If you’ve been following this blog or @type1diabetic_life on Instagram, you’re aware that we’ve been strictly self-isolating since March 12, 2020 for our daughter’s safety. However, LA Schools Superintendent, Austin Beutner, didn’t announce the closure of schools into effect until Monday, March 16th. Due to the unknown effects of Covid-19 with adolescent Type 1 diabetics, we took proactive necessary precautions listed in my previous blog post, Coronavirus and T1d: List of Resources.
Some call it “distance learning,” I call it what it is – homeschooling! We’re doing it as best we can and on our own time. It’s especially challenging due to the constant monitoring and managing of Coral’s BGs 24/7/365 and also caring for baby Kaila, who now refuses to take more than one nap a day at only 13 months old. Lord knows Coral constantly challenges me with her stubborn sassy attitude. Those days, I remind her, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“A doctor,” She replies with a slight pout on her face.
“Then you have to study hard, work smarter, and be persistent,” I squeeze her tightly with reassurance.
“Yes Mommy.” BOOM! Five minute tantrum averted and we’re back to work. Yes, some days just aren’t gonna happen, but most days like Monday through Friday until 2:00PM, oh you better believe we’re completing at least 10 pages in various workbooks. I’m teaching Coral that hard work and determination pays off. Both my hubs and I moved away from our families to pursue higher education and had very hard beginnings. We’re capable of providing our daughters with a good life now, but sure as heck aren’t going to nurture a self-entitled attitude. Learning should be fun and rewarding for our kiddos. We usually take 10-15 minute breaks or let Coral lead at her own pace. Also, we try to be encouraging, but not too lenient. Otherwise, she’ll totally try to take over the whole house.
Coral follows along with her class using the Zoom app on my iPad. The wireless keyboard case shown here also spins 180 degrees is no longer available, but you may like a similar brand on Amazon.
Zoom classroom sessions have been going pretty well for Coral, but after the fourth week, she’s kind of over it. She misses her friends like most kids, yet she understands why it’s dangerous especially for someone like her with an autoimmune condition, to return to school. Her teacher is with the class for the first hour from 9am most days which always brings a smile to Coral’s face. If Mrs. H ain’t there, then she don’t care. We’ll see what her school has planned for May and even August when the time comes.
I constantly remind her to keep learning – whether it’s more about her body and diabetes or math and reading. It’s so important for her to learn how to read nutrition labels so she can bolus or give herself insulin with her phone (aka medical device that allows for communication between her pump and CGM). The latter she already knows how to do under my or my husbands supervision of course. I’ll be designing worksheets with various nutrition labels and laminating them so she can fill in the amount of Total Carbohydrates, grams of fiber (if any), and any sugar alcohols. Check back in a week or two for updates.
Download the Zoom app here and search for your device (Android vs Apple iOS). Tip: Best to be close to your wifi router or get a stronger router for little distortion and interruption during video meetings.
Buy it on Amazon
Meanwhile, I’ve compiled a list of our favorite workbooks, educational games, puzzles and apps for her age group (Pre-K to Kindergarten or 3-6 years old). Most of these items are available on Amazon unless specified otherwise. I am currently in the process of earning a commission for referrals as an Amazon Associate through affiliate links such as those listed below:
Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Level 2 (Ages 3-4) – See product details in link. I like it because you can go to Hookedonphonics.com and follow along with the workbook provided throughout certain sections of the book. The online version has videos, tracing letters, and more. Even baby Kaila is learning the alphabet with Coral with all of these videos and apps mentioned. However, as of 4/31/20, she’s become bored of the easy workbook since she already knows all the alphabet. I should’ve just bought her all phonics workbooks with letter families (example: ST, AD, AG, ER sounds).
See more of our favorite homeschooling items and supplies on our Amazon Idea List here.
Learning Resources Measuring Jars – Great for T1d kiddos learning how to measure the correct amount of juice to treat their low blood glucose (BG)! Treating with too much juice can spike BGs sending them on a glucoaster.
The Learning Journey: Match It! – Match uppercase to lowercase letters in this fun alphabet memory game.
Math Dice – very similar to what her teacher taught them how to use with regular dice.
Magnetic Math Game by HABA – Helps children ages 3 and up with early math and STEM development.
Apps and Online Learning
As a very busy parent to two young children and managing Coral’s T1d non-stop, I am not worried at all if she has more than two hours of screen time. I just make up for it with workbooks and quiz her with a few questions after she’s done watching an educational video or playing a game. Just like with carbs, we do things in moderation. #screentimeismetime
Kahn Academy Kids – one of the best free apps we’ve discovered thanks to some moms at her school. I’d suggest donating to Kahn Academy Kids since they provide tons of free learning resources while homeschooling and to keep the app free. Download it on the Apple app store here. Check out Camp Kahn Kid: Nature Week here.
Epic Books – suggested by her teacher, requires child’s log in code and account provided by teacher so message them asap and get reading with your child. Sit with them and do the quizzes with them at the end of certain books, watch their points add up and see what level your child can achieve! Also works on iPad.
Scholastic Learn at Home – the UI kind of sucks, but hey, it’s free! Select your child’s grade level, read online books and watch educational videos, answer quiz at the end of each. They also offer tons of other resources while learning from home.
YouTube Kids – a separate YouTube app meant to separate the educational videos from the raunchy fictional ones. Use your own discretion. Her teacher sent us some videos from Have Fun Teaching. Dance with your kids while they sing to the alphabet and learn phonetic sounds. See other advanced animated scientific videos by Kurzgesagt like their highly educational Coronavirus or Vaccine videos. You can also search through National Geographic videos on YouTube here.
What Do We Do All Day – a mom sharing her ideas on her blog how to keep her children busy with learning activities. Check it out. It was suggested by her teacher. Here’s some good indoor activities for the kids.
I’ll be adding more as the week goes by and when time allows, but these are the best that have worked for Coral so far. Find what works best for you and your child because a parents sanity is just as important as their childs well-being. Stay safe and indoors. If heading outside even for a short walk, WEAR A MASK. Learn why on my Coronavirus post. Yes, virus can linger in the air for hours and surfaces like plastics and steel for up to three days. Let’s all be vigilant in hygiene, resourceful, and resilient during these hard times. We can do it!
Malama Pono (live well in Hawaiian),
LA Schools Updates
Monday, July 13, 2020, Update:
LA county and other major school districts across the country have announced continued distance learning for Fall 2020. See CNN coverage here. See LA Superintendent, Austin Beutner’s announcement here.
Note to Parents
If you’ve made time to read my thoroughly researched Coronavirus and T1d blog post, you are well aware that children are being affected differently by the novel coronavirus compared to teens and adults. Please stay vigilant with hand washing, sanitizing all items from outside your home, strict physical distancing, and wear masks. Masks or face coverings are mandatory for the entire state of CA per Governor Newsom’s Order as of June 2020. I’ve had quite a few parents message me on social media explaining how other parents are letting their kids continue playdates and end up in the PICU. Just because it isn’t your experience, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening or cannot happen to you and/or your child. See all CDC guidelines & learn how to venture out into nature safely here.