The Coronavirus outbreak has deeply impacted the lives of millions of people. The most affected are the millions of families that now have to deal with their children not being able to go to school.
Keeping your kids on a schedule during coronavirus school closings might seem overwhelming at first. However, with some careful planning and patience, you can keep them on track while they are at home.
What should I do with my kids at home?
The sudden school closures have left many parents wondering what to do with their children at home. Many school district officials have predicted not being able to open for the rest of the school year.
Instead of treating this as an extended summer break, you should provide your child with some sense of normalcy and keep them on a schedule. Young children are at a critical point where they need stimulation and lots of opportunities to learn.
- Try to stick to a regular schedule – Your kids might feel like they are on vacation with the school closures. However, it is important to explain to them that they must still stick to a regular schedule every day. If you are also working from home now, your entire family should try to stick to a regular schedule together. Wake Up and get ready for the day just like you would any other day. Then stick to “working” time together when your kids are working on school work and you are working as well. Also, you should schedule breaks as well like snacks and lunch breaks.
- Keep activities educational – Any chance you get to have a learning moment, take it. If you feel like mixing things up one day and just want to have a day of fun and not school, make sure your activities are at least educational.
- Take it one day at a time– Everyone is dealing with a sudden change to their daily lives. The key to keeping your kids on a schedule during coronavirus school closings is to be patient with yourself and your kids. No one is expecting you to be a teacher to your children overnight.
How can I teach my kids at home?
Your children’s teachers are armed with years of education, training, and experience. While you might not be able to give your children the same quality of education that they do, you can still make sure they are learning as much as they can at home. This is especially important for young children who are losing valuable time in the classroom that could prepare them for learning in the future.
- Look up their school curriculum – Many schools offer their curriculum and student learning outcomes and goals for parents to review. Check with your child’s school or school district website to see what your child should be learning if they were in school. Create some activities they can do at home that incorporate those learning goals.
- Ask their teacher for help and suggestions – Most teachers are giving their students homework to do during this time, but talk to your child’s teacher and work with them to make sure your child is getting the best education they can during this time. Remember, your child’s teacher is an expert and knows your child’s learning process, so they are the best person to consult with when establishing a school schedule at home.
- “Visit” a museum – While you might not be able to visit a museum in person right now, your child can still learn a lot using virtual tours of museums from around the world. The Smithsonian Institute has virtual versions of their 20 museums including their National Zoo.
- Make cooking educational – Many families are doing a lot of home cooking these days. Cooking is a great opportunity for your child to learn math, science, and reading. Start with having your child pick a recipe to cook and then practice their reading skills by reading the recipe aloud to you. While cooking the recipe, you can have them measure ingredients and practice some math skills. Then to get them curious about science, you can discuss the process of cooking with them and reactions that happen along the way such as what happens when water boils or the reaction of leaveners in baking soda and yeast when baking something.
- Create a special “school” area – Sticking to a schedule at home can be difficult when kids are surrounded by distractions. To help them focus on schoolwork when they are supposed to, you can designate a specific area in your home to be the “school” area. This creates a specific space that is meant to be productive and help them focus.
- Use education apps– The best tool for parents to use when trying to stick to a school schedule at home are education apps. Interactive apps such as Readability are especially helpful for parents to use at home. Readability works like a private tutor for your child. Using A.I. technology and speech-recognition, Readability is able to help your child learn to read by listening to them read aloud and gives them real-time feedback. Your child is learning how to read and also getting feedback on how to improve their reading skills.
Children need education no matter what situation they are put in. Maintaining their regular schooling schedule is important to keeping them on track once schools finally do reopen. Your kids want to keep learning so make sure they are still given every opportunity to learn. Luckily, today there are many tools to help you create those learning opportunities. Online resources and educational apps such as Readability help to make sure your child is still reaching their learning goals even though they are not in a classroom.