So, you’re schooling at home – cool, right? Or are you one of those thinking, when will this be over?
The first two weeks of “school at home”, “crisis schooling”, “quarantine schooling” or whatever your preferred term, is over and we thought maybe you could use a little encouragement. We’ve got some tips from Board Member and DES teacher Mary Stegner and Board Chair and mom of middle schoolers Laura Bettis.
From Mrs. Stegner:
We’re All in this Together
The teachers have never done this before either, so we are learning too! Please talk with your child’s teacher and let us know if something is not working for you and your child. We understand that every child, family and home situation is different. We can help you modify and adapt the curriculum, so it fits you and your family. We are here to support you. We are trying to meet the needs of every child and parent so please give us feedback.
We are all happy to call and talk to your child (and give you a break). We can walk him/her through the assignments, give him/her a pep talk, answer any questions he/she might have for us or just be a friend to talk to. Please take advantage of this time by giving yourself a break. Talking one on one or in virtual group meetings are the best parts of our days.
Switch it Up and Change it Often
In the traditional classroom, kids are not expected to do the same activity for long periods of time. We don’t want school to ever be monotonous and boring. Young children need to be moving and talking and doing as they are learning. In third grade, 20 minutes is about the longest we go just sitting quietly and working. For younger kids, a need for a change is even more frequent.
Most young children aren’t going to be able to sit alone for three hours straight and get all of their work done for the day. To keep your kids motivated and engaged, they need to switch it up! A change in what your child is doing can be: changing subjects, recording a message for his/her teacher, playing a math game, watching a teacher video, going outside or to a different part of the house to work, calling a friend to read what he/she wrote, checking Schoology, taking a movement break like doing 20 jumping jacks, going outside to read, counting by 5s while walking backwards, or doing math with sidewalk chalk.
Again, please reach out to your child’s teacher. We want to help and support you. We are working hard on this “teaching from afar” thing and starting to get the hang of it but we miss our kids and look forward to when we can all be together again.
Foster Independence with Task Management
I set up a list of the tasks my kids need to complete and they get total freedom when they’re done. This works well for us because I’m not very good at keeping track of time, even more so now that we’re in quarantine. Basically, they do their schoolwork, some housework, some reading and some exercise and then they’re free. They are in charge of making and cleaning up their own lunch. They can eat it whenever they want. Another way to organize this for younger kids, might be to set up a reward system. They can “earn” getting to watch a show or a YouTube video by completing a certain number of tasks.
Here are my kids charts and chores:
** These are just suggested chores – don’t worry my kids aren’t doing them all. 😉
Another way to schedule the day is to do it in blocks of time. If you have kids that have trouble staying on task themselves, this might be the way to go. You can use a simple kitchen timer or set up alarms/timers on their computer or mobile device if that helps. This is great for remembering online meetups with their class or things like our Facebook storytime.
On our Pinterest Board “Covid19 school – Staying Organized” we’ve collected a number of examples you could use to help you organize your day.
One wonderful advantage you have over their regular school routine is that without 25-30 kids in your class, you can be a lot more free about letting kids move around. My kids take frequent trampoline breaks. My daughter likes to work in a recliner in the living room whereas my son prefers the dining room table. If you have a tall kitchen island, let them read there part of the time like a stand up desk. Once it warms up, I’m going to put a good work table on the deck for them. If one of them seems to be lagging, I refer them to our schedule and chore list and suggest they take a break and do a chore. Occasionally one will go get the eggs, but so far schoolwork wins out over cleaning toilets and vacuuming.
Good luck everyone, and keep up the good work! Laura & Mary
Remember, the library has great access to ebooks through the Idaho Digital Consortium, Epic, and Tumblebooks. We have limited ability to check out books for pick up outside once a week curbside (currently Tuesday to Friday 12-2). You can email [email protected] if you need help accessing any library resources.