Getting your child in school mode after a long break

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo - CDN Digital | January 04,2020 - 07:13 AM

January 2 may have been the first day that majority work force got back to  their daily grind but January 6 is when pandemonium will really break lose. 

Traffic situation in northern Cebu, particularly in the towns of Consolacion and Liloan, was a nightmare during the holidays. It will continue to be so as students will hurdle the last stretch of the school year this 2020. 

At home, I have been preparing my three children to get back to “school mode” by reading flash cards and injecting Filipino and Science discussions in our “guessing games” and movie nights. Doing so will prepare their minds to get back in the saddle that is school work. 

How are we doing it at home? 

Dancing on movie breaks 

Our children have had enough of YouTube and Netflix the last two weeks especially when they binge watched episode after episode of Little Einsteins or Boss Baby or watched all three Home Alone movies while there is unlimited spaghetti for them to devour. 

If you allow them to still watch movies today, Saturday, before the “big day,” then limit the viewing to two to three movies only. Anything beyond that will turn them into an addict. 

This is their last hurrah so you are not a bad parent if you let them watch those movies. But make sure that they are not just couch potatoes who let the gadgets take over their mobility. 

Make sure that they have time to move around, jump, skip and turn. You can do this by introducing dance as their break. There are fun, easy and interactive zumba routine that you can search on YouTube that will get them moving. Bonus tip: look for “Beautiful Life” and “Better When I’m Dancing” as they work for younger children between the ages of three to seven years old. 

Reading practice through flash cards 

I wish every child is like my six-year-old Antoinette who “studies” even on school breaks. She picks up a textbook and reviews the lesson where they left off last year so she can be ready for January 6. She does this without being told to do so. Her brothers though are not as enthusiastic about going back to school. They prefer rough-housing, running around the village, watching dinosaur shows and spending time with the stray cat. Because boys, in general, can easily distracted, I devised a way to let them practice “reading” without getting intimidated with textbooks or even large storybooks. 

I was seven months pregnant while taking care of my two-year-old twins when I was completing my degree in Language and Literacy Education and in that stretch of time I learned the importance of “sight words” in teaching children how to read. 

Sight words are words which children memorize to help them read and write. It works wonders for us! Do this by making flash cards, one word every card, which they can just whip out any time. Learning sight words gives the child the ability to recognize the words at a glance without using any decoding technique such as sounding every letter to read a complete word.

Storytelling with Math 

We have a modified charades game at home. Guess what animal, event, song title, person is this using sounds and actions. Recently, we added Math in the game too. No flash cards because I have had enough of cutting and laminating when I worked on the sight words. I just have a board where I tell a story and then I draw, for example, seven apples in a tray and then JJ ate three of them, how many are left? I make up relatable scenarios so it is easier for children to be in the situation. They go about their lives with cats and dogs around them, strawberry sandwiches to make and dishes to wash so I let those become part of the narrative. Make the story fun by adding talking animals and animating non-living things. But make it realistic by including common things that they can find at home such as cans of corned beef, trays of eggs or loaves of bread.

Teaching spelling on the beach 

If you’re like us who are spending their last weekend before classes resume, then make the sand as your ally in teaching then how to spell. 

Armed with their shovels and buckets, get your children in competitive mood by engaging them in a spelling sand game. Start with short words such as bat, can or pot and then go to longer words later on. They can easily do this when they know sight words. It is going to be an active day as they spell out the words using the sand and seawater as their “writing materials.” 

I have more tips in my Mommy blog, Reading Ruffolos, to help them get back to “school mode” after the long break. Do drop by to check them out and let me know how else can we help each other bring out the best in our children.

School can be boring to children. The thought of going back to school can be daunting to many of them. But if you instill fun in the learning process and utilize unconventional and unexpected methods to teach them subject areas or life skills, then they will realize that school is not boring at all. 

Let learning be about experience and not just about pencil and paper. You will see magic unfold without the need for a wand. 

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TAGS: CDN Digital opinion, Cebu columnists, columnist Cris Evert Lato Ruffolo, Getting your child in school mode after a long break, Nanay Says

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