Thanks to COVID-19, the school’s closed in spring, and parents were forced to become de facto teachers for the rest of the year. What many quickly learned was that teachers are underpaid, and that trying to educate their children while working or working from home is a struggle.
Just like a teacher, you need to have a game plan for the day to survive. Creating a structure and routine to each day will help kids understand that school isn’t over, it’s merely changed locations. A schedule will help you block time for specific activities, and build in times of the day that will allow you to still do your job.
The schedule you create needs to take into account what and when your child’s school is offering in terms of online coursework. It also should be age-appropriate. What you do with a five-year-old will be remarkably different than a schedule for a 15-year-old. The day should include traditional schoolwork, as well as breaks and blocks of time for creative, fun activities. The more your schedule mirrors their school schedule, the less disruptive homeschooling will be. Online schedule-making tools can help you plan out your new routine.
While schools are doing their best to adapt to the situation, it’s a bit like the Wild Wild West when it comes to how each is trying to conduct school virtually. Many are using Zoom for virtual lessons, offer set “office hours” each day to answer student questions and keep in touch via email and text. Despite trying to offer the curriculum that was originally planned virtually, there are usually gaps of time left to fill. Thankfully, a lot of resources are available out there for parents to supplement formal education.
“Parents and teachers are facing an unprecedented challenge and are quickly adjusting to a new normal. Education is going virtual. Now, more than ever, is the time to try new online resources that can help pick up the slack,” said Ethan Fieldman, CEO of Math Nation. “Online math learning services, such as Math Nation, not only help your child excel but also bring structure and a sense normalcy—teachers can assign standards-aligned videos and assignments for each at-home school day.”
If you’re looking to add more school lessons into the mix, consider the non-profit Khan Academy or Scholastic Magazine, which offers projects for a variety of different age groups. Math Nation is offering free online access until the end of August. For younger children, ABC Mouse offers reading, math, science and art lessons.
Now is a great time to teach your kids things beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic as so many cultural institutions are offering free virtual content. Some of the best museums in the world including London’s British Museum, Paris’ Musée d’Orsay, and Florence’s Uffizi Gallery have virtual online tours of their collections. Top Opera Houses worldwide are streaming concerts, and many top Broadway shows are giving you a virtual center stage seat. Perhaps it will inspire your kids to want to create their own music, which they can do virtually with Chrome Music Lab, or unleash their inner Van Gogh with a variety of online art projects.
With everyone being cooped up at home, it’s extremely important to incorporate some phy ed. into your lesson plan. Family dance parties using TikTok are a worldwide phenomenon and a great way to burn off energy for the kids and calories for Mom and Dad. Plan a hike, bike ride, or even just a neighborhood walk to get moving and get outside.
If you’re finding it too hard to balance schooling and working from home, or if you are still working outside the home, using a tutoring service like The House can be a lifesaver. During this time they offer virtual tutoring from first grade through college. Additionally, they have online test prep for students who still need to study for exams like the ACT and SAT.
Let’s face it, it’s a weird new world we’re currently living in and we’re all learning to navigate it. Thankfully, with all the resources available online, you can ensure that your kids won’t miss a (school) beat and stay sane in the process.