How to keep your students engaged – and everyone sane – while homeschooling
As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, thousands of schools have closed and have moved children to online learning at home. Parents are now facing new challenges: how do we care for our children while working remotely and schooling at home? In this phase of so much uncertainty, how can we ensure that they are learning and stay in routine? With a little preparation, you can make this a positive experience for both you and your children. Take a deep breath and remember… our children will never forget this time spent together and you can create lifelong bonds and memories that will last forever!
Below are some tips and resources to help you keep children learning and engaged:
- Set up a study space: Try to designate a place specifically for studying, far from distractions. Separate living spaces from learning spaces can help your child to be able to focus when needed. Switching off TV and mobile phone notifications will also help.
- Create a schedule: Daily routines provide safety and security for children and will help them to feel less anxious in this time of uncertain. For that reason, aim for the timetable provided by the school and then build a study schedule that works best for your family. Make sure that includes breaks to relax and connect with each other.
- Be present and available to help: If your child is finding a particular task difficult, or if they have any question, you’ll probably be the first person they ask. For that reason, prepare the lessons the night before, be available and, if you don’t know an answer, work with your children to discover the solution together.
- Set a time for exercise: Create or reinforce healthy habits with your children – this can make a huge difference in your family’s day. If possible, go for a run in the open air (complying with the social distancing guidelines), go for a walk in the yard, or, if it is raining, take the opportunity to practice yoga or other indoor activity. You can use the exercise as a break from study time.
- Offer rewards: Consider offering some rewards to encourage completion assignments – these aren’t ordinary days and your kids maybe need an extra encouragement. Motivate them to make lists of movies they would like to watch or games they would like to play. There are several learning games that allow students to reinforce their knowledge while having fun – take a look on Blockly Games, or pHet Simulations.
- Organize a field trip without leaving home: You and your kids can experience the wonder of nature without leaving home. Take a trip to Mars, a virtual excursion to a Zoo via live webcams or even watch a live-feed of sea otters, penguins and sharks.
- Promote reading time: Developing a love for reading will help you children in all learning areas. Most public libraries are closed, but audiobooks and e-books are more accessible than ever. You can find many options on Great Books of the World or Cat&Dog Books for the youngsters.
- Add life skills to the curriculum: Everyday tasks can be just as valuable as skills taught in the classroom. This is a great opportunity for teaching some basic tasks such as cleaning, cooking, home repairs, yard work, or even thank you card writing
- Set reasonable expectations: Teachers have years of experience; you are not expected to do the same as they do. This is also a new situation for your children, and it is normal for them to feel a little anxious and less able to concentrate. Try to let them guide the pace for learning and do your best but don’t stress about perfection – chances are you’re doing a much better job than you think.
- Choose quality content and use trusted sources: Internet offers a vast network of support for every academic subject. But with such a wide selection, how to choose the best content sources? You should definitively prefer platforms from companies with extensive experience in education technology and which address several subjects. At Critical Links, we have created a curated collection of resources to facilitate learning from home. The C3 Micro-Cloud has been already in use in more than 55 countries, reaching about 5 million students before COVID-19 pandemic and, during this period of crisis, is is available for free – you just have to click www.schoolinabox.net for english content or www.aprendizajeenmicronube.com for spanish content.
Take this tips in mind and always remember you know your kids best and what works for your family is what matters most.