I know what you’re wondering: How is FUN DAY school going?!
As with most schools, I’ll bet, we’ve had our ups and downs. I’m proud to share that we’ve had an agenda EVERY SINGLE DAY, built based on schoolwork from the teachers and Zoe arranging what she wanted to tackle when (including tons of online resources many great moms have sent me – see bottom of post).
Ella, well, she is a little more challenging to wrangle, which – instead of getting better – actually got more challenging as week two went along. The PULL of Barbies was just too much for her…
All that said, about 3 days in to homeschooling it wasn’t the schoolwork that was the problem. These kids were missing KIDS. In fact, though we had set Zoe up to connect digitally with her school friends, there are actually a lot of dynamics involved in those relationships – not the least of which is the amplified effect of digital communication (miscommunication?).
Guess what? When someone “looks like they’re online”, they may not be. When they type “Ugh”, it might mean absolutely anything (and very likely nothing to do with you). And coordinating schedules with friends was never an issue before – they were all in the same place, all day long. Now? Who knows.
And so, enter ZOOM WITH ZOE & ELLA!
I woke one morning thinking we are surely not alone with this problem – and what if we connect our kids to OTHER kids, ones with whom they have no relationship expectations or friend triangles or or or?
So I set up weekday and weekend CALENDLY events where parents can book time for their kids to hang out with our kids in the “break” windows we have on our schedule:
Even better – adults can play, too! This past week we met two new puppies, met someone in LONDON (my former country manager) who taught us about the royal family, and met two KIWIS, who hosted a quiz on New Zealand. In addition, the girls wrote 5 words on flash cards and got each (Brit & Kiwi) to say them out loud: Banana, Tomato, Potato, Party and “Barf”. Best one: Party. Sounds like (hehehehehe) “Potty” in a NZ or UK accent.
If you’d like to book time with Zoe & Ella, sign up! Need more convincing? Read on!
So far they’ve met new friends in Dallas, Chicago, San Diego, DC and Portland and connected with friends and cousins in Atlanta, San Francisco, Milwaukee and also Portland. We’ve done art shows and costume contests, played Simon Says and Virtual Uno, and my very favorite The Scavenger Hunt (thanks to my friend, Erin, who is brilliant).
Here’s how the Scavenger Hunt works:
- The first kid (or parent) sets broad criteria. For example, GO FIND 3 GREEN ITEMS and bring them back.
- Each kid goes around the house finding random items that match the criteria.
- Everyone gets a chance to show their items, explain what they are and share why it fits the criteria.
- Rinse & repeat indefinitely with new criteria.
I swear this could go on for hours and is PERFECT for “kids” of all ages – particularly great for younger kids, since the criteria can be anything! It also happens to teach skills: resourcefulness, following directions, focus, colors, details, describing things, OMG.
Anyway, the best part of Zoom with Zoe & Ella (go ahead, click it, you know you want to) is that the FUN is limited by imagination only! All they want to do is connect, and I just confirmed last night that their favorite part of Fun Day School is meeting new people.
Before you worry, we leave the house for socially distanced exercise, every day, and we’ve had very grownup conversations about online safety and who “friends” are (and how to lock a room on House Party). They’re getting pretty good at adding contacts on an iPad (to know who your friends are), launching and closing a Zoom room, and how to connect on FaceTime with email or phone numbers.
You could be next.
Alright. I’ll stop selling, but if one thing is abundantly clear right now, this isolation and crisis reminds us what’s important. And (not that I eavesdrop, they’re loud) listening to two 9-year-olds talk about what’s happening in the world and how they feel about it, in a healthy, human way, is an amazing experience. This IS bad, but there IS hope.
The best we can do is make the most of the time we have and get connected for support, laughter and love.
And if you’re still wondering if any “school” happens at Fun Day school, I assure you we complete our work (almost) every day. Here’s proof (and yes, Dad & I have similar haircuts – except for the stripes in the back – and I guess that’s what a goatee looks like to a 5-year-old? and my EYEBROWS?!):
ONLINE RESOURCES (not just for kids but mostly for kids):
Fun Educational Activities
Doodle with Mo Willems
Monterey Bay Aquarium Webcam
San Diego Zoo Webcams
Books read by Celebrities
Audible – Free books for Kids
Twig Education (STEM)
Art for Kids
Brain Pop (games/activities)
Head Sprout (reading)
Education Companies = Free
Streaming Classes for Younger Kids