by Christina Yeager
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools to close around the country. Parents now find themselves wondering what they should do. Most likely, 98% of the American population does not, hasn’t ever or has never even thought of homeschooling. However, Americans are now faced with the possibility to ‘school at home’ for now, at least until public school schedules are back on track. For families with internet access, this task can be made easy. There are endless resources online to aid grades K - 12. But...before picking something and going with it, care to take some advice on starting school at home?
Uncharted territory doesn’t have to make you uncomfortable! With a little guidance, teaching children in the home becomes having children teach themselves. By letting them work at their own pace, it feels a bit less like traditional school. This could be an advantage!
Having a student learn at home during pandemic school closures shouldn’t be a daunting task. Kick-off home learning by finding ideas that work and continue to reward!
Ditch the Schedule
Placing a schedule on learning seems like the right thing to do, however, just because public schools use this structure doesn’t mean it will work at home. And it most likely won’t. Instead, set aside a few hours during the day between certain times where someone in the household - parents, older sibling, etc. - can be available in case help is needed.
Monitor Online Learning
The internet is a big scary environment for adults! Protecting our children is a priority. Don’t let the thought of your children learning from online sources scare you away from the idea. The key to making it work and keeping it safe is simple:
Use Different Media Styles
Boredom and stale learning can be avoided by utilizing various media sources. Video, worksheets, reading, experiments and learning games can be essential to keeping lessons fresh and exciting. Use a few of the methods:
Repeating Instruction is Fine
Ease a student into the idea of learning at home by beginning with subject material they already know. Encourage them to challenge themselves to see what they remember! This will help to get the learner going and make them more comfortable and ease them into the process of being taught at home.
Have Conversations Instead of Testing
Some will argue that testing is overrated. However, if you can be quizzed on what you learn, how can you tell if you have learned at all? There are numerous ways to evaluate what a student has learned. One way is to talk about it! It may not sound very exciting or sufficient, but be assured...it helps! Sit down with your children at the end of the day (can be used as a dinnertime conversation) and simply ask them what they learned today. Listen to what they say carefully. This will give an idea of how to better structure their lesson-time and adjust what to assign.
Include Hands-on Projects
Don’t forget to plan some interesting experiments for fun! Fun should always be a part of learning. It helps to relax the student and gives them something to look forward to. A great time to schedule projects at the end of the learning time.
Go for it!
Start out simple! Ease into instruction. Kids are already on edge with abrupt closures and worry about the health of family, missing their friends and then the boredom sets in. Light conversations about how children are feeling right now as they break away from their normal schedule will give you a general idea of how much they can handle. Spring Break and Summer break are always expected, not surprise vacations due to a pandemic. Listen to what the children are saying, ask them what they were working on and move ahead with your learning at home plan accordingly.
Watch for more Schooling at Home During Closures advice, tips and resources!
Have anything to add? We would love to know how your family is handling home learning.