WOW, what a week it has been. Between virtual meetings, running out of essentials at the store, and giggling at the relatable reality we currently are living in on social media, we officially have found uncharted territory. Coming back early from Guatemala and diving straight into the chaos made me feel an array of emotions- one of them being worry. I worried about my elderly neighbors and my family. I worried about my husband who works in the hospital, and I especially worried about my students that desperately need structure, food, and a loving environment.
I will be the first to admit that I have been spending an unbearable amount of time on my phone, and seeing other parents’ responses about having their kiddos at home has been incredibly eye-opening. I could NOT imagine having to handle a career at home while teaching a child, so here’s a teacher in the flesh telling you that you are doing an AMAZING job! But, considering we are going to be within the great indoors for a couple of weeks, I thought I would put together some easy strategies that work in the classroom that could easily translate to the home.
Structure is essential for productive learning
One of the first things we learn as educators is that structure is necessary to learn. The second thing we learn as educators is that structure looks different for every child- we call this accommodating and modifying. It has been proven that children thrive with a routine, but the schedule can vary based on your child. For children that need a lot of stimulation, the routine you create can require very little free time. For children that like to work alone, the schedule can be looser. For instance, one of my co-workers shared with me her schedule that can easily be manipulated to fit your personal needs-
8:00-10:00- Wake up, eat, get ready
1:00-3:00- Free time
3:00- 5:00- Practice a life skill (cooking, sewing, cleaning)
5:00-6:00- Some form of exercise (there are plenty of videos on Youtube!)
6:00- Bedtime- family/dinner time
This gives you an opportunity to work with your children and gives you time as a parent to get your personal work done. It also incorporates quality time with your family and can create a community within your home. Whatever your schedule is, it will be incredibly helpful with your family´s needs and will put your sanity at ease.
Utilize brain breaks and play
A child’s attention span is small. Trust me, I see it every day. We are trained as educators to teach for ten minutes and to have students break, talk, write, whatever, for two minutes. We call this the ten/two strategy, and it’s incredibly beneficial for application purposes. Brain breaks are essential when it comes to learning because our brains can only handle so much before shutting down. Brain breaks should be done at least every thirty minutes and can look like-
- A healthy snack
- A game
- A puzzle
- A dance party to their favorite song
- Playing outside
- A walk
- Another form of exercise
I also encourage playing as much as possible throughout the day. Children learn by exploring the world with their hands (not on their phones), and it can give you some time to focus on your work as well!
There are a ton of accessible websites with your child´s Google or Clever account
I know some districts are providing materials for learning. However, when it comes to providing additional resources, there are a TON of websites that can be accessed with your child’s school email. I created a blog post previously about helpful sites titled 10 Websites That Will Positively Transform Your Classroom. Trust me when I say this, these websites will change your homeschooling experience, use them! Especially Quizizz, NewsELA, ActivelyLearn, Readworks.org and Quill. There are also a ton of books that can be found in PDF versions online. Reading alone is so helpful for every single subject, give your children a chance to read when they can!
There are great video resources that can help with learning
Having trouble remembering certain concepts? Youtube has a TON of videos that can teach you and your child, and they usually are taught by teachers! My first year of teaching, I would go home and study because I knew I utilized what I was taught in school, but could NOT remember how I was taught those certain skills. Teachers do this all the time and there is no shame in that! Through the studying process, I was able to simplify for my students and the best way to learn is to teach. I am sure your children can teach you a lot of great things while learning in the process!
Reach out to your teacher friends if you need resources or help
I know a lot of teachers have reached out on social media about being a helping hand. I am telling you honestly that every teacher has a servant’s heart, and that they really mean that. I am my own personal best when I am teaching my students, and being helpful is the core of who we are as teachers. If anything, you are more than welcome to reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). If I don´t know the answer, I have a bunch of lifelines that can easily guide you. In the meantime, good luck, and happy schooling!