School’s closed?! Now what?

If, like me, you recently found out that your child’s school will not be returning to normal programming after spring break, you are in good company! You might also be panicking a little. Am I right?

There is really no need for panic! We’ve got you covered on this! As a middle school/high school teacher and homeschooling parent with over 20 years of experience adapting lessons and maximizing each day, no matter the circumstance, THIS is right up my alley!

Today, Wholeheartedlearning.com will introduce a new tab: Home-based Learning. Under this tab, I will share daily links, printables, activities and lessons to help kids of all ages keep learning when they can not be in the classroom. Want to know the best part? The things I share will need little to no preparation by parents or caregivers, use only items you probably already have at home, and won’t require you to teach! How great is that?!? Teaching is my passion, but it doesn’t have to be yours! All of my lessons will have guidance, but will not require you to have any special knowledge, know any magical learning techniques, or know the secret teaching code. All you will need to do is provide a little supervision for younger kids and maybe help little hands. How easy is that?

Life can change rapidly! Thankfully, you are not alone, and we will find learning opportunities, joy-filled moment and lots to be curious and excited about TOGETHER!

 

 

 

Great Games to Enhance Learning

The rainy days of spring are upon us and summer vacation will soon be peeking around the corner.  As a parent, I was always looking for ways to keep my boys off their screens, if only for a while.  Board and card games can be a great way to encourage family connections, improve social skills and even support areas where kiddos may struggle in the classroom.  Let me show you what I mean!

Take the game Apples to Apples, for example. This fun word association game is a favorite with upper elementary and middle schoolers! Not only is this game great for supporting social skills, it also encourages planning, reasoning, and creative thinking.  Because kids don’t have to wait to submit their answers, kids who struggle waiting their turn to play traditional games can still be included and those kids who think outside of the box may find that kind of creative thinking is rewarded in a game like Apples to Apples. 

Did you know that taking turns is a foundational skill for conversation and communication? Often, kids on the Autism Spectrum struggle with taking turns during play and researchers believe that this may also inhibit their ability to have conversations with peers and adults.  Games for younger ages that encourage turn taking (along with other skills) include Monkey Around, by Peacable Kingdom, or Zingo, by Thinkfun. Traditional Board games like Candy Land and Hi Ho Cherry-O also reinforce turn-taking, along with color recognition and counting.

Below is a chart of some of our favorite games cross-referenced with cognitive skills they encourage.

Do you have a favorite game you like to play at home or in the classroom? Please share it in the comments!

 ReasoningMemoryNumber conceptsQuick thinkingProblem SolvingMotor SkillsSequencingVisual ProcessingCause and Effect
Acorn Soup  X  XX  
Apples to ApplesX   X    
BattleshipXX  X    
BanagramsX   X XX 
Blink XXX X X 
Bop-ItX XX X   
Candy Land       XX
Chutes and LaddersX X     X
Connect 4X XXXXX  
FluxXX XX X X
Jenga    XX XX
Last LetterXX XX XX 
Mad GabXX XX    
Oh Snap    XX  X
Perfection XXXXXXXX
Rat -a-tat CatXX XX  X 
ScrabbleX   X X  
SequenceXX  X XX 
Simon XXX XXX 
SlamwichXXXX  XXX
SlapjackXXXX  XX 
Skip-Bo  X   XX 
Snug As a Bug In a RugXXX  XXXX
Spot It X     X 
SuspendX   XX XX
What’s Gnu    X XX