The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on many parents trying to teach their kids while school is out.
Schools across the country are canceled or closed, some indefinitely, as COVID-19 continues to spread. This has left many parents stressed or confused about what to do with them and how to keep them learning while they’re stuck at home.
So how should parents go about homeschooling their kids? Here are some resources and tips.
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF
For many parents, teaching their kids at home is something they’ve never had to do before.
So it’s important to remember that your homeschooling techniques, whatever they are, don’t have to be perfect or like regular school, experts tell media outlets.
“You’ve been thrown into a situation that is unfamiliar and somewhat scary,” Amber Mathison, founder of the online educational resource ABC’s to ACTs, told TODAY. “Your ‘school day’ will not be perfect, and that’s OK. Just try to remember that you’re both adjusting to something new and there will be some bumps along the way.”
In a Tuesday tweet that went viral, one mom gave some encouragement to parents in this situation.
“If you keep them alive, that is sufficient,” the tweet said.
Andrew Matranga, a professor and father in Colorado, told CNN it’s “ridiculous” for parents to be expected to teach their children while still trying to work or keep up with other responsibilities.
“We just need to try to do our best, whether we’re teachers, parents or working professionals,” he said. “There’s no map for this journey that we’re on.”
Homeschooling during the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t have to be taken so seriously.
Wendy Moores, a Florida mom who has been homeschooling her college-age daughters since they were in fifth grade, told TODAY that parents should find some “outside-the-box” ways to help their kids learn.
“Grocery shopping can be lessons on everything from color, shape and sizes for the young ones to multiplication and percentages for your older ones,” she told TODAY. “Taking a long walk can be a lesson in botany or biology. And those experiences that you seek out become field trips that will be a blast and something special because you are schooling your children.”
You can also have kids do crafts or art projects with items you have around the house, CNN reports.
BREAKS AND DOWNTIME
Mathison told TODAY that regular school has breaks and “moments of downtime.”
“Remember to give them the same while they’re at home,” she told the news outlet. “Believe me, when you’re struggling through a math assignment, a quick 15-minute break can do wonders for both your patience and their ability to get through the material.”
Kids should also still be getting some outside time, like they would during recess.
“To the extent that we’re able to, get outside and go for a walk,” Kerry McDonald, author of a homeschooling book, told The Washington Post. “Recognize the ways that we can learn without schooling in our environment.”
Giving kids some freedom is a good thing, especially for parents who have to work.
“I think parents might be surprised that if they give their child more freedom, that they will find time to do things besides just playing video games,” McDonald told The Washington Post.
MAKE A SCHEDULE
It’s helpful to have a daily schedule that includes learning time, chores, meals and other activities, experts say.
Students are used to having a schedule at school, so having one at home can make the situation easier on everyone, CNN reports.
But it’s important to make sure your family’s schedule isn’t too ambitious.
“Yes, your kids are probably used to being at school for about six hours a day,” Sarah Mackenzie, Read-Aloud Revival founder, told The Washington Post. “But they aren’t doing six hours of schoolwork while they’re there.”
There are many resources to help keep kids learning while out of school.
Scholastic created a free “digital hub” for kids stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic. It includes access to “daily learning journeys” for students at four different grade levels.
Some internet companies are also offering free services for families with students.
Several authors of children’s books are hosting “read alouds” and other activities on social media, We Are Teachers reports.
Some schools may also have online resources for students or might have given the assignments to do while home, CNN reports.
“I would highly suggest that you reach out to your local school district and determine what resources, in terms of curriculum, online learning platforms, supplies, etc., are available to you,” Heather Bowen, who has a homeschooling blog, told TODAY. “Talk to your child’s teacher and find out exactly what is expected from them in terms of assignments and school work during this time.”
Source: The News Observer