Kids burned through the entire Disney+ catalogue and it’s only July? Try this to get back into the swing of learning.

I know I should be gently nudging our days back towards something resembling structure, particularly structure of the academic variety, but with the prospect of a very, very different sort of back to school season looming over our collective heads, I haven’t had the heart to start implementing much in the way of housebreaking these fine and feral children of mine.

Actually, I take that back. I’ve started keeping a random pair of shoes that fit most of my 2 to 6 crowd, so when someone inevitably “forgets” to finish getting dressed and we have to go into, I don’t know, a gas station or someplace exotic like that, I can point to that sad, scuffed pair of hot pink Cat and Jack velcro specials and say “I don’t care if you’re a boy and very offended right now, you’re also barefoot and vaguely sticky. Shoes. on.”

It’s called standards. Look it up.

Speaking of standards, and getting back into the academic swing of things (<— flawless transition line if ever I’ve seen one), my friend Cassie created a life preserver to toss to other parents, forged in the grueling fires of corona lockdown and born of the necessity to have something – literally anything – that doesn’t involve a glowing screen to help us weather “the new normal” (gentle barfing sounds) amidst the new boutique elementary schools we’re all running in our homes.

I don’t know about you, but I’m crossing my fingers it’s business as usual come late August, but also planning for Apocalypse Then, if, you know, it comes.

Enter “SchoolBoxCo: it’s a hands on, turnkey subscription box filled with standards based, interactive lessons in four core content areas each month: English/Language Arts, Science, Engineering, and Math.

We got to preview the 2nd/3rd grade box for September, and it was descended upon by my preK, kindergartener, 3rd grader and the tag along 2-year-old as soon as it hit our porch. The soon to be fourth grader didn’t get in on the fun only because the box looked like a carcass from the elephant graveyard scene in the Lion King by the time Luke was finished “sampling” the materials, but otherwise I found it spot on age appropriate and engaging for kids between ages 5-9.

What’s funny (to me, at least) is that Cassie taught elementary school for nearly a decade and still found Lockdown: Not the Movie to be almost as traumatic as I did, who has spent nary a second even playing a teacher on tv.

We both agree that the “distance learning” thing we experienced – nay, endured – was closer to penance than progress, experientially. The battle of the screens was real, and it was intense. Especially for younger kids whose learning is so vitally hands on (or at least, it should be) the switch to laptops and zoom calls and pre recorded video content was a rough ride, and we saw attention spans and tempers fray all around.

I’ll be tucking SchoolBoxCo into my back pocket for the Fall, come what may, because having a fun and custom designed “treat” (but secretly, learning!) to dangle as a big fat carrot if they’ll just please, please finish their spelling words sounds like a good game plan. And even if we don’t end up back in domestic quarantine (please, baby Jesus), it’ll be great to have a non-netflix prize to hand out after school when the boredom bugs bite.

You can order your own SchoolBoxCo box here, and learn a little more about it here.

P.s. Between now and July 31st, new subscribers can save 15% off their first order. (Not sponsored! Just think it’s great.)

One Comment

  • jeanette

    On the subject of “back to school” here, I have a nephew whose daughter is going to enter kindergarten this year. I started thinking about the situation for her. That is such a special moment for children, whether in a classroom setting or homeschooling, it is a milestone. So, I am wondering how many children this year, especially among your readers here, will have that moment overshadowed by the protocols that will invariably be put in place if and when they go back. In the meantime, I guess it’s best for parents to set the tone for the new school year for these little ones in particular. Sometimes as a parent you can look back on things you might justly complain about in front of your children, but in retrospect you wish you didn’t do that, but then it’s too late to take back the things you say about certain situations. For all of these children to have the best foot forward, the first official days of school are the beginning of a long road for them, and the happier we are about it, the better for them. So, in spite of the total upheaval of normalcy, if you feel anxiety or annoyance or anything else on the negative spectrum of life about how this situation impacts the education of your children, do your best to see the glass as half full rather than half empty when school year starts so that you can help your children enjoy that special moment of being “grown up” enough to start kindergarten. Someday this will be behind us, but in the meantime, there is a future growing right in front of us. Enjoy it! So, Jenny, this helpful package of educational materials you mention in this blog post sounds like a great start in that direction. I hope all of you parents are more prepared for the next school year just by having survived the last one! God bless your families with a good school year ahead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *