With school closures happening all across the country due to the coronavirus outbreak, public schools are varying widely in what they offer. School districts have a legal obligation to provide equitable learning opportunities and it can be hard for schools to guarantee access to necessary hardware, like laptops and WiFi, for all students, so some are confining themselves to handing out optional "enrichment" lessons.
If you're one of the tens of millions of parents who are now essentially homeschooling your kids, we have some tips to help you keep your kids engaged and everyone sane. (And here's a comic version of these homeschooling tips!)
Know your kid.
How To Turn Your Home Into A School Without Losing Your Sanity
Strong learners can do even better independently, but weaker learners may really struggle. "Online [and independent] learning is really hard for a lot of people. It requires a lot of self-regulated learning skills," says MIT education researcher Justin Reich.
Different kids will do best in different learning environments. If your child learns better in groups, try a Zoom study session with a fellow classmate. The older kids are, the longer they may be able to work on their own. And remember, resources are going to become available slowly for students who need them — you may not have to do this all by yourself.
This is a good time for passion projects.
Ana Homayoun, an educational coach for students in the Bay Area, says this is a good time for kids to pursue interests they haven't had time to focus on in the past. It could be cooking, building in Minecraft, or drawing. Bonus: If it's something they're truly interested in, you won't have to bug them to do it.
Free online resources are amazing but just the beginning.
Free online educational resources don't equal free education. Don't get bogged down by the flood of downloadable PDFs and lesson plans available online. If you're working from home yourself, they can be especially overwhelming.
Instead, find a couple of resources that work and build from there. Prioritize your kid's greatest need and then their biggest interest or passion. Look for resources that will keep them connected to their real-life community — piano lessons, Sunday school and local dance classes are all going online. Grandparents and family friends are volunteering to lead activities like storytime and craft sessions. You're not going to recreate school in one day, so start small.