Family comes up with fun-filled themed days to enhance eLearning at home

What started as an idea for a fun, stay-at-home spring break for Jason and Megan White and their twins has become so much more during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each week, the family picks a new theme or topic to explore and comes up with different activities, experiments, games and crafts to do together while remaining at home.

“It has been fun to find out what each week’s learning theme would be and to focus our activities around those themes,” Megan said.

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This week is all about nature.

On Monday, Piper and Declan, who are kindergarten students at Seymour-Jackson Elementary School, made leaf rubbings.

Last week, they studied animals, including flamingos, walruses, penguins, pandas and armadillos. They even were able to visit the Indianapolis and Cincinnati zoos virtually.

Other lessons have been on cooking, space, water and even going on treasure and scavenger hunts.

“We’ve had so much fun and learned a lot, too,” Piper said.

Both Jason and Megan have been working remotely from home for the past six weeks and have been helping Piper and Declan with their eLearning lessons for school. But they wanted their kids to have more enrichment to supplement their schoolwork and to keep their minds off of everything going on around them.

“They definitely miss their teacher and their friends and going to school,” Megan said. “But this has been a great way for them to learn and for us to spend time together doing things they enjoy.”

The family decided to continue what they had started in March when they were unable to travel for spring break. Instead of spending time with extended family and visiting an aquarium and perhaps a museum that week, a staycation was in order to protect themselves and those around them.

When trying to think of what they could do at home, Declan suggested writing some ideas down on pieces of paper and pulling them from a jar.

Megan thought it was a brilliant idea, but instead of just listing an activity, she came up with different themes that included multiple fun things to do to keep them entertained and engaged all day.

A lot of the ideas came from the internet and from teacher friends, Megan said.

“Once we started and posted what we were doing on Facebook, a lot of people would suggest things and send me links to different resources, so that was great,” she said. “Nothing was difficult, so anybody could do it.”

Spring break week consisted of days for science, exercise, games, camping and art. It kept the kids busy, happy and away from mindless use of the television, tablets and video games, Megan said.

On Art Day, they took a virtual trip through the São Paulo Museum of Art, learned from master artist Bob Ross by watching a couple of online videos, made their own drawings, paintings and pottery and even assembled their own art gallery.

“It was my favorite,” Declan said.

For Camping Day, they had an outdoor picnic, visited the forestry in Brownstown to hike, made homemade fishing poles to catch Goldfish crackers, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire, did some stargazing and camped in tents in their home.

During Game Day, Megan and Jason emphasized games that encouraged the kids to use their minds, such as board games, puzzles, playing charades, minute-to-win-it games and Legos. They also played hide and seek and solved a mystery.

With eLearning wrapping up Thursday for Seymour Community School Corp., the Whites don’t know what their summer break will look like.

“But we will continue to find some fun ways to stay active and keep learning,” Megan said.