we can have get togethers with old friends and make some new friends among other homeschoolers! Hopefully the omicron variant is just a small blip in the course we’re on toward leaving this global health crisis behind us.

Will our homeschooling continue beyond the second marking period? Until more is known about omicron, Grammy and I continue to schedule the children from week to week between us as the world reacts to the everchanging situation of the pandemic.

Missing Numbers

Multiplication facts come more easily to some students than others. I’ll admit I never quite mastered them all. So this has been a focus for the fifth grader’s math activities. We are slowed down by having to “factor out” and get to numbers we can work with. Flash cards held interest for a couple of days, but they’ve since disappeared. I saw a suggestion somewhere for drawing cartoons – for example two 9’s in the foreground are bowling together and the two pins left standing in the background are numbered “8” and “1”. If you’re a visual learner you can “see” what this would look like. The student wasn’t interested so I let it drop.

My next attempt at teaching multiplication facts involved my laptop. Have I mentioned how both of these students are drawn to screens? I plotted out a grid typing in 1 to 10 across the top and down the left side. These are the factors, I explained, and we would fill in the products in the empty spaces. There was a little confusion as to whether we were adding or multiplying, but after I filled in the fives and the tens this tech savvy student caught on and took over. Not only did products get typed into all the boxes, they were sized and centered with skillful keyboarding.

This lesson ended with the student using the newly created Multiplication Table to complete two (paper) pages of problems. To make it more fun, I timed the second sheet. Sixty seconds. We will do this again!

Missing Letters

As this was going on, the second grader was completing a Spelling activity about short and long vowel sounds. We were using a worksheet to see how words on a list changed their vowel sound when the letter “e” was added to the end.

Rather than go on to the next page in the workbook (as I suggested, since I was juggling my attention between the two of them), the student started challenging me out loud to change words by adding or dropping a final “e”.

As you can see from the photo, this activity morphed into us taking turns to write words on the dry erase board. So much more creative and socially interactive than an old workbook.

Finding Discoveries

Time outside is an important part of our homeschooling days even as the weather turns cold. We’ve been to a playground just down the sidewalk in the children’s neighborhood a few times, but never beyond it. A peculiar aspect of this little spot is the large amount of very large bird droppings on the sidewalk there and on the asphalt path that joins the sidewalk. One day last week the path beckoned us to explore past the playground. As we carefully dodged the poop on the path, we crested a hill and saw a large pond! At least a dozen geese and another dozen or so ducks were in it. We watched a group take off in the direction of the playground. That explained the location of the droppings.

Granny had a nice outdoor discovery with the children on one of her days with them last week, too. The noise from a chain saw drew them out to see that a neighbor was having branches trimmed from a tree. As they watched, Granny and the students discussed the tools and the techniques and turned it into an unplanned STEM activity. Talk of leverage, momentum, energy, and more engaged the students with the show going on right in front of them. The performers enjoyed the audience as well. Afterward they presented the children with some wedges. These were taken inside Grammy’s house and used for Art.

Missing Friends

Grammy and I have been doing our best to fill in for the absence of “normal” school for these precious students. Going by the county’s brief descriptions of content to be covered in each subject area the children are getting Science, Math, Art, Music, Phys.Ed., Health, Language Arts, and Social Studies. They are not, however, having Classmates unless you count each other and us two grandmothers.

We hope to start filling in this missing piece by inviting other homeschooling families to meet up with our foursome at Chesapeake Children’s Museum next week. According to the current health guidance, outdoor activities are safe among vaccinated individuals. Masks are to be used when distance can’t be maintained.

If you are a homeschooling family please join us!

Dr. Debbie

Deborah Wood, Ph.D. is a child development specialist and founding director of Chesapeake Children’s Museum.

Register in advance for the free Homeschoolers’ Get Together at Chesapeake Children’s Museum, Thursday, December 16, 10:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Read more of Dr. Wood’s Good Parenting columns by clicking here.

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