In a traditional, brick and mortar classroom, rainy days are movie days. Substitute days are often movie days. Days when the teacher is feeling under the weather or has to complete a great deal of professional work? Movie days.
That doesn’t work in a virtual classroom. Unfortunately, no matter how you slice it, children are expected to work Monday through Friday…or five days a week, however that arrangement works out best for your family. Monday through Friday is really, really encouraged. Sure, you get eight and a half hours of “supplemental” time each week; but if you take them all in one fell swoop, you’re going to end up with kids who are overwhelmed and rushed the rest of the week. That means that taking an entire day off just to watch movies is, unfortunately, out of the question.
However, you can play a movie day for your kids anyway—a day that feels like a break in the middle of the week even when in reality, they might be able to get even more done than usual.
Plan it out ahead of time.
Let them know what’s coming, and that there will be a day when they need to get their work done a little bit earlier—or, recognize that it’s even more of a treat if they don’t have to worry so much about getting all of their work done. Obviously, this is something that you pull out when your kids are dead on track or even a little bit ahead, not behind; however, allowing them a little bit of freedom in a day can change the track of the entire week.
Get creative with your timing.
If you have a younger child at home, you may have to pick and choose the times when you watch certain movies—even movies that your older children enjoy and watch with no problems. Naptime may be a great time to do this, or while you are engaging your younger child in another activity.
Make it an educational movie.
Supplemental time, right? If nothing else, your kids are learning as they watch. Consider Magic School Bus or some of the Discovery Channel movies available on Netflix. Or, if your kids have been learning about a particular book that happens to come in movie form–Little Women, for example–you can watch that as part of a lesson.
Make it a special treat.
Kids quickly become bored with things that they know to expect, even if it’s just once a week. Sure, they look forward to it, but they don’t enjoy it as much when it comes regularly as they will when it comes once in a blue moon. Make it a reward for good behavior, or for getting extra work done over the course of the week, or just a treat on a hard week.
Turn it off if they get restless.
Sometimes, kids just aren’t that interested in the movie…or they would really rather be playing outside…or they don’t have the attention span to sit and watch it at precisely that moment. All of that is okay. Don’t make it a punishment, though—just move on to another activity.