-by Trina Pruitt, parent and Go Public contributor
Remember when our kids went to school and we went to work and we took toilet paper for granted and no one knew what Zoom was? Good times. Now we are all learning how to live in this strange new world of remote working and at-home learning. School staff members and administrators have been unbelievably efficient to set up distance learning tools for students and parents. School districts have provided a huge amount of resources and guidance online in an attempt to assist us in navigating these unchartered educational waters.
When I started researching at-home learning strategies it seemed overwhelming at first, but the more I looked into it, the more approachable the idea became. First, I found advice for setting up a home learning space for my child so that she can keep her schoolwork in one easy, organized place. I set up a small desk with a comfortable chair next to the window and the natural light. Together we organized a set schedule that keeps her on track with assignments and projects. Klein ISD posted this example of a schedule that I used as a simple template to make our daily schedule, and my daughter appreciated being able to help organize her day’s activities. We designated a few “quiet times” of the day where everyone in our house is busy reading silently or working in order for us all to focus on our tasks uninterrupted. The most valuable function of the schedule is that it provides stability and structure for children that they would normally get at school. It is important for children to wake up and get dressed and ready for their day just as if they are going to school because it prepares them mentally for learning. I found this Washington Post article that contains helpful information about the importance of staying on schedule for children.
In our household, we have adopted a simple and flexible schedule:
8am Morning Routine (get dressed, breakfast, etc)
9am Creative Play (blocks, painting, legos, playdough)
10am Academics/Quiet time (math/ science games, online math/science lessons from school)
11am Outdoor physical activities and exercise (swing, ride bike, walk dog, trampoline)
12pm Lunch and Rest
1pm Activity Time (crafts, puzzles, games, cooking, sidewalk chalk)
2pm Academics/Quiet time (reading/writing, online reading games, online lessons from school)
3pm Chores (household chores, clean/organize learning space, get desk area set up for tomorrow)
4pm Virtual Field Trip/ Screen Time
5pm Family Time
Of course this schedule isn’t always followed flawlessly, but it gives my child an idea of what to expect for the day, as well as holding me somewhat accountable. Each household is unique and each family schedule should be made for its individual needs.
I found a helpful screentime and chore manager app that is easy to use and keeps us all in check. And for some amazing creative activity suggestions, reminders that all of us are in this together, or if you just need a really good laugh, check out this Facebook moms group. Remember that we are all learning homeschooling tips as we go, children and parents alike. There is an abundance of online tools and resources to make this process as painless as possible. So give yourself a break and try not to stress much over this new adventure. It won’t all go according to plan. We won’t be perfect. And we won’t know all the answers. But Google will.
Take care, practice social distancing, and together, we’ll get through this. A big thank you to all of our school districts for what they’re doing to ensure our kids are educated and supported.
These Barbers Hill ISD kiddos are making the most of their at-home learning!
Here are some of our favorite fun and educational links:
Virtual Field Trips
All Academics by Grade Level