I am a parent, just like many of you, and when I heard schools would be closed for 3 weeks, I immediately wondered what would be expected of us in reference to our children’s education. I also need to mention, that I am a teacher as well, and I wondered what would be expected of me from my parents. Right away, my email and classroom communication apps were flooded with links, apps, sites, packets and so on. I even sent out a few to my parents as well.
“I got this!” I thought to myself. “This will be easy!”
My girls (ages 8, 7 and 4) were loving the time we set aside every day for studies, for homework and for exploring websites. We participated in many online zoom classes and chats, did our reading and completed whatever we could of worksheets and workbooks we had. For my girls, it was fun. For me, as a mother and educator, it was fun…
... and sometimes, it was a lot.
We made it work, and I didn’t stress or feel obligated to mandate hours of schoolwork from my kids. When all was said and done, I didn’t worry about my children regressing in school after a couple of weeks. I thought I would much rather see them smile, and hear them laugh than fight over completing a writing assignment or memorizing their math facts.
We are in a time in history where our kiddos will be telling their children about their experiences during this pandemic. A friend sent me something yesterday, paraphrased, “How they feel will remain with them long after the memories of what they did.” This sat with me and I thought, so why not provide them with feelings of hope, faith, and love? Why not support their little inquisitive minds with positive experiences?
Fast-forward two weeks later, and we find out schools are closed for the year.
Administrators and educators are coming together to plan for a future of online learning and parents are eagerly awaiting word from their school districts. This is new to EVERYONE and will be an adjustment.
One positive thing that has come from all of this is watching families and communities come together to support one another, even with the social isolation 6-foot rule in place. So many new ideas and experiences have been shared via the internet, which we thankfully have!
One positive thing that has come from all of this is watching families and communities come together to support one another.
One particular “event” taking place during the past week or so, is families “Going on a Bear Hunt!" My daughters and I made binoculars out of toilet paper rolls, packed our backpack and put on our hunting hats! Whether you choose to walk or drive as you hunt for bears, it ends up being a lot of fun and discovery for all! So many local neighborhoods are participating and many have taken it to a different level and just making it a “safari hunt."
|We spotted that bear in the upstairs window!|
If you have never heard of this before, by now, you’re probably wondering what the heck is it? Ask your child, they will definitely know. The story “ We’re Going on a Bear Hunt," written by Michael Rosen, is a sure favorite in many classrooms all over the world! It absolutely is in mine! If you’ve never read it, or heard of it, go on Youtube and listen to an audio of it. You’ll also find songs and dances to go along with this amazing read.
Basically, a family goes through obstacles as they are going on a bear hunt and it's catchy because of the repetitive verses in the story. My girls and I found ourselves singing and repeating the verses as we went on our hunt. So, if you are driving or walking through your neighborhood, and you spot bears (or animals) in people’s windows, then you already know what this community event is.
Make it fun, take your kids out, go walking, driving, and see how many bears you can hunt in your neighborhood. Grab those little moments and make those memories. Remember, you aren't stuck at home, you are SAFE at home!
Remember, you aren't stuck at home, you are SAFE at home!
They are happy, they are loved and they will remember how they feel for years to come, even after this all passes!
Some Bear Hunt participating neighborhoods: Grande View Estates, Ballantrae, Wynlake, Shelby Farms, Olde Weatherly, Riverwoods, Camden Cove Weatherly, Windstone, Oak Park Lane, Valleybrook, Silver Creek, Chinaberry, Autumn Ridge, Kingwood, Saddle Lake Farms.
(Editor's Note: Don't see your neighborhood listed? Jump on your neighborhood Facebook page and organize one! Or take a drive and explore another neighborhood.)
Easter is right around the corner and because of social isolation recommendations, egg hunts have been canceled. That doesn’t mean the fun has to end! Keep your ears and eyes open! Many people are putting up decorated eggs in their windows so that kiddos can still hunt for Easter eggs. If your neighborhood hasn’t started one yet, plan it! Click HERE to find out how!
Thank you so much to local mom, Victoria Qaqish, for sharing your experience with the readers of Macaroni Kid South Birmingham!
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Macaroni Kid South Birmingham is a free weekly e-newsletter and website focused on fun family events and things to do with kids in the South Birmingham region. We gather together all kinds of local family events and activities each week, and add useful information about classes, family-focused businesses, book and product reviews, recipes, crafts, school and camp guides and more. We proudly serve families in downtown Birmingham, Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover, Pelham, the Oak Mountain and 280 area, Helena and Alabaster.