April 22, 2020 | Other

Homeschool survival tips

You might have contemplated for years what you wanted to do when you grew up and for some, that debate may have even continued far into adulthood. Early on, I thought about being a teacher for a minute; I had a love for children, I was a young entrepreneur in babysitting, and I was a summer camp counsellor for many years. However, I decided to become a lawyer. Today, like many of you, I have been unexpectedly forced to accept and adapt to a new career as a homeschool teacher!

Well, isn’t this an interesting challenge! We have put together some links and references to websites, tools, activities, and books that may be helpful to you and your families, as we all navigate through this new career. I think it is important to come together as a community in order to share the strategies that work, as well as those that do not.

One thing that has not changed is that our children need structure. Below is a sample schedule that I created for a daily routine. I invite you to modify it based on your children’s needs, and I suggest you print it out and tape it up somewhere your children can easily access and read it. If your child does not yet read, you can make a schedule with pictures and times. You can also ask them to help you color it in, so that they are empowered and become a part of the process.

Read More: Co-parenting tools for single parents

Another lesson I have learnt recently as I juggle work, teaching, and parenting, is the following: Prior to a conference call, spend 10 one-on-one minutes with your child, to give them the attention they need that will hopefully let you get through your call without much fuss – fill their “attention bucket”. Also, inform them that you will be on a call and that you will need them to be quiet like a mouse. I cannot give any guarantees, but merely a gentle suggestion to give it a try.

Last but not least, to all the parents who are separated, try now, more than ever, to maintain an open line of communication with your children’s other parent, to ensure that both homes are doing their best to follow the same structure. It is also helpful to share ideas of what has worked and what has not. This will help reduce your children’s stress level as they certainly have enough on their plates with their world being upside down.

So take a deep breath – maybe a few – and see if any of these tools can help.

Stay safe, we are all in this together!

Sample schedule for kids:

Books for kids:

  1. Time to Come In, Bear: A Children’s Story About Social. Distancing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA_SsZFYw0w

  2. Olive Stays In: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2X5xKQ1sWg

  3. My Hero is You: https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-04/My%20Hero%20is%20You%2C%20Storybook%20for%20Children%20on%20COVID-19.pdf

Online learning resources for children:

  1. Kids National Geographic: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com : On National Geographic for kids, your kids can engage by playing games, watching videos and looking at pictures of all different types of fascinating animals and other wildlife!

  2. Khan Academy :  https://www.khanacademy.org : Khan Academy is a free online resource that offers practice exercises for ages 2+. For kids ages 2-7, there is the Khan Kids app, and for older kids, there are math courses from Preschool-AP Calculus, instructional vidScience & Engineering,  Arts & Humanities, and most recently there is even a beta program for regents reading testing from 2nd – 8th grade.

  3. Mystery Science: https://mysteryscience.com : A variety of different ready to watch science lessons, taught by teachers! They even have a a starter list of K-5 science lessons that are easy to do at home is now free; no sign-up or log-in required.

  4. Raz Kids: https://www.raz-kids.com : Raz-Kids is an award-winning teaching product that provides comprehensive leveled reading resources for students. They have hundreds of eBooks offered at 29 different levels of reading difficulty. Kids can access their leveled text through an interactive learning portal designed to keep them motivated and engaged.

  5. Scratch: https://scratch.mit.edu: With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.

  6. TedEx:  https://www.ted.com/watch/ted-ed : Tedex recently launched. Teded@Home, which sends you a lesson plan every morning to your inbox, organized by age group and spanning all subjects for kids 4-11 years old.

  7. Tinkercad: https://www.tinkercad.com : Tinkercad is a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. It’s used by teachers, kids, hobbyists, and designers to imagine, design, and make anything!

  8. Twinkl: https://www.twinkl.ca : A hub of different resources for educating children of all ages.

Online coping resources for kids:

  1. BrainPOP: Coronavirus (4-minute video, activities, and games)

  2. National Public Radio: Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus

  3. PBS Kids: How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus(includes a list of videos, games, and activities about handwashing and staying healthy at the bottom of the article)

Online resources for adults:

  1. Childmind: https://childmind.org/coping-during-covid-19-resources-for-parents/ : The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. The site is full of up-to-date advice and information on how to help your kids cope during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  2. National Child Traumatic Stress Network : Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019