Well, I guess you’re reading this because you’re locked in your house right now due to COVID-19, the coronavirus, the toilet paper crisis, whatever you want to call it.
After watching your kids–or, honestly, yourself–run in circles, jump off the walls, and basically do anything that is the opposite of schoolwork, you probably would agree that teachers across the globe deserve a raise.
But you’re not here for politics; you’re here to figure out how the heck to homeschool at a time like this. With no prior experience in teaching, you may feel like you are in over your head. Especially when you’re teaching English/Language Arts to someone who is a stubborn reader.
Fret not, for you have stumbled upon this blog post for a reason. Here are some simple tips to help you and your family get through the quarantine school days.
1. Hire an Online Tutor
Obviously this would be my first suggestion. But despite my natural bias, even if Chapter Chaser isn’t your choice tutoring service, I still strongly suggest for you to look into hiring a set of helping hands.
Homeschooling is tough because it takes students out of their regular learning environments. Not only that, but it also causes a sudden switch from answering to a teacher to suddenly a parent, which can cause students to be uncomfortable (it’s easier to get problems wrong in front of a teacher than the person you bring your report card home to).
A tutor softens that jarring switch by providing your child that teacher presence. Some normalcy is brought back, helping the student stick to a regular in-school work ethic. Tutors are also masters of their craft, so whether it is Reading Comprehension or Quantum Physics, you’re guaranteed to find someone to suit your needs, while also letting you sleep better at night.
The country is struggling on multiple levels right now. No one can deny that this virus is taking a significant toll on the economy and employment rates. If you are in a financial situation in which you are able to afford a tutor or two, you will be helping educators across the country keep their own finances afloat. Along with many others, Chapter Chaser is currently offering online, one-to-one tutoring to everyone in the United States of America.
2. Use Online Videos
Even though school is technically still in session, it’s not easy to be at home and not take advantage of lying in bed all day. Of course, it’s better to work at a desk for multiple reasons, but students don’t necessarily have to always leave their cozy spots.
Instead of having you or your kids get up, get dressed, and “go to work” like a normal weekday, try taking things a bit slow instead. Anxiety is rampant across the nation right now, so don’t feel like staying in cozy pajamas is you being lazy–it’s you still finding comfort in these uncertain times. That said, work must still be done. The world must still go on. For you or your kids, education must still take priority.
To get the best of both worlds, students should start their mornings with a healthy breakfast and an educational video. YouTube is obviously the first choice for many. Educational videos are perfect introductions to beginning a school day. They are fun to watch, don’t require immediate brain power, and–best of all–can be watched anywhere.
If you’re looking for something a little more hardcore, sites like Udemy and Skill Share offer paid courses that can go into more detail about certain topics.
Either way, videos are great for starting a work day, or even for taking a break from heavy homework. They let students relax while still learning, which can help to greatly reduce stress.
3. Discover Workbooks
I’m sure that students are being given daily updates from their schools of when work needs to be completed. Schools are doing everything they can to make teaching as normal and fluid as possible, but of course nothing is ever perfect. The biggest obstacle students are facing right now is time management. At school, they have a set routine, complete with a hall monitor to tattle on them if they don’t follow said routine.
There will be gaps during the day in which you may be asking yourself, “Well… now what?” Perhaps your kid has finished all of the work they needed to complete that day and now they are glued to the TV for eight hours (when you know that at least two of those hours were normally for Geometry class). Like I said before, everyone needs to have their down time more than ever, but with some discipline.
Once all necessary school work is done, I encourage anyone who is either a student or parent to get online and look up some supplementary material. You can get a workbook for a particular subject (like Spectrum books), or one that covers a wide curriculum (such as, Brain Quest books).
Right now, physical copies are high in demand. If there is a book that you really think you or your child will enjoy, consider the eBook option. If you have a tablet, eBooks are great because you can use a pen tool to fill in the answers without having to print a page! Otherwise, you can print as you go and keep everything neatly inside a binder. Other than Amazon, some great places to search for online workbooks are The Critical Thinking Company and Carson Dellosa Education.
4. Read, Read, READ
Whether there is a book collecting dust on your nightstand or a stack of stories waiting in your virtual library, you should take time out of the day to adventure into a world besides our own. Not only will reading a book reduce stress for you and/or your child, but it will also help improve academic performance. Countless studies and articles (such as this one) prove time and time again that picking up a good book helps to improve cognitive and critical thinking skills.
For those who are stubborn readers and prefer to watch moving pictures rather than stare at words, perhaps the best time to pick up a book is right before bed. There’s a reason why children love to hear stories before they go to sleep; it helps the body naturally unwind from a stressful day, allowing the brain to fall asleep more gradually. Reading takes our eyes away from blue light, which I’m sure we are exposed to even more so nowadays due to continuous work online.
So even if it is only for 15 minutes each day, I encourage everyone–especially students–to take a break from digital media and enjoy the adventure of a good book.
5. Video Call Classmates
Definitely one of the biggest downsides of being quarantined during a pandemic is not being able to have much human interaction. As social creatures, we humans need to interact with each other in order to stay sane (including even the most introvert of introverts).
Many schools are hosting video sessions online where students can see their teachers. However, classmates are usually not able to see each other, and even if they can, they are not able to socialize during class. School is more than sitting in a lecture about the history of the Alamo. It’s the place where kids socialize with others their age and discuss what they just learned, how crazy the homework is, and why Ms. Spotsman wears blue eye shadow only on Tuesdays. You get the point.
So, to keep normalcy–and sanity–during the school day in your household, set up video calls (Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc.) for your kids to talk to classmates and friends. If the teacher is cool with it, let your kids work on homework together virtually. Even just 15 minutes of asking a fellow classmate what #8 means helps to bridge that disconnect between being at school and being at home. Also, it will force students to make sure they keep themselves clean–nobody wants to look like they’ve been living in bed for a week straight (even if it may be true).
Hopefully, COVID-19 will meet its match in the coming weeks. But for now, as we ride this out together, stay safe. We will get through this. Keep your hands clean, your work online, and your spirits high. ♥️