Learning at Home

It’s been a long time since I sat at circle time, put words in the pocket chart or led the line down the hall to music class; but I still miss Kindergarten.  I have spent these years loving and playing with grandchildren, and I am missing them so much during this time of social distancing.

My email and Facebook stream are filled today with wonderful suggestions of how parents can spend this time with their children – all the skills and types of learning that they can reinforce.  Pinterest provides an amazing wealth of tried and true lesson plans and learning materials.  But even though so much is available I decided to share some of the ideas I have been emailing to my daughter to do with Nora and Max who are 7 and 6, and at home missing out on 2nd grade and Kindergarten.

All parents are asked to keep reading to their children.  Research shows that it is the most important thing you can do.  I thought it might be helpful to share a few ways to discuss a book you read with your child, or one that your child is reading on his or her own.  It’s helpful to see how much they really understand.


Of course sometimes kids just want to hear the story.  You might want to pick out a few questions or check in with them part way through the story to see how well they are comprehending.

Another easy thing to do is to keep track of the weather.  There is no right or wrong way to do it – you could make a weather “clock” out of a paper plate with pictures of sun, snow, wind, rain, etc. around the outside.  Then cut out one or two “hands” that you can turn to the appropriate weather every day.  Fasten the hands to the middle of the plate with a brad fastener.  Or you might want to graph the weather:

There is really no such thing as a typical child in any grade.  In Kindergarten there was a huge range in the skills had when they began school.  Every classroom is also different, and although the school year is more than half over it’s impossible to guess what they are working on.  I started out by asking my daughter to do a few things to get an idea of where her Kindergartner is as far as alphabet recognition, sounds, writing, sight words, numeral recognition, etc. It’s hard for me to know what ideas I can give her until I had more of an idea what skills he is confident with.  This is true for all children, but Nora is very verbal and loves to read, so I had more of an idea where she is and what she might enjoy.

I asked my daughter to ask Max to read these lower case letters.  You can tell how confident your child is by how they read each letter.  I included 2 different types of the letters a and g.


I also asked him to write both upper and lower case letters.

To get an idea of how well he can write phonetically (sound spell) I asked him to label these animals.

Then I sent him this sheet where he could look for things around the house that begin with each letter, and draw and write in each box.

I also asked my daughter to have Max write numerals 0-20.  All of this gave me a good idea about his skills and confidence.

No matter what activities you are doing with your child they are constantly learning and growing.  Repeating activities or practicing skills they already know helps them gain confidence.  Your child will give you cues about what they enjoy working on and things they need to work on.  If you introduce something they are not ready for it is fine to stop and do something else.

After these assessment activities I started sending my daughter ideas of things to do with both children.  I will share some of these ideas soon.  I just want to encourage all of you to take a deep breath, smile at your child often, give lots of hugs and encouragement, and enjoy this gift of time.



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pat
    Mar 23, 2020 @ 11:54:28

    Thank you! This will help with remote learning for our kindergartners.


  2. Leah Mullins
    Mar 23, 2020 @ 15:16:03

    Thanks for sharing!

    On Sun, Mar 22, 2020 at 6:04 PM Kindergarten Nana wrote:

    > dbsenk posted: “It’s been a long time since I sat at circle time, put > words in the pocket chart or led the line down the hall to music class; but > I still miss Kindergarten. I have spent these years loving and playing > with grandchildren, and I am missing them so much dur” >


  3. Annamaria Zilio
    Mar 25, 2020 @ 08:53:37

    I like your work very much! This is a really difficult time for us in Italy, our children are worried and scared, some of the little ones do not want to sleep alone, because they fear to not see their parents when they wake up. So it’s up to us teacher too , to give a help and a support with something nice to do.
    Thank you, you gave me few ideas!!!


  4. dbsenk
    Mar 25, 2020 @ 08:56:29

    My heart goes out to you Annamaria. Here in American we are just beginning to see how treacherous this virus is. So grateful teachers like you are reaching out to help the children and families. I am honored to share ideas.


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