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lulalu

Schooling on the go

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Help me brainstorm some ways to school on the go. We walk and take public transportation a lot, almost daily. How can I include some school as we go? Basically I can't lug books around. So it needs to be done orally or with an ipod. Ds will be in 2nd. And 5 days a week he has language lessons that take a 20 minute walk to and then 20 minutes back. How can I use that time? 

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Work on memory work, practice math facts, listen to music, practice spelling.

For a second grader though, unless you are gone so much that it’s interfering with getting schoolwork done, it’s ok to just enjoy the walk and see what there is to see. 

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13 minutes ago, Rachel said:

For a second grader though, unless you are gone so much that it’s interfering with getting schoolwork done, it’s ok to just enjoy the walk and see what there is to see. 

There is just cement, garbage, and 20 million other people to see.... No, this time does need to be utilized well because it is a significant amount of time each week. And boring time when ds begins to whine. 

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I like Rachel's list.  I'd add in physical work if you can manage it- learning how to skip, practicing hopping, etc. You could also download mp3s of things like SOTW and let your kid listen to the story before expanding on it at home, listening to the same chapter 2-3x a week, half on your walk to and half on your walk from.  If you can manage it, I might include reading the book Understood Betsy at home this year.  The first part of the book has a part that touches on learning to observe that is very applicable to your walk and could inspire you more.

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Maybe some picture study?  Get Art Cards in a portable size - study them on the bus/subway - then discuss while walking.

Do recitation/memory work?  Learn some longer pieces

Practice Phonemic Awareness?  David Kilpatrick has a big book of exercises that can be done in a few minutes.  I've just taken a picture of the page that we're on and use that instead of lugging the book with us.

ETA:  maybe do oral narrations while you walk? ..... Or listen to classical music?  The podcast, Classics for Kids? .... There are lots of podcasts that could fill the time.

Edited by domestic_engineer
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oh! another idea .... build their auditory memory ..... Say a sequence of (numbers, words, letters), then have DC repeat it.  You can increase the difficulty by increasing the items in the list or by making DC repeat the list forward & backward.  It might be helpful to be prepared & have your lists written down ... just in case someone *cough cough* forgets what they just dictated.  Just sayin'. 😄 (also people sell such lists for building auditory memory if you don't want to make your own up.)

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You could do Ray's Arithmetic orally. Take along a tablet or print a booklet. If you're in the US take a simple print of the US map and starting with your own state have him start memorizing the states around you and gradually expand out. Add capitals if you want.

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We use car time to listen to audiobooks, you could use walking time to do the same. It would be more individualistic on earphones, but still valuable. 

I get most of mine through our library downloads. It sounds like you aren’t in the US, but maybe you can get a US library card somehow. 

Here is a link I found, I can’t verify the info though. https://weightywords.net/best-non-resident-library-cards-for-overdrive-access/

Edited by Rachel
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Model curiosity

Foster observation skills

Work on mental math 

Memorize a poem

Tell him a story 

Have him tell you a story

Dream together

Enjoy each other

Edited by EKS
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OP- have you considered swapping “time slots”?  What I mean is let the commute be his free time to do as he wishes, but then when he’s home and would typically be on his own, you do school for 40 minutes. 

Doing school on the go can have the best intentions and expectations, but in reality it can be so unpredictable ... DC’s mindset, environmental distractions (temperature, noise, visual), etc.

or do a blend of both ideas ... first 10 minutes of the commute is school on the go. Second half is free time. Then you’re incentivizing the free time too. 

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I like @EKS's list for a 2nd grader. 

When my grad student ds was in middle and high school, he would push my now 9 yod in the stroller while he and I would walk for about an hr. We would use that time to discuss literature, history, or other subjects. But, we also used that time for me to listen to his thought-experiments and theories. (He spent hrs writing out thought experiments.  He was a theory guy even back then. (Not surprising he is in grad school for theoretical cosmology.)  

Those walks with him are amg my most precious parental memories. He would talk and talk and I would mostly just listen bc he was so far beyond me. But, I would ask questions for him to explain things more clearly or to compare different things he had shared. 

Never did I think about our walks as required school time. They were something he really looked forward to. (When you are smack middle in a gaggle of siblings, undivided mom attention is precious.) But, he has shared that those walks were part of what inspired him to pursue what he is now doing.  

Pt is......mom-directed, mom-controlled is not the only educational approach of value. Sometimes just listening to them and asking questions to understand what they are thinking is the most important job we have.

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I’ve seen people practice piano on the subway, but this was Beijing China. There’s plenty of worksheets to be done while sitting down,  etc. I’m a very lazy person and parent and would much rather admire the piano-practicing and people watch than do any actual work with my kids 😬

We make heavy use of audiobooks, and worksheets reinforcing whatever you are learning at home take a few minutes. (And only a few minutes is all my kid can stand) I have a 30 min walk to school and back for DD this fall and I think we will just do little scooter races 😉 

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I think if it isn't a huge amount of time, @EKSis a really great way to go. FWIW, we don't learn in the car or walking because that's when we talk, and that talking is some of the best time of our week. Usually, the kids notice something and then ask questions, and I tell what I know, and they tell what they know, and we try to make predictions, etc. Sometimes we end up with questions that we follow up with when we get home. 

Now, if we were traveling for 2 hours each day, I'd probably feel differently. Also, we're so driven at home, that the down time of traveling is a big delight. My kids fight over who gets to be in the middle seat in the car so they can hear what mom has to say (and the ones in the back say, "Mom, talk louder!"). 

Sometimes I'll read something interesting and then make a mental note to talk about it, like if I've read an article about ecology or economics. Frequently they get excited about the article I've told them about and then choose to read it when we get home. They often ask for stories about my childhood and I tell one if I can think of a new one.

One trait I'm proud of in my, and in my extended family in general, is our ability to ask questions that lead other people to talk to us. We're curious, and experts love talking about what they love with people who care. Once, I went to a 100-year-old tea restaurant in Boston and was given a complete set of the restaurant's china FOR FREE because the person in charge was so excited by the series of educated questions I asked. I am trying to train this ability to see, care, and ask in my children, also. After a walk, we often talk about things we noticed and the kids are often amazed by what I saw that they missed. It makes life much more full.

Emily

 

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Ok, so you all are imagining a nice pleasant traveling time. It isn't that at all. Just talking is what we do now. However, on days errands need to be done, or we go somewhere traveling time adds up fast! Some days 3 hours split up of travel can happen. Right now my ds listens to music or audiobooks when I know it will be a long day. For sure each day this fall will have a 40 minute walk, dodging traffic, bumping people, looking out for street animals' faeces. He gets bored and whines a lot..... 

 

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39 minutes ago, lulalu said:

Ok, so you all are imagining a nice pleasant traveling time. It isn't that at all. Just talking is what we do now. However, on days errands need to be done, or we go somewhere traveling time adds up fast! Some days 3 hours split up of travel can happen. Right now my ds listens to music or audiobooks when I know it will be a long day. For sure each day this fall will have a 40 minute walk, dodging traffic, bumping people, looking out for street animals' faeces. He gets bored and whines a lot..... 

 

If just conversing is not what you want, how about using it as a time to teach him to pay attention to details?  How many minutes for a light to change?  How long to walk across the street? How many people cross the street in a single light? How many cars?  Architectural details?  Colors? etc.  Being able to assess a scenario and take in minute details and process them quickly is a skill.  He can start training his mind to pay attention to details that most people completely ignore.  Think Sherlock/Psyche/Monk.......

 

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I saw on Supernanny once, she made a little map and put a little boy in charge of giving directions.  It was for this kind of situation, where they needed to walk and he was not cooperative and it made it very stressful for the mom.  

Edit:  it’s like the pp said, she wanted to help the little boy be more engaged with what they were doing.

”being a helper” can be a good strategy a lot, anything where he can help you or be in charge of something like directions (or anything else).  

Edited by Lecka
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1 hour ago, lulalu said:

Ok, so you all are imagining a nice pleasant traveling time. It isn't that at all. Just talking is what we do now. However, on days errands need to be done, or we go somewhere traveling time adds up fast! Some days 3 hours split up of travel can happen. Right now my ds listens to music or audiobooks when I know it will be a long day. For sure each day this fall will have a 40 minute walk, dodging traffic, bumping people, looking out for street animals' faeces. He gets bored and whines a lot..... 

 

That's tough!  You're right that I was imagining something more serene than you experience!  But it sounds like a tough environment to get schooling in, too.

Perhaps googling Car Games to get some ideas to avoid the boredom/whining?  (I Spy, Car Bingo, etc.  My mom played a Spelling game with us on car trips .... Player A spells a word, then Player B must spell a word that begins with the last letter than Player A said, and so on.). An electronic device with logic/strategy games on it?  (Rush hour, chess, etc.)

You could make "Cootie Catchers" at home with review concepts under the flaps.  Then play with them on the commute.

...and then from my lazy side .... just give up on schooling for those 40 minutes each day and do a few hours of school on Saturday --- you might be more productive in that uninterrupted Saturday block of time than your daily, stop-n-go commute.

 

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33 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I saw on Supernanny once, she made a little map and put a little boy in charge of giving directions.  It was for this kind of situation, where they needed to walk and he was not cooperative and it made it very stressful for the mom.  

Edit:  it’s like the pp said, she wanted to help the little boy be more engaged with what they were doing.

”being a helper” can be a good strategy a lot, anything where he can help you or be in charge of something like directions (or anything else).  

When my three kids were at those tough ages where they were too big for the cart and not big enough to just walk along with me at the grocery store behaving, I would give them assignments at the grocery store. Can you find the giant can of x brand green beans? Look for the poster with the horse. Remind  me not to forget toilet paper. Count how many black tiles are in aisle 7. 

I could imagine doing something similar walking in my town. Count the sidewalk squares on this block. Is that more or less than the previous block? Windows, buildings, yellow cars, people with backpacks, birds, or whatever could be counted and compared. If a busy city you could look for license plates from different states or use the letters from a plate as a word scramble to see how many words you can make. 

If the environment is such that he doesn’t have to stay right next to you, you could have him run ahead two buildings and then skip back to you. Then on the next one hop on the left foot ahead a building and hop on the right one back. Keep repeating until he’s worn out. 

I certainly understand him being bored with the same routine daily and 3 hours of errand running is a lot even if it’s not daily. It’s ok for a kid to be bored, but the whining would bother me. When I first started going on longer hikes with my kids we would have special treats they only got if they didn’t whine. Now they can hike fairly long distances and not need treats, and they don’t whine. I can’t point to any one thing I did to get them to stop whining, but a combination of many different did help. 

Good luck!

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Another idea, Brainquest makes cards and flip books.  We have carried a grade-level set with us before when out and about.  The cards can fit in a large purse and you can fan them out to ask questions from

Edited by HomeAgain
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2 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

If just conversing is not what you want, how about using it as a time to teach him to pay attention to details?  How many minutes for a light to change?  How long to walk across the street? How many people cross the street in a single light? How many cars?  Architectural details?  Colors? etc.  Being able to assess a scenario and take in minute details and process them quickly is a skill.  He can start training his mind to pay attention to details that most people completely ignore.  Think Sherlock/Psyche/Monk.......

 

I have trained him to look for faeces! 😂 

My dh does a lot with observation. I should too. 

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2 hours ago, lulalu said:

Ok, so you all are imagining a nice pleasant traveling time. It isn't that at all. Just talking is what we do now. However, on days errands need to be done, or we go somewhere traveling time adds up fast! Some days 3 hours split up of travel can happen. Right now my ds listens to music or audiobooks when I know it will be a long day. For sure each day this fall will have a 40 minute walk, dodging traffic, bumping people, looking out for street animals' faeces. He gets bored and whines a lot..... 

 

I actually wasn't imagining an idyllic travel time. I live in an inner city and currently live in a city with plenty of poop on the ground. In such a situation, I hold my son's hand (he's 7) and tell stories. Three hours is a lot; I'd probably try to get in some foreign language practice then if you have one. For the bus, I'd keep doing the audiobooks because I don't like buses, they are disruptive and loud. But I still go for observing and talking while walking. But with bumping people and dodging traffic, learning to observe is great and means you have tons of opportunities.

Here are some How many stray animals did he see on the walk (are they the ones who poop?)? How many buses? Did he see any double buses? (For a while my son had a running count of how many "two-trucks" he'd seen in his life - he started each new freeway drive from where he'd left off the previous time.) Does he see security cameras? Notice any patterns? Does he notice patterns in what people wear? What does he think people's clothing means? When does the garbage truck come? Can he tell from the state of garbage cans? What does he predict about when the garbage truck will come next and can he remember to test that prediction? What types of birds does he see on the street? Where do the pigeons congregate? Can he tell without seeing a pigeon? Where do the police stay? Why does he think they are there? etc etc etc

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44 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

Another idea, Brainquest makes cards and flip books.  We have carried a grade-level set with us before when out and about.  The cards can fit in a large purse and you can fan them out to ask questions from

Totally forgot about those! Thanks. 

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