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If you are reading this during the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020, then you’re probably pretty anxious. At the very least, you’re probably worried that family members may have been exposed to this potentially deadly virus. Maybe you’ve caught what you think is a little cold or a stomach bug… but you’re not quite sure, and that’s creating some uncomfortable feelings.
Even if you don’t think Coronavirus is a serious concern for you, you’re still stuck at home, all day, every day. And if you have kids, you’re been tasked with the seemingly impossible. Out of nowhere, everyone expects you to become a stand-in school teacher homeschooling your children. And the teachers and schools have had to create virtual classrooms for their students on the fly.
The bad news is that the virtual classroom spontaneously created by your child’s teacher will be a way of life for the next who-knows-how-long. Even worse, as Coronavirus remains a growing threat, we may be forced to be homeschooling parents through the rest of the school year.
Each week, I’ll look at some topics about homeschooling to help those of us who are new to the situation. First, some tips to help you help your child’s teacher.
Being a Supportive Parent to Your Student’s Teacher
With the entire planet on edge as a result of the recent Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent orders to remain at home, you may be wondering how to suddenly morph into a homeschool mom’s success story. The truth of the matter is that being thrown into a homeschooling situation is going to take more than a little bit of adjustment.
First, just because you may have a good recollection of academia and excelled at school as a child yourself, does not mean that you have the patience or wherewithal to begin teaching your kids from home and doing an exceptional job at it.
Even if you feel like your teaching skills can use a bit of finessing, it’s certainly possible to pick up some pointers and tips from education experts, child psychologists, home schooling experts, and anyone who has experience in this area.
Here are some tips for easing into the role of homeschooling parents so you can help your children make the transition to virtual learning.
Establish a set schedule and stick with it.
Some parents and kids might believe that with school being out for several weeks at minimum and a good chance of it not being back in session for the remainder of the year, summer vacation’s “no routine is a good routine” is a good choice. This is possibly the worst thing you can do for your children, your family, and most of all, your sanity. Without structure and order in their daily lives, your kids (and you) can quickly become mentally restless and set on a path to avoidance and procrastination –and also cause endless anxiety and family fights. Your job as a school teacher-in-training then becomes a slippery slope situation.
Setting and sticking to a daily school-at-home schedule is one of the best things you can do for your children. We have divided the traditional school day into various segments with a variety of activities for kids to rotate each week. Starting the day at a reasonable hour gives your child a head-start on schoolwork. It also leaves time for physical activity, cultivating interests, and imaginative play for the rest of their waking hours. This ensures a good balance of activities to exercise different parts of the brain and engage both the mind and body.
Check-in frequently with teachers.
At a minimum, parents should be logging on at least once in the morning to get lesson plans from their child’s teacher(s). It helps to know what type and quantity of work your child will have to complete each day. Understanding the timeline for various assignments and projects is important too. How often you engage in addition to the daily check-in depends on the type(s) of students. The personality and preference of your children’s actual teachers also make a difference.
In addition to managing your child’s agenda, you should also keep in touch with the teacher to offer moral support. Many school teachers are making the shift into virtual learning for the first time. They may be struggling at home, trying to balance family life with their professional priorities. Teachers still have to educate our kids despite this sudden and strikingly different change in format. Some teachers may even feel self-conscious about being on video. They may not like the added pressure of working the technology while simultaneously instructing the class.
Don’t leave out “specials”.
Traditional school as we have known it for many generations has been much more than just academia. Perhaps, we take that for granted. Children need opportunities to develop their talents, express themselves creatively, and cultivate a life survival skill set. These abilities may one day help them become self-sufficient or pave the way to a thriving career or business. Music, art, gym, and computer class all help your child develop into a well-rounded individual. Home economics and woodworking supply needed life skills.
You have to include a variety of subjects in addition to the expected reading, math. science, and social studies. Especially if you’re picking up where your child’s teacher left off after the recent stay-home order. Singing and dancing, engaging in arts and crafts, and even hosting gym can all be part of their school day.
Follow the teacher’s remote schedule.
Your child’s teacher may decide to host a morning meeting, or do a bi-weekly check-in. She may ask the children to test out the chosen tech tools before a particular lesson on a certain platform. Many teachers are asking their students to arrive at their virtual meetings with prepared materials to go over and review. And they are also hosting fun and engaging activities to help kids maintain a positive attitude about their education.
Attend to your children’s details.
The level of attention that school children may receive will vary depending on each teacher and situation. It has been a tough school year where children have been fired to work from home. In light of this, your child’s teacher may be extra-sympathetic during these extenuating circumstances. She might give your child a good grade based on effort alone. However, you need to make sure your kids are managing important details so they can do a good job.
Have kids proofread their work several times before handing in assignments. If your teacher returns your children’s tests with corrections, go over them with your kids. Then try to help them understand why the mistake happened and how to avoid making the same error next time.
These tips provide a good foundation for starting homeschooling in this new situation.
Loving Life — The Reboot!