[EN] 5 Tips for Homeschooling During the Lockdown
Best practices from teachers to parents.
You can do this! And don’t let others tell you otherwise.
With schools closed, parents find it overwhelmingly hard to organize their daily lives, but there is one thing to keep in mind: schools will reopen! And everything will go back to normal.
In the meantime, we would like to share some tips we collected from our amazing community to help you navigate through these new circumstances.
Playing 99math over a video chat.
Photo by Jen Harding, 3rd grade teacher, Haddonfield Public Schools
1. Explain what is happening.
Children are shaken up by these changes in lifestyle the same way we are.
The best thing we can do is to explain calmly why all of this is happening, and that schools are closed as a precaution to prevent the virus from spreading.
It’s not an apocalyptic scenario, where we need to fear for the possibility of tomorrow. Yes, we need to stay home and keep our distance from other people, but tomorrow will come, and we have work to do to keep our kids moving towards their educational goals. Education is not cancelled, let’s make sure our kids understand that.
Here are a few resources that can help you explain the situation to the kids:
Amazing cartoon about safety measures for Coronavirus
A video answering kids’ questions about the Coronavirus
Visual aid from Amanda McGuinness, the Autism Educator, to explain COVID-19
2. Create a schedule for the whole family to follow.
Following a daily schedule seems to have a soothing effect in the times of uncertainty.
Knowing exactly when something is going to happen gives you a feeling of control over the situation and a strong foundation for successful household management.
Have your kids discuss their milestones for the day, and introduce a simple reward system for every completed task.
Use a whiteboard or a piece of paper to write your schedule, put it on a visible spot, and make changes if necessary. Be flexible, and don’t forget to schedule entertainment. Also, don’t wear pajamas all day, it may send mixed signals to your children about the seriousness of your homeschooling intentions.
3. Help your children maintain online connections with their teachers and classmates.
They will find comfort in seeing familiar faces and discussing things unrelated to virus outbreak. If your school is providing live video sessions, make sure to have your kids listen in. Social activities and interactions with peers are extremely important in times of distance learning.
One of the ways you can connect your children with their peers is by setting up an online playground within educational context. The trickiest subject to teach at home is probably math, especially if you are not comfortable with your instructional skills.
To get your children to improve their math skills, you can set up real-time math games on 99math for kids to play with each other. Invite other parents into the game, and establish an ongoing math tournament: the more kids join in, the better.
Learn how to organize social math tournaments from home: 99math
Also, consider sharing this advice from John S. Thomas with your child’s teachers as a great way to initiate interaction: “Have students share a photo or video of a toy, hobby, collection, stuffed animal, pet, or favorite book—students can share only with the teacher using Seesaw, not with each other, but teachers can create a blog to choose what gets shared with the whole class.”
Read more “How to Support Home Learning in Elementary Grades” by John S. Thomas
4. Focus on review.
By now, your child’s school should have sent you a list of activities and homework assignments to complete. That alone is great help in homeschooling your little ones. Stick to review, because new information might be overwhelming for you to teach, and for children to process.
Here is a list of FREE educational resources recommended by the Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia.
5. Teach them how to behave online.
While schools are closed, your child will be learning more about the digital world, social media and technology in general. Let’s not forget about digital citizenship, and precautions you need to take in order to keep your children safe.
Common Sense website will help you to guide your kids through the possibilities of the 21st century while also teaching them how to behave online.
Check out this series of videos about privacy and internet safety: Common Sense Media
Everything seems difficult before it is easy. Follow these simple tips to make your homeschooling experience successful:
Calmly explain why schools are closed and make it clear that they will reopen.
Create a schedule for your whole family to follow, and don’t wear pajamas all day.
Help your children maintain connections with their teachers and classmates by organizing educational game sessions.
Focus on review, not new topics.
Teach your children about privacy and internet safety.
Stay strong and healthy.